Fireproof Hits It Big
- by Josh Hurst Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2008 29 Sep
Fireproof, the latest movie from the makers of the surprise hit Facing the Giants, finished fourth at the box office this weekend, pulling in $6.5 million despite opening in just 839 theaters. The film, made on a $500,000 budget, averaged almost $7,800 per theater, second in the per theater average only to Eagle Eye ($8,300 per), which finished No. 1 overall with $29 million on 3,500 screens.
Michael Silberman, head of distribution for Samuel Goldwyn, called the Fireproof numbers "sensational," and said the film will expand to over 1,000 theaters in the coming weeks. (By contrast, Facing the Giants earned just $1.3 million in its opening weekend two years ago, in 441 theaters. But it was a film with "legs," and hung around theaters long enough to earn over $10 million in its 4-month run.)
Even before Fireproof's release on Friday, indications were that advance tickets sales were "hot, hot, hot," according to the Thomasville (Ga.) Times-Enterprise. Many of those sales came from churches buying out entire theaters. Even Fireproof merch—especially the book The Love Dare—is selling like mad.
But the movie isn't just generating buzz among Christians; mainstream publications are also talking about the film and the Kendrick brothers, Alex and Stephen, the men behind the movies.
USA Todaynotes that the Kendricks employ their faith not just in the content of their movies, but also in the way they make those movies: "They don't pay their actors. Volunteers build the sets. Sunday school kids cater. And when production hits a snag, they don't ask for more money. They pray." The article also notes their successful they are. "And they're getting the kind of return on their films that would make Spielberg envious. Their first theatrical release, 2006's Facing the Giants, about a struggling football coach, cost $100,000 and raked in $10 million in theaters."
WRBL, a TV station in Georgia, did a nice story on the film's focus on saving marriages.
Kirk Cameron, who plays the lead role in Fireproof, has been getting a lot of ink too. He spoke of love and family in this interview, of his priorities here, and how the movie's for everyone, "whether you have faith in God or not," here.
Meanwhile, the film is receiving some positive reviews, even from secular critics. The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journalurges married couples to see the film, and to bring other couples with them, citing the movie's positive insights about marriage as well as its "compelling storyline."
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