“Heaven” is a real hit. Is Hollywood listening?

Money talks, after all.

From The New York Times:

“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. But God still could not beat a superhero: 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.

The animated “Rio 2” (20th Century Fox) was second, taking in about $22.5 million, for a two-week total of $75.4 million. Then came “Heaven Is for Real” (Sony Pictures Entertainment), the best-performing new entry, with a total since opening on Thursday of $28.5 million. It cost $12 million to make and was backed with a grassroots marketing campaign that focused on churches as well as a more mainstream audience.

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.

Meantime, my blog neighbor Kathy Schiffer weighs in:

So should you go see Heaven Is For Real this week?

My vote:  Absolutely, yes, an enthusiastic yes!   It’s a movie full of faith, in a world that’s grown too accustomed to violence and materialism and sexual innuendo.  It stands in contrast to the dark, sultry film in the theater next door–Heaven Is For Real is that most unaccustomed feature, a clean, family-friendly movie.  Yet it achieves this without being too trite or too preachy.  We want it to succeed, and we want to see more movies like this!

My wife and I are going to a matinee today.  Review to follow!

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