On August 19, “Ben-Hur” opens in theaters. Much is at stake for good redemptive movies as opening weekend at the box office determines overall movie success. The first weekend is important for the success of the movie and its broadest impact worldwide for the eternal good of our world.
In May 2002, “Spider-Man” became the first film in history to earn more than $100 million during its first weekend of release. This set an opening weekend box office benchmark. Since then, more movies have gone on to top the $100 million mark, establishing this as a benchmark for box office success. Box Office Mojo and other movie data sources track opening weekends. Unfortunately, movies that do not bring in $100 million are often dismissed as “disappointments,” “failures,” or “flops” at the box office.
The reality is that opening weekend ticket sales set the stage for a movie’s overall success. A strong opening weekend lays a solid foundation for international ticket sales and further sales on TV, cable, and streaming services, as well as on DVDs. If a movie “flops” on opening weekend, it may be considered of low value for other services. Big opening weekend sales are crucial to the success of a movie. One-third of the domestic gross comes from opening weekend ticket sales and set the stage for its success in other modes of delivery.
Most importantly, movies such as “Ben-Hur” present stories of hope and restoration that are desperately needed around the world today. “Ben-Hur” contrasts Christ’s sacrificial love, forgiveness, and eternal redemption with the brutality, violence, and powerful domination of Rome during His life-time. “Ben-Hur” and other great movies like it show how Christ breaks the bonds of brutal domination to set people eternally free.
Today there is great need for those who produce movies and media to exercise social responsibility and to hold themselves accountable for the great cultural and eternal impact of their work around the world. But there is also a great need for consumers to understand that they can make or break products and need to exercise social responsibility to actively support good redemptive movies and media.
“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” (Albert Einstein)