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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

"Journey to Bethlehem" Gets off to a Slow Start

The faith-based musical about the Nativity features Antonio Banderas and a couple of headlining Christian singers.

Fiona Palomo portrays Mary in a scene from "Journey to Bethlehem."
Fiona Palomo portrays Mary in a scene from "Journey to Bethlehem." Image: Affirm Films.

Today begins the full theatrical release of Journey to Bethlehem, which will open in an estimated 2,000 venues. Studio brass at Affirm Films, however, may already be feeling a wee bit uneasy after Thursday night preview showings brought in a humble $250,000, according to estimates from The Numbers website.

The film played in 1,800-plus locations yesterday, meaning it averaged just $137 per-theater, which is an unimpressive figure. As a point of reference, the recent faith-based film The Blind, brought in nearly $845,000 during its Thursday night previews and did so while showing in only 1,714 venues, giving it a dramatically better average of nearly $500 per theater.

To be fair, Journey to Bethlehem was up against the new superhero flick The Marvels last night - that one earned a whopping $6.6 million and claimed first place at the box office - while The Blind faced a much less competitive field back in September. It may also be that since we are still early in November, audiences are just not yet ready for a Christmas picture.

This musical does seem to have a lot going for it, though, and could well rally over the weekend. Starring Antonio Banderas as the evil King Herod, it tells the Nativity Story and features Christian rapper Lecrae as the angel Gabriel and Joel Smallbone of the duo For King & Country as Herod's son, Antipater; Fiona Palomo and Milo Manheim play the parts of Mary and Joseph.

Journey to Bethlehem is from director and co-writer Adam Anders - a Believer and an accomplished composer of musical film scores - and it features many original songs, plenty of dance routines and a fair bit of comic relief, all while holding true to the Biblical narrative of the birth of Christ. You can watch the trailer below to get a better feel for the movie, and we recommend you check back with Christian Film Blog on Sunday to find out how it performed at the box office on its opening weekend.


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