LOS ANGELES (Christian Examiner) – The faith-based film "Risen" outperformed expectations and opened in the Top 3 at the box office over the weekend, even beating a new horror film in what observers had labeled a "good vs. evil" movie battle.
"Risen" ended the weekend with an estimated $11.8 million for a No. 3 opening, trailing only "Deadpool" and "King Fu Panda 3." It finished ahead of the horror movie "The Witch," as well as another newcomer, "Race."
Moviegoers gave "Risen" a solid A- in CinemaScore exit polling. BoxOfficeMojo.com reported that it was the seventh-best opening for a faith-based film of all time, behind "The Passion of the Christ," "Son of God," "Heaven is for Real" and the three "Narnia" films.
Carmel Communications, which helped market the film, sent out an email Saturday celebrating the numbers, saying it "has exceeded the early Hollywood estimates for this film."
"For us, this is no small matter! Our other big new movie competition - The Witch - is a film that has been backed by the Church of Satan," the email read. "If you are thinking of seeing RISEN, make sure you go this weekend so that in addition to bringing a film about the Resurrection to the top of the box office, we can also give the devil his due!"
Although the opening for "Risen" was above that of 2015's "War Room," the latter film wins when examining the data on a per-theater average. "Risen" opened in 2,915 theaters and had an estimated per-theater average of $4,048, while "War Room" opened in 1,135 theaters and had a per-theater average of $10,001.
The per-theater average for "Risen" was above that of several recent faith films, including "Do You Believe?" ($2,721) and "Woodlawn" ($2,477).