4. God’s Not Dead 2 – $20 million
Where did 2/3 of the audience go for God’s Not Dead 2? After the enormous success of God’s Not Dead in 2014, the faith-based audience was hitting a major high. 2014 saw huge turnouts for Son of God and Heaven is for Real, but it was God’s Not Dead that really turned heads when it earned $60.7 million off a $2 million budget.
The sequel seemed like a sure thing, but the majority of the intended audience stayed away this year and instead opted to turn Miracles From Heaven into the sizable hit that God’s Not Dead 2 was clearly looking to be. The sequel earned only $20 million in total at the box office, despite major satisfaction with the first film, and even a similar liking to the second film. Critics hated both. The sequel was still profitable, as the budget doubled to a still-thin $5 million.
But this was clearly a case where audiences got what they wanted out of the premise the first time around, and largely stayed away for the second. The other issue could have been awareness. The first film was innovative with its premise and slowly expanded into theaters, and thus was largely sold on word-of-mouth. The sequel went wide right away, but to an even lower opening weekend than its limited release predecessor.
The performance will likely result in scattered hope for a trilogy capper.