The Christian movie “Jesus Revolution,” which has surpassed the $50 million mark in theaters, premieres today on digital platforms and soon on Blu-ray.
Released by Lionsgate, the movie telling the story of the 1970s Jesus People movement earned more than $51 million in box office receipts. That makes it the ninth highest-grossing faith-based film of all time.
“It’s just an unbelievable landmark for any movie,” said Jon Erwin, who co-directed the film, on a March 31 live video update. He added that Christian viewers have “once again … shocked the industry and proven that we are an enormous underserved and hungry audience for content.”
Beginning today, the film — which stars Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”) Jonathan Roumie (“The Chosen”), and Joel Courtney (“Super 8”) — can be purchased for at-home viewing via digital outlets. A Blu-ray version with special features hits retailers on April 25.
Despite the movie’s success, some observers familiar with the events depicted say the movie sanitizes complex events.
Historian Leah Payne, called the film “an origin story of sorts for conservative American revivalists” in a statement to The Roys Report. “And it paints a very rosy, very glossy view of the early days of the Jesus Movement,” she said.
Payne, associate professor of American religious history at Portland Seminary in Oregon, has written about “Jesus Revolution” at length. Her review stated it glosses over “notable controversy and conflict in favor of feel-good evangelical Christian themes.”
Similarly, Christian film critic Peter Chattaway called the drama “a safe, crowd-pleasing film that ignores and obscures the messiness of the Christian hippie movement.”
Still, audiences responded positively to “Jesus Revolution,” giving it an A+ CinemaScore and strong word-of-mouth that kept it in the box office top 10 for five weeks straight.
It even garnered significant mainstream praise, with a 61% positive aggregate rating from film critics. Variety hailed it as “one of the most appealing faith-based big-screen entertainments in a while, polished and persuasive without getting too preachy.”