'Amazing Grace' has strong opening weekend

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--"Amazing Grace," the movie about British abolitionist William Wilberforce, had a strong opening weekend, finishing third among the top 20 movies on a per-theater average.

The movie, rated PG (mild language, thematic elements involving slavery), finished with a weekend gross of $4,054,542, which ranked it 10th among all movies. But it opened in only 791 theaters. Most of the other top 10 movies were shown in 2,000-3,000 theaters.

Amazing Grace's per-theater average total of $5,125 ranked third to "Ghost Rider," which averaged $5,543 and opened in 3,620 theaters, and the "The Number 23," which averaged $5,292 and opened in 2,759 theaters, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com.

The movie's success could mean a broader distribution in coming weeks.

"Amazing Grace" is the story of Wilberforce, a devout Christian and a member of the British Parliament who, beginning around 1787, began fighting to abolish the slave trade within the British empire. He failed year after year before, finally, in 1807 -- 200 years ago -- his bill became law, abolishing an evil that had resulted in the enslavement and death of millions of Africans. He was good friends with John Newton, the author of the hymn "Amazing Grace." The movie spotlights their friendship.


Compiled by Michael Foust

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