Inspirational Christian film "Heaven is for Real" raked in a massive $21.5 million this weekend, beating Johnny Depp's "Transcendence."
Depp's sci-fi thriller only earned $11.5 million domestically, just over half of the numbers brought in by "Heaven is for Real."
Following the debut success of the faith-based film, Sony Pictures Entertainment Rory Bruer stated: "The film definitely played not only to a faith-based audience but to a mainstream audience as well. The title itself provokes dialogue no matter what you believe. It's based on a book and the true story of this family, so it makes it all that more compelling."
"Heaven is for Real" is the latest Bible-related film to get Christians buzzing, and has received positive reviews.
One faith-based entertainment ministry, Faith Driven Consumer (FDC), has given the film 4 out of 5 stars in its faith-friendly rating.
Based on a bestselling book of the same name, "Heaven is for Real" documents the real-life struggle of a family to come to terms with their young son's near death experience when it challenges their own understandings of life after death.
Four-year-old Colton Burpo was undergoing emergency surgery ten years ago when he claims to have met Jesus, seen angels and watched Mary kneel before the throne of God.
"Heaven is for Real is going to capture the imagination of Faith Driven Consumers, who will likely enjoy this film and urge their friends and family to go see it," explains FDC founder Chris Stone.
"The movie is highly accessibly for both faith and non-faith audiences alike – it has a strong message about heaven and the person of Jesus Christ without being too preachy.
"It is hopeful, entertaining, inspirational and unique...[It] hits that necessary sweet spot for faith audiences, combining a solid biblical message with high production values. We believe this film will perform strongly at the box office and will have a long shelf life with consumers for years to come," he says.