Box Office Shocker: America Preferred Heaven To The Singularity On Easter

On the weekend when many Americans celebrated Jesus conquering death and sending his rabbit minions to lay chocolate tokens of immortality, the box office, aptly, was the scene of an epic struggle between competing visions of the afterlife: the ability to upload your own consciousness (Transcendence) vs. a giant pizza party in Heaven for tow-headed little boys who bark like doggies and love their father (Heaven is For Real).

Care to guess how that one turned out?

Heaven is for Real destroyed Johnny Depp’s Transcendence this weekend. Playing at 2,417 locations, Heaven is for Real earned an excellent $21.5 million. Add in its Wednesday and Thursday grosses, and the faith-based true story has already grossed $28.5 million. Sony targeted their marketing towards Christian audiences, and placed an emphasis on calling ahead for group ticket sales. [BoxOfficeMojo]

If only those church groups knew they were just helping line the pockets of a secular son-of-communists movie producer who helped get organized prayer outlawed in public schools and used to finance Steven Seagal movies.

Also, if you need a good laugh, just think of Greg Kinnear playing Todd Burpo in Heaven is For Real, and then think of the same guy in Auto Focus, as notorious über-perv Bob Crane, banging Perko’s waitresses while getting filmed by his creepy gay best friend Willem Dafoe.

Heaven Is For Real played 62% female and 49% under 35 years old. Yes, it got an A+ from Cinemascore from under-35 demos for what that’s worth. [Forbes]

People like a movie that promised them eternal happiness? Shocking. See ya soon, grampa, I’m gettin’ extra butter on mah popcorn!

Meanwhile, Transcendence bombed, hard. It earned just a shade more than $11 million on a $100 million budget. I thought the movie was actually kind of decent, but f*ck me, right? I thought the same thing about Oblivion and John Carter. It seems to me that people hate any sci-fi that falls between smart and near perfectly executed (Looper, Gravity); and mega dumb and simplistic (Avatar, Transformers).

Transcendence bombed with $11.15 million. That’s a fraction of recent Depp movies like Dark Shadows ($29.7 million) and The Lone Ranger ($29.2 million). It’s also below legendary sci-fi bombs like Stealth ($13.3 million), The Island ($12.4 million) and In Time ($12.1 million).

The movie’s audience was 56 percent male and 56 percent over the age of 25. They didn’t like it much more than critics, and it wound up with a “C+” CinemaScore. [BoxOfficeMojo]

If you say something smart, and communicate it almost perfectly, people love it. If you try to say something hacky and dumb, but you say it REALLY LOUDLY, people love it. But if you try for more complexity than Michael Bay and you fumble in the least bit, you’re screwed. I don’t envy sci-fi filmmakers. But if poor Wally Pfister gave us anything this weekend, it was the first sentence to my next porn novel, “Wally Pfister was a DP…”

Elsewhere, Captain America 2 actually took the number one spot again, and we Transcendence apologists can take solace in the fact that it at least beat the Wayans brothers horror parody thingy, Haunted House 2. Which, at $9.1 million, only earned about half the original. Not that the Wayanses care. It only cost $3 million to produce and it looks like they wrote it in the car on the way to the set that morning. I think they may have misunderstood Bukowski’s advice when he said “Don’t try.”

1. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $26,612,000 ($201,526,000)
2. Rio 2 – $22,500,000 ($75,363,000)
3. Heaven is for Real – $21,500,000 ($28,500,000)
4. Transcendence – $11,150,000
5. A Haunted House 2 $9,100,000
6. Draft Day – $5,900,000 – ($19,548,000)
7. Divergent $5,750,000 ($133,915,000)
8 .Oculus – $5,202,000 ($21,191,000)
9. Noah – $5,000,000 $93,274,000
10. God’s Not Dead – $4,801,000 ($48,327,000) [Indiewire]