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'One Night with the King' Cracks Top 10

Recent Christian-themed films, while not hot at the box office, are still making moderate sales in limited theaters on opening weekends.
( [email protected] ) Oct 17, 2006 10:10 AM EDT

Recent Christian-themed films, while not hot at the box office, are still making moderate sales in limited theaters on opening weekends. This past weekend, biblical drama "One Night With the King" cracked the top ten.

The film’s opening made ninth place with $4.3 million in just 909 theaters. Although ticket sales were low-to-moderate, the historical epic was part of the $100.8 million the box office raked in over the weekend among the top dozen films.

Number one was horror film "The Grudge 2" which was followed by "The Departed."

"One Night With the King" brings the story of the biblical Esther to the screen. Based on the novel Hadassah: One Night With the King, the film follows a young Jewish woman who keeps her identity a secret when she goes from a poor orphan girl to queen. Meanwhile, Haman the Agagite plots to destroy the entire Jewish nation. Esther is left to risk her life, revealing her true identity to save her people.

Critics rave the film's production values and actors like Omar Shariff who plays Prince Memucan and John Rys-Davies as Mordecai, but criticize the movie's script as "disjointed," according to one review. Christianity Today also called for a "tighter" script. Otherwise, the epic tale could have followed classics like "Ben Hur" or "The Ten Commandments."

The biblical story comes weeks after faith-based film "Facing the Giants" had its opening in more than 400 screens. It placed 12th at the box office opening weekend and was reported as one of the highest-grossing films on a per-screen average, putting it above all but five of the films that finished above it.

Last month, FoxFaith announced it will acquire up to a dozen family friendly movies – that include Christian content – a year and market them under the FoxFaith banner. Half the films will be distributed theatrically through a third-party company and the rest will go directly to DVD.

"One Night With the King" is FoxFaith Movies' second theatrical release after "Love's Abiding Joy." And the reason Fox is doing this, Christianity Today reported, is to fill the need in the underserved Christian market.