Narnia Rakes In $67 Million Opening Weekend

( [email protected] ) Dec 13, 2005 01:11 PM EST

"Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" dominated the box office this past weekend, taking in $67 million, the second biggest December opening ever.

Based on C.S. Lewis' children's classic, the film opened in theaters across the United States on Dec. 9 after a successful opening in London. It was the biggest British box office hit for a Disney film with $14.2 million.

In the United States, Narnia took away the spotlight from the other popular children's story, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," which had topped the box offices for three weeks.

Critics and audiences gave Narnia positive reviews for its fantasy tone and faithfulness to the author's vision. Moviegoers found that faith elements of the Narnia movie subtly portrayed, according to USA Today, with some saying the religious message is there. Nevertheless, believers saw Aslan as a Jesus figure who sacrificed himself for the sins of others.

Many attribute the movie's successful debut with churchgoers who would normally not attend movies often. Some churches have adopted campaigns, similar to that of "The Passion of the Christ," boosting both church and movie attendance.

The Passion of the Christ broke weekend box office records with an estimated $76 million Friday-Sunday gross. It totaled $117.5 million that week since its release on Wednesday. The Passion's success opened up the evangelical audience as a large movie market.