The revival-themed film that rocketed to No. 3 at the box office also transformed some theaters into spontaneous worship services, with moviegoers gathering to sing, pray and share the gospel before they walked to their vehicles.
The film, Jesus Revolution, tells the true story of a Jesus-loving hippie from the 1960s/70s and the straight-laced pastor who embraced him. It grossed $15.8 million last weekend, more than double what it was projected to make.
It will expand into more theaters this weekend.
Producer Kevin Downes told Christian Headlines he was "blown away" by the reaction from moviegoers.
"It's been just an answer to prayer," Downes said. "I've been so overjoyed by it."
Social media was filled with anecdotal stories.
In Florida, a TikTok video showed dozens of moviegoers singing and praying while a musician at the front of the theater played the guitar. "Revival in a movie theater after the Jesus Revolution movie," the caption read.
In California, 10 moviegoers accepted Christ after the movie ended, according to a Facebook post by pastor Kevin Foster of LifeBridge Community Church. There also was a "powerful time of worship and prayer at the end," he wrote.
At another theater in California, a worship service broke out in the middle of the movie after a technical glitch halted the film, according to a personal testimony sent to Downes and others. The testimony said a young girl stood up, "faced the crowd and asked who needed prayer. People started asking for prayer. And this young girl and her friends started praying over these people. She then asked if anyone would like to give their lives over to Christ."
Jesus Revolution was made by the same company (Kingdom Story) that was behind I Can Only Imagine, American Underdog, I Still Believe and Woodlawn. Downes was one of the co-founders of Kingdom Story.
The culture was ready for Jesus Revolution, Downes said. Its release followed a wave of revivals/outpourings at Asbury University and other schools. Weeks earlier, the sports world embraced prayer after the collapse of Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin. The film's Feb. 24 release date was announced last year – long before those recent events.
"God's timing is perfect," Downes told Christian Headlines. "We're seeing this play out. … So many people are coming to Christ, and they're being introduced for the first time to a God who loves them so much. … We're just really thankful. We're overjoyed."
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 courtsy: ©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.