20th Century Fox's The Son of God was edged out by Liam Neeson’s action-thriller Non-Stop this weekend at the box office, but still fared quite well, raking in an impressive $25.6 million—a figure that will likely help the cause of future faith-based film endeavors.
Based on Mark Burnett's massive hit mini-series The Bible, The Son of God opened in over 3 thousand theaters nationwide this weekend. For a late February film, it performed admirably, ranking 30th all-time (Non-Stop earned the 25th overall slot with $28.9 million).
As for how Son of God compared to similar wide-released, faith-based films: As expected it fell far behind Gibson’s inimitable The Passion of the Christ (2004), the top-ranked film all-time in both the R-rated and February-release categories, earning $83.8 million on its opening weekend and $370.8 million total domestically.
However, Burnett's film compared favorably to The Nativity Story (2006), which earned only $7.8 million despite releasing in December, and even beat out the third installment of Chronicles of Narnia, Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010), which likewise released in December, earning $24 million in its opening weekend and $104 million by the end of its domestic run.
Son of God made headlines during post-production when producers Burnett and Roma Downey announced they had decided to cut all scenes featuring Satan to avoid another Obama look-alike controversy.
With Darren Aronofsky's blockbuster Noah debuting in a few weeks, 2014 looks to be a big year for Bible-based films.