Box office: The Young Messiah has a smaller opening than expected, and Zootopia keeps tracking ahead of Frozen

Box office: The Young Messiah has a smaller opening than expected, and Zootopia keeps tracking ahead of Frozen March 13, 2016

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For the first time in recent memory — and possibly the first time ever since weekly box office reports became a thing — there are two Bible movies in the weekly top ten.

The Young Messiah, which dramatizes the childhood of Jesus, earned an estimated $3.4 million between Friday and Sunday and ranked seventh in its first weekend at the North American box office, while Risen, which depicts the death and resurrection of the adult Jesus, earned $2.3 million and ranked tenth in its fourth weekend.

To my knowledge, this marks the first time that two Bible films — and two Jesus films, at that — have appeared in the same top ten list since regular news outlets began reporting the top ten movies every week in the 1970s or early 1980s.1

Two Bible films almost shared the top ten two years ago, when Noah opened one week after Son of God fell out of the top ten. Hail, Caesar! — a comedy about the making of a Bible movie — also shared the top ten with Risen three weeks ago. But as far as straightforward dramatizations of the Bible go, this week marks a first.

Risen has now grossed $32.4 million altogether in North America, as well as another $636,576 overseas, for a combined worldwide gross of $33 million.

In other news, the top new film of the week was the is-it-or-isn’t-it apocalyptic thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane, which earned $25.2 million for the weekend…

…but that wasn’t enough to topple Disney’s Zootopia, which led the top ten with $50 million and brought its North American total up to $142.6 million. Zootopia has made more money in its first ten days than Frozen (which went into wide release on a Wednesday, the day before the American Thanksgiving) made in its first twelve.

Deadpool earned $10.8 million and ranked third in its fifth weekend. The film has now earned $328.1 million in North America — which is still behind its fellow R-rated films The Passion of the Christ and American Sniper, but is getting closer.

Deadpool has earned another $380 million overseas, for a worldwide total of $708.1 million. Overseas, among R-rated films, it is behind only The Mermaid ($525.2 million), The Matrix Reloaded ($460.6 million), The Intouchables ($416.4 million) and Fifty Shades of Grey ($404.8 million) — only two of which were made in North America. Worldwide, it is second only to The Matrix Reloaded ($742.1 million).

Now for a little more data about the week’s two Bible films:

Despite healthy Thursday-night previews, The Young Messiah not only had a smaller opening than expected (industry experts had predicted an opening in the $7-8 million range), it had the smallest per-screen average of any Bible movie in wide release:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $83.8 million / $27,554 avg.
  • 2014 — Noah — $43.7 million / $12,257 avg.
  • 2014 — Son of God — $25.6 million / $7,853 avg.
  • 2014 — Exodus: Gods and Kings — $24.1 million / $6,884 avg.
  • 2009 — Year One — $19.6 million / $6,489 avg.
  • 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $14.5 million / $4,658 avg.
  • 2016 — Risen — $11.8 million / $4,048 avg.
  • 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $11.4 million / $5,087 avg.
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $7.8 million / $2,545 avg.
  • 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $6.2 million / $6,597 avg.
  • 1981 — History of the World, Part I — $4.8 million / $9,902 avg.
  • 2006 — One Night with the King — $4.1 million / $4,533 avg.
  • 1980 — Wholly Moses! — $3.6 million / $5,962 avg.
  • 2016 — The Young Messiah — $3.4 million / $1,933 avg.
  • 1985 — King David — $2.2 million / $3,030 avg.

Risen, which had the fourth-best first weekend of any “faith-based” film when it first came out three weeks ago, now has the twelfth-best fourth weekend:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $19.4 million
  • 2014 — Heaven Is for Real — $7.5 million
  • 2015 — War Room — $6.2 million
  • 2014 — God’s Not Dead — $5.5 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $5.0 million
  • 2011 — Soul Surfer — $3.4 million
  • 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $2.8 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $2.7 million
  • 2008 — Fireproof — $2.6 million
  • 2011 — Courageous — $2.5 million
  • 2014 — When the Game Stands Tall — $2.4 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $2.3 million

Risen also currently ranks tenth within the genre in terms of total domestic gross…

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $370.8 million
  • 2014 — Heaven Is for Real — $91.4 million
  • 2015 — War Room — $67.8 million
  • 2014 — God’s Not Dead — $60.8 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $59.7 million
  • 2011 — Soul Surfer — $43.9 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $37.6 million
  • 2011 — Courageous — $34.5 million
  • 2008 — Fireproof — $33.5 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $32.4 million
  • 2014 — When the Game Stands Tall — $30.1 million
  • 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $25.6 million
  • 2015 — Woodlawn — $14.4 million
  • 2014 — Left Behind — $14 million
  • 2006 — One Night with the King — $13.4 million

…and it ranks eighth among Bible-themed films released in the past 40 years:

  • 2004 — The Passion of the Christ — $370.8 million
  • 1998 — The Prince of Egypt — $101.4 million
  • 2014 — Noah — $101.2 million
  • 2014 — Exodus: Gods and Kings — $65 million
  • 2014 — Son of God — $59.7 million
  • 2009 — Year One — $43.3 million
  • 2006 — The Nativity Story — $37.6 million
  • 2016 — Risen — $32.4 million
  • 1981 — History of the World, Part I — $31.7 million
  • 2016 — Hail, Caesar! — $29.4 million
  • 2002 — Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie — $25.6 million
  • 1979 — Monty Python’s Life of Brian — $20 million
  • 1980 — Wholly Moses! — $14.2 million
  • 2006 — One Night with the King — $13.4 million
  • 1988 — The Last Temptation of Christ — $8.4 million
  • 1985 — King David — $5.1 million
  • 2003 — The Gospel of John — $4.1 million
  • 2016 — The Young Messiah — $3.4 million

Next week is Palm Sunday on the western calendar, and the week after that is Easter, so it’s possible that either or both of this week’s Bible movies will get a boost.

The next major Bible film will be Ben-Hur in August. However, a few significant “faith-based” films are on the more immediate horizon, starting with Miracles from Heaven this Wednesday and continuing with God’s Not Dead 2 on April 1.

1. Box Office Mojo’s list of weekly box-office charts only goes back to 1982.

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