NASHVILLE (BP) – “Jesus Revolution,” a new movie depicting the “Jesus Movement” of the 1960s and ‘70s, is heading into its second weekend in theaters after a $15 million opening gave the film an unexpected third-place finish at the box office.
Opening in wide release last Friday, Feb. 24, the movie played in more than 2,000 theaters amassing just over $15 million, putting it in third place for the weekend behind Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” and “Cocaine Bear.”
Industry projections estimated an opening for the movie of around $6-7 million. According to Box Office Mojo, the film’s total gross as of March 3 is just over $20 million.
“While the runaway hit is exciting, it translates to over 1 million people who have watched and been inspired by the movie,” said producer Kevin Downes in a press release. “That’s why we made it, and what we’re thrilled to see.”
Despite mixed reviews from critics, the movie received rave reviews from audiences.
Moviegoers scored the film a 99 percent positive rating on review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes and gave it an A+ grade on marketing research cite CinemaScore.
“As filmmakers, we always want to create something that’s well made and catches fire with audiences,” producer Andy Erwin said.
“The audiences’ response to Jesus Revolution has done just that. We’re so grateful. In the weeks ahead, we pray the film continues to inspire audiences.”
The spiritual movement depicted in the film is came to be known as the Jesus Movement. Many historians classify it as the greatest spiritual awakening in American history.
The movement successfully united disparate Christians, including some older and more traditional and some younger, more charismatic “hippie” believers.
Depicted in the film is the relationship between a California pastor named Chuck Smith and a hippie preacher named Lonnie Frisbee.
The two were hugely influential in the movement’s beginnings, as Smith began to open the doors of his church (Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa) to the younger generation of “Jesus Freak” Christians who easily connected with Frisbee.
Smith is portrayed in the movie by iconic actor Kelsey Grammer (“Cheers,” “Frasier”), while Frisbee is played by Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the wildly popular streaming series “The Chosen.”
Despite their differences, the two grew a close bond and worked together as the movement spread from California across the whole country.
The spiritual impact of the revolution is still felt today, as evidenced by the continued Gospel ministry of pastor Greg Laurie.
The movie depicts a young Laurie (played by Joel Courtney), telling the story of both his conversion to Christianity and romance with his future wife Cathe (played by Anna Grace Barlow).
Laurie is now the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif.
The church still holds baptisms in the waters of Pirate’s Cove, where hippies and many others were baptized during the movement 50 years ago. Laurie’s Harvest Crusade events continue to bring in audiences of thousands who hear the Gospel message.
Spiritual awakening seems to be on hearts and minds around the country, with reports circulating about revivals at Asbury University and other colleges around the nation.
The film’s directors said timing of the film’s release, as well as the audience response, has given them hope for a continued spiritual revival in the nation.
“We all felt Jesus Revolution would be a special movie back during filming,” co-director Jon Erwin said.
“We didn’t know how perfect God’s timing would be in releasing it. With the revivals sweeping the country, I’m blown away by how much people love this movie and how Jesus Revolution feels like a part of something so much bigger.”
“Jesus Revolution is all about love,” co-director Brent McCorkle said.
“My heart for this film is that people who watch it have a stirring inside that calls them back to love … to getting back to the practice of caring for each other again, just as Jesus did. Reading stories of that happening across the country has been incredible.”