With the box office success of recent films like "Heaven Is for Real," and TV ratings hits like “The Bible Series,” “Son of God,” and “AD,” it’s probably a very good time for filmmakers/content creators with so-called "faith-based" projects primed for the big or small screen. Hence, more and more similar releases should be expected – like this one, seemingly under the radar, which Sony Pictures released nationwide in theaters this weekend (by the way, Sony also released the aforementioned "Heaven Is for Real" so they’re on to something here).
From the creators of "Fireproof" and "Courageous" comes "War Room," a faith-based drama that explores the power that prayer can have on marriages, parenting, careers, friendships, and every other area of our lives.
Synopsis: Tony and Elizabeth Jordan have it all – great jobs, a beautiful daughter and their dream house. But appearances can be deceiving. Tony and Elizabeth Jordans’ world is actually crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. While Tony basks in his professional success and flirts with temptation, Elizabeth resigns herself to increasing bitterness. But their lives take an unexpected turn when Elizabeth meets her newest client, Miss Clara, and is challenged to establish a “war room” and a battle plan of prayer for her family. As Elizabeth tries to fight for her family, Tony’s hidden struggles come to light. Tony must decide if he will make amends to his family and prove Miss Clara’s wisdom that victories don’t come by accident.
Sony’s TriStar Pictures is opening the film nationwide on a significant 1135 screens this weekend! It’s significant because that number of opening screens isn’t all-that typical for a film like this, with virtually no *name* actors in it (to use Hollywood parlance) or behind the camera. But it doesn’t look like it matters at all, because the film is on track to surprise box office analysts this weekend. To compare, “Straight Outta Compton” earned $3.8 million on Friday, while "War Room" earned $3.9 million, on track for a roughly $10 million gross for the weekend. Maybe not super impressive as an opening weekend gross, but, again, for a film of its ilk, that’s a healthy number – especially given the competition it faces. "Compton" may well out-pace it and take the top spot tomorrow, but "War Room" is performing very well, and could squeak out a win.
Obviously "Compton" is in its 3rd weekend of release, so maybe this shouldn’t even be a contest. Also the film behind those two films, "Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation," which earned $2.2 million on Friday, has also been in theaters for a month. Needless to say, if all 3 films were opening this weekend, assuming what each earned during their respective opening weekends, "War Room" would be in a distance 3rd place.
Alas, maybe a perfectly-timed release of "War Room" for Sony/Tristar; knowing when it’s best to release a film to ensure that it’s properly positioned to be successful, is part of the job – even when it’s slammed by critics ("War Room" is rated "Rotten" with an 18% rating on movie review aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes).
“War Room is the ideal addition to our August slate, following in the footsteps of last year’s hit, ‘Heaven is For Real,’ which had a $12 million budget and grossed more than $100 million,” said Rory Bruer, President, Worldwide Distribution for Sony Pictures. “We are pleased to be distributing the Kendrick Brothers’ next film, which will be the perfect programming for families seeking a wholesome and inspiring summer movie.”
We’ll know more about this weekend’s grossed when Sergio publishes his weekly box office report tomorrow.
"War Room" features New York Times best-selling author and Bible teacher Priscilla Shirer in her film debut. The cast also includes director Alex Kendrick, T.C. Stallings, and comedian Michael Jr. Newcomers Karen Abercrombie as Miss Clara, and Alena Pitts as Danielle, as well as a cameo by renowned speaker Beth Moore in her first acting role, round out the cast.
"War Room" is directed by Alex Kendrick, a former pastor, and produced by his brother Stephen Kendrick (whom he works with often) and Gary Wheeler.
By the way, this isn’t Alex Kendrick’s first rodeo; "War Room" is his 5th theatrically-released feature film since 2003, with an average cumulative gross of about $22 million.