Low-Budget Faith Flick 'I Can Only Imagine' Opens With Big Box Office Numbers

Chalk one up for the faith-based movie market.

The cinematic story of how the song “I Can Only Imagine” became the biggest single in the history of Christian radio had an opening weekend that far exceeded expectations:

According to Variety, the estimates for the film’s opening were “in the $2 million-$8 million range.”

The movie’s budget was a mere $7 million. By modern Hollywood standards, that’s practically student film money. There is certainly no marketing budget at that amount.

Variety says that the movie “benefited from grass roots support from churches,” and that it got a boost from social media promotion by MercyMe, the band that originally recorded the song.

“I Can Only Imagine” finished in third place in domestic box office, ahead of Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” which cost $103 million to make and was only in theaters for its second weekend.

It is always a win for movie lovers when a smaller-budget film that isn’t regular Hollywood fare breaks through the noise and over-performs. This news isn’t good only for people who want more faith-based movies, but for people who want the occasional break from big-budget superhero movies (which I still love too).

Here is the trailer for the film: