The faith-based movie “Risen” climbed high at the box office with $11.8 million in its first weekend, according to Variety. The film crosses into several genres as it has been described as everything from an investigative movie to faith-based. Roman soldier Clavius is sort of an ancient days Philip Marlowe as he investigates the death and resurrection of Jesus. Texas director Kevin Reynolds continues his long string of successes with this movie produced by Sony which debuted at 2,915 locations for third place at the box office.
Sony’s Affirm label produced the picture for only $20 million which means it’s already guaranteed of being a financial success. Rory Bruer, Sony’s distribution chief, said, “We’ve really embraced being in the faith-based business and it’s certainly paid off.”
The Christian movie is expected to do well through March and April as Easter nears, according to Box Office Mojo. The demographics for Risen include 53% female with 70 percent 25 years of age or older. Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare In Love) stars as the Roman centurion who is instructed by Pontius Pilate to locate the body of Jesus following his crucifixion. Good luck with that assignment!
Clavius makes sure Jesus is dead and has the tomb sealed with a heavy stone, thus ensuring to his satisfaction that the Messiah will not rise from the dead. Clavius is shocked to discover the tomb is found open, and the body of Jesus has vanished. The two Roman soldiers who he left to guard the tomb have failed. Pontius Pilate is disconcerted to discover the body of Jesus is gone and orders Clavius to conduct an investigation into the missing Messiah. He is intent on disproving the Old Testament prophecies from centuries before that Jesus would rise from the dead following his crucifixion.
Director Reynolds approaches this story from the unique angle of a nonbeliever. The graduate of Baylor University in Waco, Texas, focuses on the experience of the pagan Roman soldier rather than the message which is presented in the Bible. However, the movie does affirm the Christian belief of the resurrection. Liberal newspaper the Boston Globe even concedes, “We know how it turns out, but seeing from the point of view from someone who doesn’t know and doesn’t believe adds more urgency.
The movie was released Feb. 19 at theaters across the U.S. and revolves around the most important story in history. Countless people who are uncertain as to their fate after death will no doubt find this one of the most significant movies they have ever encountered.
Tom Felton plays Fiennes’ aide Lucius in the movie which deals with the most important question one will will ever encounter. The movie’s trailer sums it up pretty well when a voice asks Clavius, “What frightens you?” The Roman tribune replies, “Being wrong. Wagering eternity on it.”