ALBANY, Ga. (BP)–Filmed on a shoestring budget using volunteers from a Southern Baptist church, the inspirational movie “Facing the Giants” has racked up enough success in its first two weekends that one major newspaper labeled it “miraculous.”
The squeaky-clean PG movie passed the $3 million gross mark Oct. 12, which already makes it a success story for a film that cost only $100,000 to make. And while $3 million is mere change by Hollywood standards, the movie has more than held its own in the theaters where it has been shown.
It finished 12th among all movies on opening weekend, but an amazing fifth on an average-per-screen tally ($3,046) among the Top 20 movies, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com. In its second weekend, Facing the Giants ended up 14th among all movies and was ninth on a per-screen average ($2,407) among Top 20 movies, according to the website.
By comparison, MGM’s “School for Scoundrels” cost $35 million to make and finished fourth on opening weekend while showing on 3,000 theaters — the same weekend that Facing the Giants opened — but grossed only $2,863 per screen — less than Giants.
To be fair to the larger movies, Facing the Giants isn’t showing in some of the larger, more liberal markets, where it might not do as well as it would in conservative parts of the country. Still, its success has caused others to take notice. The Washington Post ran a story Oct. 10 with a sub-headline reading, “‘Facing the Giants,’ Shot On a Shoestring and a Prayer, Does Miraculously at Box Office.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins noted the movie’s success in his daily Washington Update e-mail.
“The mainstream press is stunned that such a low-budget movie with a heavy religious undertone could be doing so well, prompting one Washington Post reviewer to state the movie ‘is in many ways a theological fantasy: God answers prayers,'” Perkins wrote. “What the reporters seem to not understand is the movie itself is an example that God does indeed answer prayers.”
Facing the Giants also lost only 25.1 percent in gross from its first to its second weekends — a figure considered a success in Hollywood. By contrast, “Flyboys” lost 60.8 percent, “The Guardian” 46.9 percent and “Open Season” 33.9 percent on their second weekends.
“Movie-industry standards say that if a movie experiences less than a 40-percent drop in ticket sales from the previous weekend, it has done exceptionally well,” according to an e-mail newsletter sent out to fans of Facing the Giants.
Facing the Giants was made by Sherwood Productions, the media arm of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga.
Compiled by Michael Foust.