"Big George Foreman" Goes BIG on Opening Weekend
This biopic about the boxer-turned-pastor debuts today in more theaters than all but a handful of pictures in the history of faith-based movies.
The brass at Affirm Films is evidently feeling confident about Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World, because it is launching in more than 3,000 theaters. That would be 3,054 to be precise, which puts it in the Top-5 all time among Christian films by our calculation, including ahead of The Passion of the Christ - far and away the top grossing faith-based picture ever - which debuted in 3,006 venues when it released back in 2004.
This film stars Khris Davis in the role of Foreman and follows the pugilist's incredible journey from a poverty-stricken childhood to the heights of boxing success: Olympic Gold at just 19 years old and the world heavyweight title at 24. That was followed the next year by a loss of the championship belt, and a few years later by a near-death experience that led to Foreman's retirement from the sport, a conversion to Christianity and a turn to the pulpit.
As if all that would not be enough for an incredible life story, the Texas native - who is now 74 - returned to boxing after a decade-long hiatus and eventually won his second heavyweight title in 1994 when he was an unbelievable 45 years of age. In so doing, he became the oldest champ in history, a record that remains to this day.
Foreman, who has been deeply involved in promoting this film, is a devout Believer and still the preacher at the church he founded in Houston when he first stepped away from boxing. He said in a recent interview that he seeks to "spell out Jesus Christ" for others by sharing what God has done for him, and he is pleased with how the movie turned out, stating that it "brought tears to (his) eyes" when he first watched it.
As for the leadership at Affirm Films - Sony Pictures' faith-based division - their decision to go big on the theatrical release makes sense. Foreman is world famous and has an incredibly compelling personal story that should translate well to the silver screen. Besides that, Christian movies are in the ascendancy right now, with both Jesus Revolution, a studio picture, and indie film His Only Son performing surprisingly well at the box office within the last few months.
Christian Film Blog will monitor the progress of Big George Foreman and provide updates on how it performs, so check back in with us this weekend. In the meantime, go watch the movie at your local theater.