Variety is reporting that religious crowds pulled off a “great awakening” at the Labor Day box office, raising low-budget “War Room” above “Straight Outta Compton” and reaffirming the value of producing pictures for faith-based moviegoers.
The $3 million production from brothers Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick brought in $12.6 million over the four-day holiday. The film has earned $27.9 million and is on track to be the biggest hit of the Kendricks’ careers, passing “Courageous” ($34.5 million) and “Fireproof” ($33.4 million). It arrives in theaters courtesy of Sony’s Affirm division.
“War Room’s” success was one of the only bright spots in an otherwise torpid weekend at the multiplexes. Newcomers like Europacorp’s “Transporter Refueled” failed to generate much heat, snagging fifth place and $9 million at the box office. The attempt to reinvigorate the franchise about a mercenary driver sans Jason Statham may be more warmly received overseas, particularly in Europe where Autoroute racing is next to godliness. “Transporter Refueled” cost $22 million to produce and debuted in 3,494 theaters.
The combination of Robert Redford, Emma Thompson, and Nick Nolte appeared to resonate with older audiences, pushing Broad Green’s “A Walk in the Woods” to a solid $10.3 million across 1,980 theaters. That was good enough for a third place finish. The adaptation of Bill Bryson’s best-selling book of the same name joins “I’ll See You in My Dreams” and “Grandma” among art house hits that have found riches by appealing to senior citizens. Since debuting on Wednesday, “A Walk in the Woods” has made $12.2 million.
“War Room’s” success displaced “Straight Outta Compton” from its throne. The N.W.A. biopic has topped charts for three consecutive weekends and many analysts had expected it would retain its crown. However, its $11.1 million gross for the four-day period places it squarely in second place.