'Blind Side' Overtakes 'New Moon' at Box Office

( [email protected] ) Dec 09, 2009 04:46 AM EST
Family-friendly film “The Blind Side” took the No. 1 spot at the box office from “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” this past weekend.
In this film publicity image released by Warner Bros., Quint Aaron and Sandra Bullock are shown in a scene from, 'The Blind Side.' Warner Bros. / Ralph Nelson

Family-friendly film “The Blind Side” took the No. 1 spot at the box office from “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” this past weekend.

Taking in an estimated $20.4 million over the weekend, “Blind Side” beat vampire flick “New Moon,” which took in $15.7 million. Since the two films debuted three weeks ago, “New Moon,” without any surprises, had been the reigning champion at the box office for the first two weeks.

But on the third weekend, “Blind Side” surpassed “New Moon” in ticket sales, possibly due to word of mouth promotion, as some entertainment commentators have suggested.

The inspiring, based-on-a-true-story film has been gaining fans in the Christian community. Reviewers for Christian publications as well as megachurch pastors have been raving about the Hollywood film, which gives credit to the Christian faith for the good deed performed by the Tuohy family.

With unapologetically Christian characters, “The Blind Side” stars popular actress Sandra Bullock as Leigh Ann Tuohy who happens upon an enormous, black teenager in a thin, short-sleeve shirt walking alone at night in freezing temperature on a deserted road. Her son, S.J., who is in the car with her at the time, said he knows the black teen and calls him “Big Mike.”

Tuohy gets out of the car and has a short exchange with “Big Mike,” whose real name is Michael Oher. She asks him if he has a place to stay that night and after confirming he doesn’t, takes him home and offers him the sofa to sleep on.

What was at first a one-night charity case turns into something more as the whole Tuohy family becomes attached to Michael.

The Tuohy's – a wealthy, white family from Memphis – eventually adopts Michael, hires a tutor to help him with his education, and gives him the support he needs to be a star football player and eventually a first-round draft pick in the NFL. Oher now plays for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.

Besides the good deed of the Tuohy family, the film highlights the positive impact the gentle and shy Michael Oher had on his adopted family. He is credited for bringing everyone closer together and filling the missing piece in the family.

MovieGuide, a pro-family, movie review Web site, writes that “The Blind Side” has “a very strong message of Christian faith.”

“It’s very clear that Leigh Anne helps Michael because she is a Christian and thinks it’s the right thing to do,” wrote MovieGuide. “They pray around the table and speak freely about their faith. The biblical admonition to care for orphans is lived out by this family.”

Throughout the film, Tuohy wears a silver cross necklace and does not hide the fact that she is inspired by her evangelical Christian faith to help the abandoned teen. After doing research on Oher, she finds out that his mother is a drug addict and he had been bounced from school to school with a long period of time where he didn’t attend school at all. The no-nonsense Tuohy then becomes determined to offer Oher a better life.

Christian reviewers have described the film as “emotional” and “deeply touching.”

The Oregon Faith Report wrote that the film is “worth spreading the word about,” while reviewer Paul Asay of Focus on the Family’s “Plugged In” said he walked out of the theater “moved” and “smiling.”

Miles McPherson, former NFL-player-turned-pastor of megachurch The Rock in southern California, tweeted on Nov. 28, “Just saw the movie Blind Side. It was Great! Sandra bullock was da (sic) bomb.”

“The Blind Side” has earned a cumulative gross of $129.3 million. Time magazine noted the film is on its way to surpass Sandra Bullock’s biggest hit, “The Proposal,” which earned $164 million.