Carrie Underwood’s “Soul Surfer” Debut Comes in at #4

ss_03342The movie Soul Surfer featuring Carrie Underwood in her film debut did better than expected, grossing an estimated $11.1 million from 2,214 locations in it’s weekend opening.

The Bethany Hamilton biopic, “playing to teen girls and faith-based audiences, drew a rare A+ CinemaScore, promising good word of mouth.”

Variety reports Soul Surfer “had some of its best performing plexes in the Midwest, notably, in Oklahoma City and Nashville, Tenn.”

More deets on box office from Deadline:

Coming in to this weekend, Sony thought it was releasing through TriStar an acquired micro-budget title from FilmDistrict that had “solid upside potential” according to a studio exec. “If we do 10 million this weekend (or close to it), it would be a home run for Sony and Film District.” Mission accomplished. A strong Christian message sometimes works at the box office, sometimes falls flat. This one worked, helped by the strong appeal and personal promotion of American Idol winner Carrie Underwood.

Soul Surfer played incredibly well all around the country as Sony had been screening the title aggressively — 350 previews — especially for church groups who arranged for buses to bring in audiences all day Friday. Which is why the movie was a surprise No. 2 all that day until nighttime fell. Exit polls showed 80% of the audience was female and 56% of the total men and women who went were under 25.

Soul Surfer is off to a very good start, indeed.

Thanks Windmills

  • windmills

    According to Box Office Mojo Soul Surfer also had the best per screen average out of the major debuts. EW had predicted it to debut out of the top 5 with less than $8 million and a couple of places like Box Office Guru had said Soul Surfer was expected to pull in $7 million its 1st week.

    I haven’t seen it yet. Being honest I’m not all that interested in seeing Carrie act, does that mean I have to turn in my fan card? ;) But I do have some friends who really liked the movie and said Carrie did a solid job. Apparently Anna Sophia Robb who plays Bethany Hamilton is great.

    I was just hoping this wasn’t something that would result in negative buzz for Carrie and it really hasn’t so I’m happy for that. Based on the results I think Carrie chose wisely as far as the role she took, she was able to test the waters and prove she has a certain appeal that extends to the box office. I’m still more interested in her singing and making music.

  • Sue123

    :-/ my comment didn’t post (at least I don’t think – if this ends up posting twice my apologies)

    I have zero desire to see this movie – it has nothing to do with the cast (I love both Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid) and everything to do with how it’s being promoted. The small clip I saw on Ellen just sealed it for me. I am, however, glad it did well on its opening weekend :)

  • vuggy1

    I read the user reviews on Yahoo, and it has an average of an ‘A’ and almost everyone gave it an A+. With this kind of word of mouth, I expect it will pick up steam and be a big hit. I also watched the review of it by the reviewers on Roger Ebert’s show. They both gave it a thumbs down, but that will make no difference at the box office. What the professional critics think is irrelevant.

  • jeff2683

    I probably won’t make a trip to the theater to see it, but when it comes on network tv, I will watch it.
    I saw Dennis Quaid on The View and it looked like it might be pretty good.

  • Miss Blue

    Since when is Oklahoma City the midwest?

  • SpenserJ

    I have zero desire to see this movie – it has nothing to do with the cast (I love both Helen Hunt and Dennis Quaid) and everything to do with how it’s being promoted.

    Just out of curiousity, what’s the promotion angle you’re not liking? I haven’t really paid much attention to them. Although I find Bethany to be an amazingly strong young woman, I just don’t think I can watch a movie where a young girl gets her arm bitten off my a shark.

    I’ll need to watch it at home, where I can fast forward through that part. The thought of it just horrifies me.

  • Sue123

    Spenser (let’s see if I can phrase this so I don’t sound like a heathen…. ) I don’t really like the whole “Christian Film” angle that they seem to be pushing. I think the young woman is incredibly strong – amazingly strong – and I’m sure her faith absolutely carried her through, but it’s just an angle that turns me off.

  • SpenserJ

    Ah, I understand. And, I see your point. This girl tells her amazing story, and you know every opportunistic fundy under the sun is going to appropriate it for their own agenda LOL.

  • songsungblue

    I don’t really like the whole “Christian Film” angle that they seem to be pushing. I think the young woman is incredibly strong – amazingly strong – and I’m sure her faith absolutely carried her through, but it’s just an angle that turns me off.

    Oh, this! I feel like I’ve been force fed this kind of thing so often. Can’t stand it. Ugh. The minute church groups go in droves to a movie, I know for sure it’s not for me.

    One reviewer wrote said every time Carrie came onscreen, she was such a terrible actress, he wanted to punch her. Heh. Well, I though it was funny :) She might not -

  • gangreen29

    One reviewer wrote said every time Carrie came onscreen, she was such a terrible actress, he wanted to punch her. Heh. Well, I though it was funny She might not -

    Sounds more like a crazy person than a reviewer to me lol.

  • stwbcross

    One reviewer wrote said every time Carrie came onscreen, she was such a terrible actress, he wanted to punch her. Heh. Well, I though it was funny :) She might not -

    I don’t find it funny at all. Even if a person is a bad actor/actress, what kind of reviewer writes something like that? In this world where bullies are everywhere it’s disheartening to see one get paid for being one.

    Anyway, I saw the movie this weekend. Considering that Carrie is not an actress and has never had acting lessons, I think she did a pretty good job. But I’m like windmills and hope she keeps making music.

  • songsungblue

    I’ll try and find the link, but I don’t think he meant LITERALLY punch her! I mean, I’m not a Carrie fan but I’m not behind bodily harm. :)

  • partyintheusa

    (let’s see if I can phrase this so I don’t sound like a heathen…. ) I don’t really like the whole “Christian Film” angle that they seem to be pushing. I think the young woman is incredibly strong – amazingly strong – and I’m sure her faith absolutely carried her through, but it’s just an angle that turns me off

    It was not an angle. It was the story. They weren’t going to drastically change an integral part of the story just to appease people like you who can’t even deal with 2 mere mentions of God in a film. Good grief.

  • stwbcross

    I’ll try and find the link, but I don’t think he meant LITERALLY punch her! I mean, I’m not a Carrie fan but I’m not behind bodily harm.

    Whether he meant it literally or not, why did he even have to use language like that, why not just say that she isn’t a good actress if that’s his opinion?

    Please don’t post a link. It will just reward him with hits and likely encourage him to continue to write things like that.

    I hope I’m not coming across as being mad at you personally. I’ve just seen so much “bad” stuff about bullying recently that starts out from this type of thing that I might just be overly sensitive at the moment.

  • Miss Blue

    It was not an angle. It was the story. They weren’t going to drastically change an integral part of the story just to appease people like you who can’t even deal with 2 mere mentions of God in a film. Good grief.

    I watched about a billion interviews with this girl, after this incident happened, and I don’t recall her mentioning god, faith, religion, church, etc in any of them.

    However, I’m sure she was praying, and her family was praying. The girl could have died, so prayers sure were warranted. And if that’s what’s shown in the movie, that’s fine.

    I think where the objection comes in (if you can call it that as it’s been very mild), is the advertising of the film pushing the religious angle. That’s fine too, but I won’t be seeing or renting the movie because of it. To each his own.

  • partyintheusa

    Bethany specifically mentioned Jesus Christ as her Savior when she won a Teen Choice Award. She may not have mentioned it in all her interviews, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t part of her story. A movie about a life-altering event is going to have all the aspects of it that an interview may not include. They aren’t pushing an angle. They telling the story. Faith-phobics need to get their panties out of a twist over it and just suck it up.

  • Sue123

    Nope, not going to suck it up – just not going to see the movie.

  • sr4mjc

    It was things like this that turned me off to seeing the film. It’s fine, it’s just not for me personally.

    http://www.outreach.com/promo/soul-surfer-products.aspx?nop=1

    ETA: There’s plenty of movies I choose not to see for many reasons, so just add this one to the list. No loss.

  • SpenserJ

    It was things like this that turned me off to seeing the film. It’s fine, it’s just not for me personally.

    Well that is interesting. My church is kind of old school – we never get to talk about movies :). That’s why it seems odd to me for churches to build “campaigns” around a movie.

    At any rate, the movie appears to have good buzz, so good for Carrie.

  • Mel1

    The movie wasn’t even rated by the movie critics. I like to see both ratings, not just by the users.

  • http://mjsbigblog.com/luvadamlamberts-american-idol-tour-2009-washington-dc-re-cap.htm luvadamlambert

    I saw it last night with some friends and it was AMAZING!!!! so inspirational, and i started crying-it made me want to accept jesus christ as my saviour and im not even christian lol…but it was soooo good!!!! carrie wasnt that great an acctress, she was ok, but she was so nice, it didnt matter! LOVED IT <3

  • windmills

    Mel1: The movie wasn’t even rated by the movie critics.

    Where’d you get that?

    Entertainment Weekly

    Orlando Sentinel (Roger Moore syndicated)

    Variety

    New York Times

    Los Angeles Times

    Those reviews are all positive but overall the movie’s reviews by the critics have been mixed. The criticisms are usually focused on the character development and dialogue. The AP review is negative and actually doesn’t like that the movie waters down the faith aspect to make the story more mass appeal.

    The presentation of religion in any entertainment form’s a very tricky thing to handle and you’ll never satisfy everybody if you try. A lot of people prefer it to be kept private. Carrie’s said that she wants to be honest about who she is and answer about her faith when asked but not in a way that makes anybody feel bad. I think that’s a good way of handling it.

  • stwbcross

    I watched about a billion interviews with this girl, after this incident happened, and I don’t recall her mentioning god, faith, religion, church, etc in any of them.

    Have a look at the first 2 minutes of this video to see a couple where she shows her faith. (The rest of the video is really about Sarah Hill)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loENE0EwrQQ&feature=player_embedded#at=1915

    This video gives you a good idea of the strength of Bethany’s faith.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjUbYx6ozic&feature=related

  • Ratna12

    I was just hoping this wasn’t something that would result in negative buzz for Carrie and it really hasn’t so I’m happy for that.

    I saw this movie and don’t worry, nobody will come out from this saying that from now on they will not buy a Carrie’s CD based on this. She did a solid job. Eventhough there was a little bit of religious stuff (Carrie’s character was a youth church leader), it was NOT emphasized at all IMO.

    I’ve been to so many preview movies and I believe that very rarely that the whole audience clapped at the end of the movie. This movie will get the word of mouth. Very inspiring. As long as you don’t come in expecting an Oscar caliber movie and performances, you should be OK.

  • partyintheusa

    I don’t see what was so bad about Carrie’s acting. I thought she was very natural in it.

  • http://www.amadcow2.com amadcow2

    I very much trust the ‘meta’ review that RottenTomatoes does:

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/soul_surfer/

    The quote here about says it all:

    There’s an amazing true story at the heart of Soul Surfer — and unfortunately, it’s drowned by waves of Hollywood cheese.

    That’s the reason I won’t go see Soul Surfer, but rather see it when it comes out on DVD. I think in the Roger Ebert review he says it best in that the script is too heavy handed and doesn’t connect as a real story with real people. I don’t even mind the overly religious angle, since it seems that was (and is) a huge part of Bethany’s life. It’s the overt hollywood manipulation that keeps me from plunking down $10 at the multiplex, when I could go see something more big screen worthy (i.e., Hanna, Insidious, or Source Code).

  • musicality

    This is the type of movie I would never go see or rent on DVD. It’s more like something I would see on the Hallmark channel TV. I can’t stand movies with an overly religious theme.

  • Lov3ly

    So happy Carrie’s debut film Soul Surfer gets very good response, just saw on twitters and many said that the film is very inspirational and without patronizing. I can’t wait to watch this on big screen in my country.

    Here are reviews from people who already saw the movie and the responses are from different ages and gender:
    Nashville :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l2HywKs5Ww&feature=player_embedded
    Tulsa
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMFFDSmtQLE&feature=player_embedded

    - edit : more review
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iTluVXHLJA&NR=1

  • AIaddict

    Saw ir, loved it, would recommend it and I’m a real person.

  • musicality

    I won’t watch the movie because of the unrelentant church angle in it. To each his own. This must have faith stuff drives me nuts. She pulled through she had no choice. Good for her for getting back on the board and not giving into her fear. To me it should have been all to do about her and none of the church stuff. I’m sure it’s a part of her life but it’s not a part of mine and I’d end up rolling my eyes at the whole movie. But to each his own. I won’t see it for Carrie. Not a fan of her music and even if I was I still wouldn’t see it. I’m sure the church crowd and the pearl clutchers will love it though. Good on them :)

  • partyintheusa

    This must have faith stuff drives me nuts. She pulled through she had no choice. Good for her for getting back on the board and not giving into her fear. To me it should have been all to do about her and none of the church stuff.

    To deny an essential part of what pulled her through would be to deny the story. You can’t have it both ways.

  • Indigobunting

    I was on the fence about the movie; religion doesn’t scare me in movies.

    But my local paper gave it a bad review (calling it way too melodramatic and heavy handed)- I really dislike movies that pour on the sappy melodrama.

    I may still see it; sounds like a good kid/family movie -but will wait for Netflix.

  • partyintheusa

    But my local paper gave it a bad review (calling it way too melodramatic and heavy handed)- I really dislike movies that pour on the sappy melodrama.

    Well getting your arm bitten off by a shark isn’t exactly a light topic. LOL.

  • Indigobunting

    Melodrama does not = Drama

    Melodrama: Characterized by extravagant theatricality (Webster).

    The other “Losing an arm while sporting” movie out there- “127 Hours” is fantastic. Very riveting, impactful and inspiring without being melodramatic, IMO.

    Some people like melodramatic; I just prefer my movies to lay it out there without being overtly emotionally manipulative, that’s all. YMMV

    I’m glad the movie seems to be popular for Carrie’s sake and it looks like the Christian angle will garner a continuing audience even after it is out of theatres.