The new faith-based film about football star Kurt Warner and his wife Brenda opened in the Top 5 and earned an A+ CinemaScore from moviegoers – and also fared well going up against another big-name release.
American Underdog (PG) opened with an estimated $5.89 million, which placed it at No. 5, just behind fourth-place newcomer The King's Man ($5.9 million). American Underdog's total is even more impressive considering it opened Christmas Day and was in theaters only two days this weekend, Saturday and Sunday. The King's Man opened on December 22. The Hollywood Reporter labeled it a "stellar two-day gross."
American Underdog also landed a rare A+ CinemaScore grade from audiences. CinemaScore is a service that asks moviegoers to rate films on opening weekend.
Congratulations to @AmericanUnderdg who scored an A+ with movie audiences! Did you see the film? https://t.co/5Hsz9bjeju @AnnaPaquin @ZacharyLevi @kurt13warner pic.twitter.com/6BihUpXb9z— CinemaScore (@CinemaScore) December 28, 2021
The romantic sports drama follows the life and career of Kurt Warner, who won a Super Bowl five years after working at a grocery store, Hy-Vee, to stay afloat financially. The film also follows his relationship with Brenda, who guided him in his spiritual growth.
Kurt Warner celebrated the film's success on social media.
"[T]o hear that our movie @AmericanUnderdg is making a bunch of grown men cry just warms my heart," Warner tweeted.
So I am the emotional one in the family (no extra comments needed @WarnerBrenda) so to hear that our movie @AmericanUnderdg is making a bunch of grown men cry just warms my heart… #YesThereIsCryingInFootball— Kurt Warner (@kurt13warner) December 27, 2021
Warner told Christian Headlines he didn't hesitate to let his life's story be made into a movie.
"I've always felt like there's a reason that we have the story that we have," he told Christian Headlines. "... I was never worried about sharing the story and putting it on the big screen. I was worried about getting it right."
Warner said he is thrilled with the final product.
"I want to make a movie that impacts people, I want people to leave the theater saying, 'Man, that was good,'" he said. "… I think without a doubt, we made that movie."
American Underdog is rated PG for some language and thematic elements.
4 Things to Know about American Underdog
Photo courtesy: ©Michael Kubeisy/Lionsgate
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.