Look Who’s Turning Hollywood Upside Down

After partially recovering from a disastrous summer with a record-setting September (mostly thanks to Stephen King’s “It”), the box office is slumping again. Returns for this October mark the worst in a decade.

Yet there are a few success stories to come out of the month. One is the independently produced “Let There Be Light,” directed by and starring “Hercules” star Kevin Sorbo.

The film was released in 300-plus theaters over the weekend and faced what would normally be considered stiff competition. There was the new installment to the “Saw” franchise, “Jigsaw,” plus a film debuting from George Clooney and Matt Damon, called “Suburbicon.”

Both of those features were released by major studios and had extensive advertising budgets behind them. Both also opened well below expectations.

"Let There Be Light," a faith-based film produced by Sean Hannity of Fox News, was advertised mostly independently. It opened with $1.9 million (covering more than half the production budget) and had the second highest per-screen average for the weekend.

Meanwhile, "Suburbicon" is a $25 million motion picture that opened to only $2.8 million. It was released in over five times as many theaters as Sorbo's film.

Related: Kevin Sorbo on Modern Hollywood and Teaming with Hannity

The success of "Let There Be Light" at the box office is big news. There's now an established road to success for independently produced features that appeal to right-of-center and Middle America audiences.

"Let There Be Light" isn't the first faith-based movie to be a success, of course, but it does come at a defining moment for Hollywood and the box office. People are voting with their wallets more than ever right now and rejecting films with heavy special effects, such as "Geostorm," franchise reboots like "Blade Runner," and aggressively political features such as  "Suburbicon" and "Mother!"

Related: Exclusive: Sorbo: 'I'm Hoping Faith Will Find Its Way to Hollywood'

Sorbo announced through social media that 200 more theaters will be showing "Let There Be Light" over the course of the next week.

While the rest of Hollywood is collectively scratching their heads as they look at box-office returns, Sorbo and Hollywood newcomer Hannity are pocketing a big win. They are clearly speaking to a portion of America that has long felt alienated from much of Hollywood's mainstream content.

(photo credit, homepage images: Sean Hannity, Cut Out, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)

Last Modified: October 31, 2017, 10:35 am

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