“Heaven Is for Real” became Hollywood’s fourth overtly faith-based hit of the year over the Easter weekend, taking in an estimated $21.5 million — double the dismal ticket sales that Johnny Depp mustered for his latest big-budget effort.
The No. 1 movie at North American theaters was again “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (Disney), which sold about $26.6 million in tickets, for a three-week domestic total of $201.5 million, according to Rentrak, which compiles box-office data.
Religious movies have been hot at the box office this year in part because the current boomlet follows a drought. Studios also aim to lock in sales by church groups, resulting in an opening-weekend pop that can drive positive word of mouth, a crucial element of successful movie releases. “Heaven Is for Real” was also based on a best-selling book. The other three hits so far this year have been “Noah,” “Son of God” and “God’s Not Dead.” More religious movies are on the way, including Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings,” which is scheduled for release in December.
SOURCE: BROOKS BARNES
The New York Times: Arts Beat