The religious film God’s Not Dead gave Hollywood a suprise this past weekend, opening on Friday on just 780 screens nationwide and still taking in more than $2.8 million on Friday alone, the third-largest-grossing film of the day, says The Los Angeles Times. Media expected the film to come in third for the weekend behind bigger-budgeted, wider-released films Divergent and Muppets Most Wanted. But according to BoxOfficeMojo.com, the religious drama came in fifth for the weekend with a total of over $8.5 million, just behind 300: Rise of an Empire. That’s a per-screen average of over $10,400.
The drama from the Christian movie studio Pure Flix Entertainment and the Red Entertainment Group was heavily marketed in churches, on the film’s website and other Christian websites, as well as social media. It also received several endorsements from sports celebrities such as former Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte and Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne.
God’s Not Dead tells the story of a college student defending his faith against a college professor who doesn’t believe God exists. The film features Dean Cain, Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper and cameos by Willie and Korie Robertson of TV’s Duck Dynasty.