The faith-based film Jesus Revolution surprised Hollywood observers by packing theaters and crushing its projection over the weekend, soaring to No. 3 at the box office.
The movie, which tells the true story of a hippie-led revival in the 1960s/70s, grossed an estimated $15.5 million – more than double what Box Office Pro said last week was at the bottom of its projected range ($7-12 million).
It was made by the same company, Kingdom Story, that released I Can Only Imagine, I Still Believe, Woodlawn and American Underdog.
Social media was filled with stories of either filled or nearly filled theaters.
“Saw Jesus Revolution tonight at a packed theater in Plainville, Connecticut,” viewer Jason Romano tweeted.
Saw Jesus Revolution tonight at a packed theater in Plainville, Connecticut. Awesome story. Great message. @JonathanRoumie was phenomenal. A must-see for everyone. 🙏🙏— Jason Romano (@JasonRomano) February 25, 2023
“Just watched the Jesus Revolution in a sold out theater!!” moviegoer Phil Spann tweeted.
@greglaurie Just watched the Jesus Revolution in a sold out theater!! Thank you for sharing your story! As a youth pastor, what an extraordinary encouragement!!— PhilSpann (@PhilSpann) February 27, 2023
“Our audience clapped at the end!” another moviegoer, Scott Swann, tweeted.
I LOVED @JesusRevMovie Our audience clapped at the end! So proud of @greglaurie whose preaching has been part of my life for 30 years. Pirate’s Cove is where I got engaged and my 3 kids were baptized. Praying many people will see this movie. https://t.co/RznfUOon70— Scott Swan (@ScottWTHR) February 26, 2023
The success of Jesus Revolution caught the attention of mainstream publications.
“Jesus Revolution is a faith-based win for Lionsgate,” Deadline wrote. “... Tracking only saw this movie at the single digits? How did they miss this?”
Deadline also noted that Comscore’s PostTrak found that 90 percent of moviegoers would definitely recommend the film. Deadline called that stat “miraculous.”
“You never see that on any movie, including MCU and Star Wars titles,” Deadline said.
The Hollywood Reporter said Jesus Revolution “opened ahead of expectations.” and earned a “coveted A+ CinemaScore.” The movie’s weekend gross ($15.5 million) was the same as its budget, the website said.
It stars Jonathan Roumie (The Chosen) as Lonnie Frisbee, Joel Courtney as Greg Laurie, Kelsey Grammer (Cheers, Frasier) as Chuck Smith, Kimberly Williams-Paisley (Father of the Bride) as Laurie’s mother and Anna Grace Barlow as Laurie’s girlfriend and future wife Cathe.
Photo courtesy: ©Lionsgate, used with permission.
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.