Faith-based ‘War Room’ takes box office glory over slow Labor Day weekend

7 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘War Room’ trounces ‘Compton’ for No. 1.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Summer blockbusters gave way to the small and highly targeted over a sleepy Labor Day weekend at the box office, with notable performances from the faith-based “War Room” and the Spanish language cartoon “Un Gallo con Muchos Huevos.” Sony’s “War Room” fought its way to first place in its second weekend in release, earning $12.6 million across the four-day holiday weekend, according to Rentrak estimates on Monday.LOS ANGELES – Sony’s faith-based drama War Room has the edge on N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton with $9.3 million to lead the modest U.S. box office over the Friday to Sunday weekend.

Financial success for faith-based films is not exactly a surprise at this point, but “War Room’s” impressive hold from its opening weekend is significant. The title should add another $2.3 million on Monday to cross the $150 million milestone, representing another triumph for Universal in a stellar 2015.

War Room, about a crumbling marriage redeemed by prayer, is the highest-grossing faith-based film since When the Game Stands Tall opened to $8.4 million last August (netting $30.1 million total). Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak’s senior media analyst, attributes “War Room’s” second weekend success to heightened awareness after it nearly usurped “Straight Outta Compton” last weekend.

Also, word of mouth is strong for “War Room.” Dergarabedian said according to exit polling, 75 percent of the audience said they would definitely recommend the movie — a substantial and interesting contrast to the dismal critical reception for the film. “It’s just a great story of a film that really filled a void in the marketplace, with a message that the audience could really get behind,” he said. All those did well and that was a really underserved audience this year,” Dergarabedian says. “There is a huge market for faith-based movies and Sony took perfect advantage of the date, so they didn’t get lost in the summer shuffle. The holiday weekend appears to be the quietest of the year, which will be first of 2015 without a title topping the $10 million mark over the three-day period.

If this came out a week or two within Jurassic World, it might be a different story.” War is the latest smash for director Alex Kendrick, whose religious movies Courageous in 2011 and Fireproof in 2008 both produced healthy returns ($34.5 million and $33.5 million, respectively). The buddy dramedy based on Bill Bryson’s memoir starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte cost a reported $8 million to make and has taken in $12.2 million since its Wednesday opening. War’s box-office might is made all the impressive by the fact that it includes no stars and received a weak critical reception (just 36% positive reviews on aggregate site RottenTomatoes.com, compared to a striking 90% approval rating from audiences). That’s a decent performance for the first wide release from year-old Broad Green Pictures, the ambitious studio launched by brothers Gabriel and Daniel Hammond.

Costing only $21 million to produce, this franchise outing subbed in a relatively unknown actor, Ed Skrein, for star Jason Statham, who had helped the previous three films succeed. Paramount’s sixth weekend of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation and EuropaCorp’s launch of The Transporter Refuelled were battling for fourth place.

Its $1.003 billion in ticket sales outside of the U.S. and Canada ranks behind only Avatar ($2.027 billion), Titanic ($1.528 billion) and Universal’s Furious 7 ($1.162 billion). The fifth Mission: Impossible took in $7.2 million at 2,849 locations for the three days and was projected to add $2.1 million on Labour Day to boost its domestic total to $182.5 million. Disney said that it will close out its summer on Monday with a projected $1.088 billion from the May 1 through September 7 period, marking the studio’s first billion-dollar summer. Co-starring Emma Thompson, Nick Nolte and Kristen Schaal, the hiking comedy brought in a mostly older audience, with 91% of moviegoers over the age of 25. A reboot of the Jason Statham franchise, with newcomer Ed Skrein in the driver’s seat, the $22 million action movie was unable to speed past lousy reviews (17% positive rating from critics and 35% approval from audiences, according to Rotten Tomatoes).

Though only 39 per cent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a positive review, audiences gave it an A-plus rating, according to audience polling firm CinemaScore.

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