The fervor that’s greeted low-budget faith-based movies at the box office this year apparently doesn’t extend to comedy.
The Christian-targeting comedy “Moms’ Night Out” didn’t get much of a boost from Mother’s Day weekend, and opened to an underwhelming $4.2 million.
That’s not terrible; it was in just 1,044 theaters — way below what “Neighbors” and “Amazing Spider-Man 2” played in — and posted a decent $4,023 per-screen average. Made for under $5 million, the PG-rated “Moms’ Night Out” faced some tough competition on the comedy front from the R-rated frat vs. family romp and Fox’s PG-13 “The Other Woman.” But its opening is considerably lower than that of several other faith-based films this year.
The Sony TriStar-distributed “Moms’ Night Out” stars TV favorites Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”) and Sarah Drew (“Grey’s Anatomy”), Sean Astin from “Lord of the Rings” and “Rudy,” and country music star Trace Adkins.
The “mom-com” about four women looking for a night on the town targeted the typically under-served Christian and female comedy crowds, but didn’t make major waves with either demographic group, despite a grassroots campaign run by Affirm Films and Provident Films.
The critics weren’t keen — it’s at just 17 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes — but first-night audiences gave it a “B+,” so it could pick up some steam over the coming weeks. It will have a tough time making up ground on earlier Christian-angled films, however.
It comes on the heels of Sony TriStar’s $12 million Greg Kinnear drama “Heaven is For Real,” which opened to $22 million last month and this weekend passed $75 million domestically.
PureFlix Entertainment’s “God’s Not Dead,” made for less than $5 million, opened to $9 million in March and is up to $57 million after this weekend.
And Mark Burnett‘s “Son of God,” which opened in February and has taken in more than $67 million worldwide, was re-purposed for the big screen from the History Channel miniseries “The Bible” for less than $10 million for Fox.
Paramount’s “Noah” is easily the highest-grossing of the year’s movies with religious themes, having taken in around $100 million domestically and nearly $340 million worldwide since opening in March. But its $125 million production budget and proportionally large marketing spend mean it’s likely still under water.
“Moms’ Night Out” is directed by Andrew and Jon Erwin, who co-wrote with Andrea Gyertson Nasfell. It was produced by Kevin Downes in association with Four Boys Films and and Pure Flix. Heaton and her husband David Hunt, who co-stars in the film, executive produced.