Update: Final box office totals have been updated below, revealing Oprah’s film earned even less than experts originally estimated.
“I Can Only Imagine,” a faith-based film that told the true story behind the popular Christian song, had a blockbuster opening weekend at the box office, beating out Oprah Winfrey’s new anti-Christian film and a critically-acclaimed movie about a gay teenager coming out.
“Black Panther” ruled the box office for the fifth straight week, and coming in second was the new “Tomb Raider” movie. However, despite the hype, “Tomb Raider” was a flop with audiences, earning a paltry $23.6 million. It nearly finished behind the Christian film “I Can Only Imagine,” which finished a close third with over $17 million in ticket sales.
That was good enough to finish ahead of “A Wrinkle in Time” starring Oprah Winfrey and “Love, Simon,” a movie about a gay teen.
Even more impressive is that “I Can Only Imagine” did well in ticket sales despite only playing on 1,628 movie screens, less than half of the number of screens “Tomb Raider” played on, 3,854. That gave “I Can Only Imagine” an average return of over $10,000 in ticket sales per screen, better than any other movie in the top ten, including “Black Panther.”
Oprah’s film “A Wrinkle in Time” is based on a popular kid’s book, but has been criticized for omitting the book’s references to Jesus and Christianity, opting for a New Age theme instead. It got trounced in its first week in theaters, and its failure to sell tickets and impress critics have earned it “bomb” status.
Christians have already had their fill with Oprah, as her shift to New Age mythology has disappointed many. A video in which she claims Jesus is not the one true God has circulated online and lost her many Christian fans.
In its fifth weekend at the box office, “Black Panther” earned $27 million to take the top spot.
“Love, Simon” has received much attention and critical acclaim, for featuring a story about a gay teenager as the lead, the first for a Hollywood studio.
“Tomb Raider,” a cinematic reboot of the video game franchise, is a new spin on the films that starred Angelina Jolie. It vastly underperformed, as even hard-core fans were not terribly excited at trailers for the film. Critics were also not impressed, which killed buzz for the film. Still, it managed to take second place with almost $24 million.
“I Can Only Imagine” ended up being the biggest surprise of the weekend with over $17 million in ticket sales and a third place finish. The film tells the true story of Bart Millard, the lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe. His song “I Can Only Imagine” has become the best-selling Christian single of all time. J. Michael Finley stars in the lead, and Dennis Quaid and Cloris Leachman also star in the film, which cost a modest $7 million to make.
Here are the top ten films for the weekend, with their grosses. Totals are courtesy BoxOfficeMojo.com.
1. Black Panther $26.6M
2. Tomb Raider $23.6M
3. I Can Only Imagine $17.1M
4. A Wrinkle in Time $16.2M
5. Love, Simon $11.7M
6. Game Night $5.6M
7. Peter Rabbit $5.2M
8. Strangers: Prey at Night $4.8M
9. Red Sparrow $4.5M
10. Death Wish $3.7M
After Oprah’s recent debacle involving a presidential run, her film’s failure has shown her once-spotless image and reputation has been tarnished significantly.
While the media ignores it, Oprah has had her share of controversies. Her top five “skeletons” from her past are detailed here.