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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

A Top-20 Finish at the Box Office for "The Essential Church"

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

This documentary about government tyranny targeting Believers delivers solid ticket sales in its debut weekend.

Pastor John MacArthur films a scene for the documentary, "The Essential Church."
Pastor John MacArthur films a scene for "The Essential Church." Image: Grace Productions.

Despite a minimal release footprint, The Essential Church managed to get off to a good start in theaters, bringing in $250,000 from Friday through Sunday. That performance was enough to put it in 17th place overall, according to The Numbers website.


From California-based Pastor John MacArthur, the documentary details the history of government persecution of the Church, devoting particular attention to shutdown orders and arrests directed at local bodies during Covid-related hysteria in 2020 and 2021. MacArthur and his flock at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley were among those who refused to close their doors at the time. They also challenged local and state authorities in court, where they ultimately won, and thus are central characters in this film.


Back to the aforementioned ticket revenue, which at first glance may strike one as rather meager. It is important to consider it in context: this is a faith-based production - and a documentary - that released in just 300 theaters, all of which makes for a steep climb when compared to the performance of secular feature films. So, finishing in 17th position at the weekend box office with a quarter million dollars of revenue is, for a movie like this, a respectable showing indeed.

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