"Miracles from Heaven" is proving, once again, that faith-based films can succeed at the box office, grossing more than $50 million on a modest $13 million budget.
According to boxofficemojo.com, the film, which opened on March 16, landed in fifth place at the box office this weekend, holding its own alongside Hollywood heavy-hitters like "Zootopia," "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2," "Batman Vs. Superman," and the faith-based film "God's Not Dead 2."
"Miracles," directed by Patricia Riggen and co-produced by Dallas megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes, recounts the real-life story of a 12-year-old girl name Anna (Kylie Rogers), who is the daughter of Christy Beam (Jennifer Garner). Anna is suffering from a pseudo-obstruction motility disorder and is unable to eat, using feeding tubes for nutrition. One day, she has a near-death experience after falling from a tree and is subsequently cured of her disorder - a miracle that the Beam family credit to their Christian faith.
NBC notes that prior to its theater release, "Miracles From Heaven" went on the church circuit, earning earned "rapturous praise" from churchgoers.
"People are going to feel like God is real, that faith works, that miracles are everywhere," DeVon Franklin, a producer on "Miracles from Heaven" and an ordained minister, told The Gospel Herald. "They're going to hug their families, they're going to pray, they're going to thank God...They'll realize that miracles are all around them, the miracles of love, the miracles of kindness, the miracles of peace, the miracles of joy. If we would just take a moment focus, we'll see that God is letting us know that we're not alone."
Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst at comScore, told NBC that the success of films such as "Miracles" and "God's Not Dead 2" prove that there is an overwhelming desire for family-friendly entertainment.
"There's an audience for these films that has been...marginalized," he said. "In the past, faith-based content was seen as very niche. But evidently, that's no longer the case."
Rich Peluso, a senior vice president at Affirm Films, the faith-based label at Sony, echoed such a sentiment during a recent interview with The Gospel Herald, asserting that the success of films like "Miracles" and "God's Not Dead" show that Christians are an underserved audience.
"[Not] everything the Christian community wants and will consume has to be thickly laid on with their faith or Biblical worldview, but it does mean that when you provide a great story, great entertainment that's in alignment with their faith, you'll have a wave of support that surprises Hollywood," he said.
He also emphasized that the recent wave of faith-based films won't end anytime soon: "Any trend or news story that picks up attention, people will chase it," he said. "I can tell you that any time we have a big release come out, the number of Hollywood producers and writers increases tenfold."