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  • Writer's pictureThomas Bonifield

"Unsung Hero" Falls Short of a Significant Revenue Threshold at the Box Office

Updated: May 28

The coming-to-America story of the family of Christian musicians Joel and Luke Smallbone is wrapping up its theatrical run this week.

Terry O'Quinn films a scene during production of "Unsung Hero."
Terry O'Quinn films a scene during production of "Unsung Hero." Image: Kingdom Story Company/Lionsgate.

The fifth weekend in release for Unsung Hero delivered almost $300,000 from Friday through Sunday, according to The Numbers website, which puts the picture in 16th place overall. That boosts the film's total North American ticket revenue to $19.8 million, which has to be a disappointment for the filmmakers at Kingdom Story Company and their partners at Lionsgate studio, despite a reported production budget of just $6 million.

This picture, the latest from the high-powered producing duo of Andrew and Jon Erwin, follows the journey of the Smallbone Family from Australia to Nashville, Tennessee, in the early 1990s, and the eventual rise to Christian music stardom of daughter Rebecca St. James and her brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone (the latter making up For King & Country, one of the top acts in the genre). It seemed to have everything going for it, from a compelling, true story to a top-notch cast that included Believers Candace Cameron Bure, Lucas Black, and the aforementioned Joel Smallbone, who also co-wrote and co-directed it.

For reasons we cannot put our finger on, it somehow still managed to fall short of the $20-milllion revenue mark, which is not only a figure it should have easily breached - in our opinion - but makes it the second consecutive picture from Kingdom Story company to earn that unimpressive box office distinction: Ordinary Angels delivered just $19.1 million domestically during its theatrical run earlier this year. As a point of reference, the Erwin Brother's Jesus Revolution (2023) and American Underdog (2021) brought in more than $50 million and $26 million, respectively, when they were on the big screen, and that latter figure is nothing to crow about either, for what it is worth.

As was vociferously pointed out to us by social media users, a more than three-to-one revenue-to-budget number is generally considered quite good, and Unsung Hero will play in theaters through this coming Thursday, so there's a chance it will top $20 million, though we doubt it makes it, one, and think it should have done far better, two, considering all its advantages, including the massive social-media marketing support it got from so many Christian entertainment stars. The movie does roll out this week internationally - releasing in Australia and New Zealand on Thursday, May 30th - so perhaps overseas audiences will pick up some of the slack.


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