'Heaven Is For Real' Soars At The Box Office, Puts 'Transcendence' To Shame: Easter Miracle?

Despite Johnny Depp’s ever growing career in the movie industry and continuous support from fans like myself, his most recent movie Transcendence was a major failure at the box office this weekend. However, while Depp likely sat in his room reflecting on life and wondering why another one of his films tanked once again (The Lone Ranger and Dark Shadows anyone?) another film came at us like a dark horse and beat out Depp’s film in the box office. The faith-based film Heaven Is For Real skyrocketed, earning $21.5 million from 2,417 theaters this weekend.

Coincidentally, this also happens to be Easter weekend, so this film about a boy who claims he discovers heaven during a surgery, only seems fitting. The movie, which stars actors Connor Corum, Kelly Reilly, Greg Kinnear and Thomas Haden Church among others, was made with a $12 million budget while Depp’s flop cost $100 million to produce. So it goes without saying that this is a big hit to Depp and the Transcendence team.

However, it seems interesting that a movie that likely didn’t expect to receive as much attention as Depp’s, actually turned out to be such a success at number three this weekend, only trailing behind Rio 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Though the numbers are clearly there and it’s evident that people bought the tickets (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this), was the movie as great as this box office news is making it out to be? Or did it simply see a spike because of the specific weekend that it premiered across the nation?

After all, the reviews of the movie based off a New York Times best seller, actually haven’t been outstanding by any means. Odie Henderson of the late movie critic Roger Ebert’s review website, gave the movie two out of five stars while Rotten Tomato critics gave it a 53 percent on the tomatometer, with critics like Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times saying the movie was “Preach and pretty” and that “’Heaven’ is a classy-looking product with a vanilla flavor and a pastel palette.” Though the audience rating gave Heaven Is For Real a 79 percent on Rotten Tomato’s website, The Washington Post gave it three stars and Metacritic gave it a 47 percent with its users scoring it at 4.6 out of 10.

Overall, the reviews of this movie have been quite mixed, so it seems that it may have just found a convenient time to begin screening in theaters. Coming in surprisingly close to its other competitors, which took first and second place at the box office, it makes me wonder whether or not Heaven Is For Real would have fared so well had it not been shown during a weekend celebrating Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

Image: Roth Films