The faith-based drama War Room, by filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, earned a staggering $11 million in its box-office debut over the weekend despite playing in only 1,135 theaters.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the prayer-themed film marks the highest debut for the siblings and is their fifth collaboration after Courageous, Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Flywheel.
This past weekend, War Room placed No. 2 behind Straight Outta Compton, which earned $13.2 million, but after playing in 3,142 locations.
"The Affirm and Provident partnership with the Kendricks has been proven effective over several films now," Rich Peluso, SVP of Sony Pictures' Affirm Films said. "They are intimately connected to faith leaders across the country and work hard to integrate themes within their movies that resound with these leaders and provide resources that allow the use of the movie as both entertainment and a useful tool to change lives and hearts."
War Room hit theaters on Aug. 28 and focuses on the lives of Tony and Elizabeth Jordan, whose seemingly perfect lives are crumbling under the strain of a failing marriage. However, Elizabeth's life is changed when she meets Miss Clara, an elderly prayer warrior who teaches her how to establish a battle plan of prayer for her family.
The drama, which is rated PG, stars T.C. Stallings, Priscilla Shirer and Karen Abercrombie and includes appearances from popular Christian author and speaker Beth Moore and comedian Michael Jr.
On Friday, when Compton and War Room were tied with $3.8 million, according to The Wrap, Stephen Kendrick said, "We are ecstatic!"
"God totally gets the credit for what's happening," he said in a statement. "Thousands of people have been praying for this movie. With all of our inadequacy, God keeps taking what is said to be impossible and makes it undeniable. We are so grateful."
The brothers have also emphasized that for them, success isn't measured in dollars: "If people are motivated to take the next step in their prayer life when they leave the theater, and go home and begin deepening their own prayer life, then that's success for us," Alex Kendrick told the Gospel Herald in an exclusive interview conducted last month. "Anything that will draw us closer to God and keeps us clean before Him, we're all about. That's our hope for the response to war room and really the resources that accompany it. In our lives, we've seen that God is not limited by anything, and He can do way more than we can even imagine. We're humbled by it...but it causes us to pray even bigger, and believe that God can do even more."
The Kendricks have also come up with a new prayer strengthening book, "The Battle Plan for Prayer: From Basic Training to Targeted Strategies", inspired by War Room. The brothers told the Gospel Herald they hope the books will serve as ammunition for churches to better disciple Christians on the power and necessity of prayer.
"We see the wisdom of the Lord in the timing of the War Room message. We're seeing a nation becoming increasingly racially divided," Stephen told the Gospel Herald. "But we're seeing the Church rally around prayer and becoming more and more united."
He continued, "We pray God will use this film as a means to rally the church back to prayer, because we know that when prayer happens, He will be true to His word and His character, and every ministry of every Church will be blessed, and we will become salt and light to the world."