'Unbroken' follow-up opens as audience favorite
Audiences rated the movie an A in CinemaScore polling, the highest among new releases on more than 1,500 screens. The top grossing film of the weekend, "The Predator," rated a C-plus in CinemaScore polling and monetarily led a field of 13 new releases.
Billed as the next chapter of the 2014 box office success "Unbroken," the Pure Flix film unfolded World War II hero Louis Zamperini's acceptance of Christ as his savior at a 1949 Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles. Evangelist Will Graham played the role of his grandfather.
"My script was not made up," Will Graham said on NBC's Today Show days before the film's Sept. 14 opening. The message he preached in the movie was "actually the same words. And listen to what (the sermon) was titled, 'Why Does God Allow Communism?' … But it was really dealing with the evil in this world. … Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?"
On a weekend slate of 48 domestic films, "Unbroken: Path to Redemption" ranked ninth, averaging $1,451 per screen in 1,620 theaters, Box Office Mojo said.
"Outside the top five is where we find Pure Flix's 'Unbroken: Path to Redemption,' which fell to the lower end of industry expectations," Box Office Mojo said Sept. 16 of the film it had predicted would gross $5 million in its opening weekend.
The film's predecessor, the 2014 "Unbroken," grossed $30.6 million in its opening four-day weekend in December of that year after opening on Christmas. Angelina Jolie directed the film that focused on Zamperini's struggles as a POW in Japan, but stopped short of telling of his redemption after the war's end.
Will Graham praised the 2014 film, although he considered it decidedly an unfinished story of Zamperini, who died months before Jolie's film was released.
"Angelina Jolie's movie Unbroken … was a great success and we're so thankful," the evangelist said on the Sept. 10 broadcast of Today. "Because it did so well, Universal said, 'Let's now do the second part of it. This part now focuses on his life after the war and how he really … ended up being broken in life."