Box office: Samson fails to crack the weekend’s top ten

He killed a lion with his bare hands, and a thousand Philistines with a donkey’s jawbone, but Samson couldn’t crack the top ten at the North American box office this week.

Pure Flix’s Samson — which is currently playing in 1,249 theatres — earned just over $1.9 million between Friday and Sunday, which is one of the lowest openings ever for a “faith-based” film playing in over a thousand theatres. (Only 2014’s The Identical and 2012’s Last Ounce of Courage have done worse with such a wide release.)

For a while, Samson was running neck-and-neck with Spielberg’s The Post for the #10 spot, but now that the final numbers are in, The Post is at #10 with $1,988,634 (and a $76.6 million cume since opening in December) and Samson is at #11 with $1,943,569.

Samson also had one of the worst first weekends of any Bible-themed film over the last 40 years that was released on more than a handful of screens:

  1. 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $83.8 million
  2. 2014 — Noah — $43.7 million
  3. 2014 — Son of God — $25.6 million
  4. 2014 — Exodus: Gods & Kings — $24.1 million
  5. 2009 — Year One — $19.6 million
  6. 2017 — The Shack — $16.2 million
  7. 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $14.5 million
  8. 2016 — Risen — $11.8 million
  9. 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $11.4 million
  10. 2016 — Ben-Hur — $11.2 million
  11. 2017 — The Star — $9.8 million
  12. 2006 — The Nativity Story — $7.8 million
  13. 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $6.2 million
  14. 1981 — History of the World, Part I — $4.8 million
  15. 2006 — One Night with the King — $4.1 million
  16. 1980 — Wholly Moses! — $3.6 million
  17. 2016 — The Young Messiah — $3.3 million
  18. 1985 — King David — $2.2 million
  19. 2018 — Samson — $1.9 million
  20. 2007 — The Ten Commandments — $478,910

Here is how Samson’s total domestic gross-to-date ranks next to that of other Bible-themed films released over the last 40 years:

  1. 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $370.8 million
  2. 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $101.4 million
  3. 2014 — Noah — $101.2 million
  4. 2014 — Exodus: Gods and Kings — $65 million
  5. 2014 — Son of God — $59.7 million
  6. 2017 — The Shack — $57.4 million
  7. 2009 — Year One — $43.3 million
  8. 2017 — The Star — $40.9 million
  9. 2006 — The Nativity Story — $37.6 million
  10. 2016 — Risen — $36.9 million
  11. 1981 — History of the World, Part I — $31.7 million
  12. 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $30.5 million
  13. 2016 — Ben-Hur — $26.4 million
  14. 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $25.6 million
  15. 1979 — Monty Python’s Life of Brian — $20 million
  16. 1980 — Wholly Moses! — $14.2 million
  17. 2006 — One Night with the King — $13.4 million
  18. 1988 — The Last Temptation of Christ — $8.4 million
  19. 2016 — The Young Messiah — $6.5 million
  20. 1985 — King David — $5.1 million
  21. 2003 — The Gospel of John — $4.1 million
  22. 2018 — Samson — $2.5 million
  23. 2007 — The Ten Commandments — $952,820

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The big story this week, of course, is that Black Panther opened to a better-than-expected $202 million — currently the fifth-best opening of all time, behind two Star Wars movies, Jurassic World and The Avengers. While most studios stayed out of the Marvel movie’s way, Pure Flix apparently hoped that Samson could provide a bit of “faith-based” counter-programming, and their marketing made a point of calling Samson “the first superhero” — but the strategy may have backfired, as audiences opted to see the superhero movie that had a much bigger budget and much better reviews.

The only other new wide release this week, Aardman Animation’s Early Man, flopped with $3.2 million, which was the lowest opening of any film produced by Aardman.

This coming weekend brings us Annihilation, Every Day and Game Night.

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