The box office underwent a religious conversion this weekend as Christian crowds flocked to “War Room,” lifting the low-budget salute to prayer above the Zac Efron drama “We’re You’re Friends” and the Owen Wilson thriller “No Escape.”
Filmed for a mere $3 million and distributed by Sony’s Affirm division, “War Room” more than tripled its production budget in a single weekend, picking up $11 million from 1,135 locations. That also easily topped projections that had it debuting in the $4 million to $5 million range, although in retrospect those estimates were overly conservative given that advance ticket sales were unusually strong.
“These are the kind of outlier events that happen and wake everyone up to the fact that faith-based audiences are passionate and looking for content,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak.
The film is the latest faith-based hit from director Alex Kendrick and his brother, writing and producing partner Stephen Kendrick, the pair behind “Fireproof” and “Courageous.” It marks the biggest debut of their careers.