The faith-based film “Heaven Is for Real” recorded a highly impressive box-office debut over Easter weekend, taking in $21.5 million domestically and besting Johnny Depp’s sci-fi blockbuster “Transcendence,” which only earned $11.5 million.
“The film definitely played not only to a faith-based audience but to a mainstream audience as well,” said Rory Bruer, president of worldwide distribution at Sony Pictures Entertainment, following the impressive debut, according to Deadline.com. “The title itself provokes dialogue no matter what you believe. It’s based on a book and the true story of this family, so it makes it all that more compelling.”
The Randall Wallace movie, based on the bestselling 2010 book Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, has earned an estimated $28,500,000 from 2,417 theaters nationwide in the first five days of its release, more than doubling its modest production budget of $12 million.
“It’s really a terrific result,” Bruer said. “And Easter was certainly a date that was in the wheelhouse of the film.”
Meanwhile, Depp’s “Transcendence,” which has a production budget of close to $100 million, only took in $11.5 million from 3,455 locations in its first three days.
The narrative for “Heaven Is for Real” focuses on Christian pastor Todd Burpo and the near-death experience of his then 4-year-old son, Colton, who shares of meeting Jesus in heaven as well as a number of his deceased relatives after undergoing emergency surgery in 2003.