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'Heaven Is For Real' Movie Is Surprise No. 3 at Box Office (Video)

By Alexandra Ward   |   Monday, 21 Apr 2014 08:19 AM

"Heaven Is For Real," the movie based on a reportedly true story about a little boy who visits heaven after a near-death experience, surprised at the box office Easter weekend, beating out the Johnny Depp sci-fi thriller "Transcendence."

Based on the 2010 New York Times best seller by Pastor Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent, "Heaven Is For Real" opened Wednesday and raked in $28.5 million in its first five days — $21.5 million alone over the weekend, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The latest Christian film to do gangbusters at the box office, "Heaven Is For Real" beat out the much-hyped "Transcendence," which only managed a mere $11.5 million despite the fact that it showed on 1,000 more screens nationwide than "Heaven."

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"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Rio 2" took first and second place at the weekend box office, with $26.6 million and $22.5 million, respectively.

"It's really a terrific result," Sony distribution chief Rory Bruer said of "Heaven Is For Real's" opening. "And Easter was certainly a date that was in the wheelhouse of the film."

The film is just the latest in a string of recent religious movie, including "Noah," "God's Not Dead," and "Son of God."

"Religious movies have been hot at the box office this year in part because the current boomlet follows a drought. Studios also aim to lock in sales by church groups, resulting in an opening-weekend pop that can drive positive word of mouth, a crucial element of successful movie releases," The New York Times reported. "'Heaven Is for Real' was also based on a best-selling book. The other three hits so far this year have been 'Noah,' 'Son of God,' and 'God’s Not Dead.' More religious movies are on the way, including Ridley Scott’s 'Exodus: Gods and Kings,' which is scheduled for release in December."

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