‘I Can Only Imagine’ director: Movie industry ‘dismissed’ film prior to container office success

Dennis Quaid celebrities in “I Can Only Think about.”
Roadside Attractions
NASHVILLE — The low-budget Christian film I COULD Only Imagine drawn off a David and Goliath point in time this weekend with a unexpected field office performance.

Jon Erwin, who co-directed the movie along with his brother, can rarely believe it.

“It’s staggering,” Erwin said in an interview with the USA TODAY Network. “It’s like we’re kids together with a hill observing a snowball just rotate down the hill completely out of control.”

The inspirational drama hit theaters Friday with limited goals. By the end of its opening weekend, I Can Only Imagine got stated the No. 3 location at the pack office, sending a note to the movie industry that it will not underestimate faith-based videos.

More: ‘Black colored Panther’ is first film since ‘Avatar’ to succeed pack office for 5 weekends running

More: How does ‘I CAN ONLY JUST Imagine’ become the biggest Christian reach ever (and motivate a movie)?

“I believe it’s surprised the complete industry, including ourselves,” Erwin said. “This just demonstrates there may be this great audience out there.”

Brothers Jon and Andrew Erwin co-directed the faith-based film “I Can Only Envision.”
Submitted photo
Just how well achieved it do?
I COULD Only Imagine, which tells the real storyline behind the hit Christian songs of the same name, was projected to generate $2 million to $4 million in ticket sales this weekend, Erwin said. The movie, which cost $7 million to make, blew those anticipations away and instead pulled in $17.1 million, The Associated Press reported.

“None of us ever in our wildest dreams could have ever gotten near to this kind of prediction for the film,” Erwin said.

In fact, I COULD Only Imagine pulled in more income at the pack office on opening weekend than the entire run of the Erwin brothers’ previous film, Woodlawn. The Christian sports dilemma netted just over $14 million, he said.

Only Black color Panther and the revamped Tomb Raider outperformed I COULD Only Envision this weekend. The faith-based crisis revealed on more than 1,600 monitors, which is not even half its competition, the AP reported. It beat out A Wrinkle with time and Love, Simon.

Why is it resonating with moviegoers?
The song “I COULD Only Consider,” by Religious group MercyMe, was a delight strike, too. Bart Millard, the first choice of the band, wrote the track about his dying dad and their fraught and redemptive romance.

The movie, which stars Dennis Quaid and Cloris Leachman, brings that history alive. Erwin, who also co-wrote the screenplay, brought Milliard in in early stages to comprehend his thoughts on how an independent group from Texas arrived to have the best-selling Christian solitary in history.

“He was extremely swift to say, ‘It’s a rush of wish.’ That’s what folks feel. They feel this anticipation and it’s the remedy of the melody,” Erwin said. “So we proceeded to go with that with the movie and we said, ‘OK, it’s our job to make people feel the same thing.'”

The Lionsgate/Roadside Fascination release also received an A-plus CinemaScore. The audience was predominately female and overwhelmingly over the age of 35. Reviewers gave it a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes.

What message will this send to Hollywood?
“I don’t think the industry expected this,” Erwin said. “They really dismissed the film preceding to opening weekend — almost called it failing before we even acquired an opportunity to open up it.”

The starting weekend success of I Can Only Imagine illustrates precisely how large the Christian audience is, and the movie industry should pay attention, Erwin said.

“We’re serving an under-served audience,” Erwin said.

Moviegoers want more optimistic, uplifting PG movies they can enjoy using their entire households, Erwin said. He directed to Marvel and THE BEST Showman as other samples.

There are many great films that are the opposite and give attention to the anti-hero, but people still want to be motivated, he said.

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