'Amazing Grace' Breaks $10 Million

Amazing Grace: The William Wilberforce Story, the inspirational movie about Britain's greatest abolitionist and evangelical, hit a major mark this past weekend at the box office as it claimed over $10 million in gross receipts.

The film, which debuted in late February, had been doing well enough that their production company, Bristol Bay Productions, moved the film into over 1,000 big screens over the weekend, up from its starting 791 theatre release. This increase in screen count helped push the film back into the top ten grossing films for the weekend, and the company hopes to bring that figure up to 1,500 in the coming weeks.

When looking at the ticket sales for the movie, a big reason for its success was attributed to church sales, which resulted from a large grass-roots campaign to get Christians involved.

Some 40 percent of the total viewers noted that they had been encouraged to see the movie by their church.

Last month, 6,000 churches participated in Amazing Grace Sunday, where each congregation pledged to sing the famous hymn, "Amazing Grace," during service on Feb. 18, giving the film a strong draw from Christian circles.

The film depicts the story of William Wilberforce (Ioan Gruffudd, Fantastic Four), known as Britain's chief abolitionist during the slave trade. It shows the struggles that the key figure has to face, including a strong resistant Parliament who feels the stability of the empire is tie to the slave trade, and the resulting victory that had ramifications in America's abolitionist movement.

Alongside the movie, an outreach campaign, The Amazing Change, was created to campaign against the modern day slave trade. The coalition consists of more than 75 organizations, each wanting to see an end to human trafficking and forced labor around the world.

The film was released during Black History Month to go along with the outreach and increase awareness among Americans.

In addition, Sparrow and EMI Records released a soundtrack entitled Amazing Grace: Music Inspired by the Motion Picture which featured some of today's biggest Christian artists, including a new version of the original hymn, "Amazing Grace," by Dove award-winning artist Chris Tomlin.

Bristol Bay Productions is part of Walden Media, the company that brought The Chronicles of Narnia to the big screen.