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postAmazing gross
by Andy Crouch for Culture Making : : via Christianity Today Movies

In the movie business, Monday is the day to ponder the lessons learned from the past weekend’s gross receipts. So, dear culture makers, let us ponder this: Albany, Georgia’s Sherwood Baptist Church’s film Fireproof has grossed $23.6 million in its first month of release—on just 900 screens. Its production budget was $500,000. The critical reception, unlike the popular reception, has been, shall we say, tepid.

Compare that with a movie made with a cast of extraordinary British actors, directed by the widely respected Michael Apted, about one of the great heroes of Christian cultural transformation: Amazing Grace, the story of William Wilberforce and the end of the British slave trade. Backed by one of the deepest pockets in Christendom, with a production budget of $29 million (and, full disclosure, benefiting from the excellent marketing efforts of many people I consider friends and heroes), and quite well received by critics in spite of its Christian bona fides, it grossed $22.3 million domestically in its entire run (on over 1100 screens at widest release).

As William Goldman said, nobody knows anything. Let the reader understand.