The character of Nathan Hayes, played by Ken Bevel, leads his family in a Bible study during a scene in the film “Courageous.”
ALBANY -- The people with Sherwood Pictures are ecstatic.
They have good reason to be.
"Courageous" was the No. 4 movie in the country three days following its Friday release, and was holding the No. 5 spot Tuesday on boxofficemojo.com based on data from Monday's totals. It was the top new movie of the weekend.
Sherwood Baptist Church officials, however, say they don't like to measure its success based on dollar amounts. "We feel great," Ken Bevel, a senior associate pastor who also starred in the film, said of the response to the movie. "We have seen lives changed already.
"That's what we see as a success. If you look at the stats, there are (millions) of children that live in a home where there is no father. If we can have an impact on that ..."
More than 1 million people saw the film over the weekend. During opening weekend, it made $9 million -- $2.2 million more than its predecessor, "Fireproof," did when it opened. The total box office earnings through Monday were at $9.6 million.
People who have been moved as a result of "Courageous" was what Sherwood officials were hoping for going in, Bevel said.
It also appears to have helped bring unity toward achieving a greater purpose.
"(Being a part of the film's production) was incredible," Bevel said. "You can look at movie sets and see that a film generally revolves around one character. This film wasn't like that.
"There were 1,600 volunteers involved with this production. We don't see this as a Sherwood effort. It's a Sherwood, greater Albany effort. The whole experience was great."
When asked about the possibility of a fifth film, Bevel said that there is nothing in the works yet -- but didn't rule out the possibility.
"After a film, we go through the process of re-connecting with our families, then afterward, our executive pastor, (Associate Pastor) Alex (Kendrick) and (Senior Associate Pastor) Stephen (Kendrick) pray and ask God if he wants us to do another movie," Bevel said. "Then, we ask what the topic should be.
"That process has not started yet."
The story of "Courageous" centers on law enforcement officers Adam Mitchell, Nathan Hayes -- the character portrayed by Bevel -- David Thomson and Shane Fuller. They give their best on the job, but have a difficult time meeting the ideal standard as fathers.
When tragedy hits one of them, these men resolve to be better fathers.
The per-theater average box office for the film was $7,806 from Friday through Sunday. The movie, which cost roughly $2 million to produce, has been playing in 1,161 theaters.
It made $3.1 million on opening day, $3.2 million on Saturday and $2.7 million on Sunday. Through that timeframe, the per-theater average ranged from $2,331-$2,795 each day.
Eighty-five percent of Box Office Mojo readers have given the film a grade of "A."
Meanwhile, Facebook fans are counting more on the "Courageous" fan page, as the "likes" have leapt in a few days from 224,000 to more than 250,000.
"We can't take all the credit," Bevel said. "It's a success for all of us. If men get the message, we will see effects go down.
"We are praying that, through this, we will have a better community."
One early review on the film before the final weekend tally appeared in "Variety" on Saturday.
"Time and again, the pic effectively emphasizes how the deputies are reminded on a daily basis what eventually can happen to at-risk children who don't have fathers involved in their lives," an excerpt from the review reads. "Little wonder, then, that they're moved to ask God's help to hone their own paternal skills."
The film is rated PG-13. It is the fourth release by Sherwood. The third movie, "Fireproof," went on to gross just over $33 million after being released in 2008.