Monday Morning Quarterback Part II

By BOP Staff

April 12, 2011

See you in the NBA, big guy.

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Hey, surfer, soul surfer

Kim Hollis: Soul Surfer, the faith-based inspirational movie about a surfer who gets her groove back after a shark attack, earned $10.6 million. What do you think of this result?

Brett Beach: With the a tie for the best per-screen average in the top 10 (and nearly the top 20), and a decently close finish to the #2 spot, this is another win for faith-based films in the mainstream. Between this and Hanna, it was a fairly incredible week for films with unconventional female protagonists. I think this will hold up better in the long run than Hanna as it is a family film and a film that young girls may choose to see en masse, but with a smaller budget than that film, it is already a winner. With this opening and the shockingly small dropoff for Insidious, it's been a good couple of weeks for FilmDistrict.

Josh Spiegel: I knew...oh, next to nothing about this movie, so it's clearly a win. I saw no ads, no posters, and once I read a couple of reviews, I figured it would just vanish, because despite having a faith-based target, there would be no interest. Obviously, I was wrong. Big win for FilmDistrict, even if it just passed $10 million. There's a market for faith-based movies, and there's clearly a market for young girls, so it was smart to combine the two.


Edwin Davies: First off, I don't think we can stress just how good the last two weekends have been for FilmDistrict, which had gone from being a distributor that I had never heard to a studio which has had its first two releases become hits on consecutive weekends. That's really pretty astonishing for such a young company.

In terms of Soul Surfer, this result demonstrates once again the power of marketing a faith-based film to a Christian audience. Appealing directly to church youth groups, rather than trying to appeal to everyone (I'll freely admit that I had not even heard of this film until it was listed in the Weekend Forecast) seems to have paid off in a big way.

David Mumpower: Unlike the rest of you, I’d seen ads for this including a couple in front of some recent DVD rentals. My primary thought was that the attempts to hide the disability rather than play it up were counter-intuitive. They seemed to realize this late in the game as the ads went from doing everything they could to avoid showing her missing her arm to highlighting it in the final week. Was that a key aspect of its triumphant weekend? Probably not. I simply found the whole thing odd.

I am not stunned by the result, which I attribute less to the church going crowd (remember that 2008’s Fire Proof opened much lower at $6.8 million) and more to the paucity of surf films. Blue Crush opened to $14.2 million in 2002, as an example. I would be lying if I said I expected Soul Surfer to do this well, but there is that historical precedence. To a larger point, AnnaSophia Robb is building up quite the film resume for a 17-year-old. She can count Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bridge to Terabithia, Because of Winn-Dixie, Jumper and Race to Witch Mountain on her film biography. All of these are relative hits. She is someone who could be a factor over the next few years.

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