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.
Preachers of L.A. has been picked up for a second season and will air Fall 2014. Returning with Bishop Noel Jones, Minister Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Pastor Jay Haizlip, Pastor Wayne Chaney and Bishop Ron Gibson, “Preachers of L.A.” gives viewers a candid and revealing look at the dynamic lives of these mega-pastors in Southern California. On the heels of the show’s success, the network announced it will begin casting new editions in New York, Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit.
“‘Preachers of L.A.’ touched the heart strings of our Oxygen viewers. They were captivated by the triumphs and tribulations of these men of God and the amazing women and families that stood alongside them.” said Rod Aissa, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and Development for Oxygen Media. “We look forward to bringing more of these compelling stories to life both in LA and around the country.”
“Preachers of L.A.” hit rating milestones by becoming the most watched freshman series in network history among P25-54 and averaging over one million total viewers. Delivering digital success as well, the series averaged more full episode streams per week in season than any other Oxygen original series and was the #10 most social cable reality program in October and November. On VOD, “Preachers of L.A.” earned over two million transactions.
“Preachers of L.A.” is produced by L. Plummer Media in association with Relevé Entertainment, with Lemuel Plummer and Holly Carter serving as Executive Producers.
NASHVILLE, TN – The 29th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards today announced the lineup for Gospel music’s biggest night. Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell, Shirley Caesar, Donald Lawrence, Hezekiah Walker, Isaac Carree, Tasha Cobbs, Ricky Dillard, VaShawn Mitchell, Lexi, Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy and Jonathan McReynolds are the early notable names set to grace the stage.
A hallmark of the Stellar Awards telecast has become the powerful, stirring artist collaborations brought together by the show’s producers — this year, The Canton Spirituals, The Gospel Legends and The Wardlaw Brothers will team for the Quartet Collaboration; while Erica Campbell joins Jekalyn Carr, Latice Crawford and Lexi for the Female Collaboration.
The Male Collaboration will feature Jonathan McReynolds, Jonathan Nelson, Vashawn Mitchell and Zacardi Cortez. Kirk Franklin will perform a special tribute to the late Nelson Mandela and Ricky Dillard is set to close the show.
As previously announced, the 29th Annual Stellar Gospel Music Awards Show is hosted by “The View’s” Sherri Shepherd and “Dish Nation’s” breakout star Rickey Smiley, who bring impeccable comedic timing and expertise as daily talk show hosts to the role. For the second time in as many years, the Stellar Awards will air live in primetime on the UP Television Network from its new home at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium on Saturday, January 18, 2014 at 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CST/4 p.m. PST. The Stellar Awards will air in national broadcast syndication in over 200 television markets from January 25 – March 22. The red carpet hosted by Tye Tribbett will air online prior to the telecast covering the glitz and glamour of the celebrity arrivals.
Pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas has recently made multiple media appearances to discuss the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in an attempt to offer spiritual guidance to those searching for answers in the wake of the tragedy.
The Lakewood Church pastor recently spoke about how to move forward from the Dec. 14 tragedy, saying that in a roundabout way, he believes the tragedy “teaches us to prioritize what’s important in our lives.”
“There is no guarantee of tomorrow, I wish there was, but it makes us all realize, even as a nation, how fragile life really is, and every day are we taking time to tell the people we love how much we love them and taking the time for what matters most,” Osteen told Entertainment Tonight in a Dec. 17 interview.
“We can take this, as a nation, to say, ‘you know what, here’s a wake up call, are we taking time for those closest to us?'”
Religion has been referenced by many leaders seeking to find answers to this recent act of violence. On Monday, Pastor T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House went on MSNBC’s “News Nation with Tamron Hall” to say that he believes now is an important time for Americans to come together.
“We all have to be watchmen on the wall, and answer the great question of the Scriptures: ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?'” Jakes told Hall. While attending an interfaith prayer vigil on Dec. 16 in Newtown, President Barack Obama cited the Bible passage found in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, telling those in attendance:
“Do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly, we are being renewed day by day.” “For light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal,” the president adde