Bible Theme, Nicolas Cage Lead 'Left Behind' to Massive Box-Office Success

Nicolas Cage, 'Left Behind'
Nicolas Cage stars as Rayford Steele in "Left Behind," which opened in theaters nationwide this weekend. (Stoney Lake Entertainment, Facebook)

Left Behind, which opened Friday on 1,790 screens across the United States and 35 in Canada, garnered strong box-office attendance from moviegoers this past weekend, commanding $6.3 million ($3,452 per-screen average) in receipts.

Although questioned by critics, audiences turned the other cheek and flocked to theaters to watch Nicolas Cage lead a cast through the story of the rapture that brings biblical prophecy to life in modern times.

Producer and co-writer Paul Lalonde commented, "We are pleased with the response the film has had from moviegoers across North America. With a marketing budget less than one-tenth of what the studios spend on the movies we're competing with, we had focused our marketing efforts toward our core Christian audience.  

"We had a strong social presence and knew awareness in the core demo was strong," he continued. "Our goal was to enlist those fans to spread the word and to bring friends and family who weren't necessarily believers. I have to give thanks to director Vic Armstrong, star Nicolas Cage and the rest of the cast and team that brought it all together so well. But most of all, I want to thank the fans for supporting this movie, and all faith based movies, by actually buying tickets and going to the theater."

Freestyle Releasing's Co-President Mark Borde added: "We were bullish on this film from the very beginning. Originally slated for a 1,200 screen run In the U.S., we bumped it up to 1,790 theaters due to the pre-release demand. We are very pleased with these results in light of being up against five films, each in more than 3,000 theaters with far larger marketing budgets."

Left Behind is based on the New York Times best-selling book series of the same name, co-authored by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. Based on the Bible and published in 32 different languages, the series has sold more than 63 million copies and is one of the best-selling fiction series of all time.  

The film follows Rayford Steele (Cage), who is piloting a commercial airliner just hours after the rapture when millions of people in the plane and around the globe suddenly vanish. Thirty thousand feet over the Atlantic, Rayford is faced with a damaged plane, terrified passengers and a desperate desire to get back to his family. On the ground, his daughter, Chloe Steele (Cassi Thomson), is among those left behind, forced to navigate a world of madness as she searches for her lost mother and brother.

Left Behind was produced by Lalonde, Michael Walker and Ed Clydesdale and co-written by Lalonde and John Patus.

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