Faith-based movie "Fireproof" hung in the box office top ten this past weekend, raking in $3.99 million across 852 locations.
Over the past two weeks, the pro-marriage flick has pulled in $12.4 million, according to final figures released Monday by Media By Numbers LLC.
"Facing the Giants," the last movie produced by Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., had grossed nearly $10.2 million after about four months.
"The only way that this could happen is if after we prayed, God really answered those prayers," Director Alex Kendrick told the New York Times when asked to offer an explanation for the success of "Fireproof" and movie-based book "The Love Dare."
With a budget five times larger than that for "Facing the Giants," "Fireproof" debuted two weeks ago at No. 4 with $6.5 million in ticket sales, marking the year's second highest grossing opening weekend return of any film released on 1,000 screens or less.
The movie, which stars actor Kirk Cameron, tells the inspiring story of a fireman and his struggle to save his faltering marriage from ending with his newfound faith and with the help of the "Love Dare," a 40-day spiritual guide that utilizes Scripture to reveal what true love is.
"[I]f Fireproof continues the same pattern as Facing the Giants – a 17-week theatrical run in which it ultimately earned $10.2 million, almost eight times its first-weekend profits – then Fireproof would be on track to earn more than $54 million," observed Mark Moring, editor of Christianity Today Movies. "And since Fireproof is a significantly better movie than Facing the Giants, we don't see any reason why it wouldn't continue that momentum."
Earning $54 million "would be astounding for an indie film made primarily by church volunteers for just $500,000," he added.
This past weekend, it was Disney's "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" that pawed its way to the top spot at the weekend box office, debuting with $29.3 million. Rounding out the top ten was anti-faith film "Religulous," starring comic Bill Maher, which snagged $3.4 million across 502 locations.
This coming weekend, "Fireproof" is expected to add 300 new theaters to its list of showings, pushing the film past 1,000 screens.
The film has drawn the support of several national groups including Focus on the Family, Outreach, FamilyLife, The Marriage CoMission, America's Family Coaches, AMFM, Marriage Alive Communications, and MarriageToday. Influential figures such as marriage expert Gary Smalley and Bubba Cathy of Chick-fil-A have also worked to spread word of the movie.