Louisville backed Christian movie exceeds expectations

Back in 2001, Mercy Me released the song “I Can Only Imagine.” It’s the story of lead singer...
Back in 2001, Mercy Me released the song “I Can Only Imagine.” It’s the story of lead singer Bart Millard’s relationship with his father. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Published: Apr. 14, 2018 at 2:39 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2018 at 9:16 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - They couldn't have imagined this. The backers of the movie "I Can Only Imagine" hoped the Christian based film would succeed at the box office. It had some distinct differences with other Christian films that didn't sell many tickets.

The movie wove a message of faith through a powerful story of a father-son relationship but didn't make faith the overwhelming part of the script. It also had a well-known actor in Dennis Quaid and had maybe the most popular contemporary Christian song behind it, I Can Only Imagine.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Louisville producer first backed box office smash

That song was written by Bart Millard of the band MercyMe and topped the charts seventeen years ago. Millard wrote the song about what heaven might be like after his father turned to God after abusing Bart for many years, then passed from a terminal illness.

The movie opened to about $17 million at the box office on opening weekend. That spurred the hope of initial investor and the executive producer of the movie Tony Young of Louisville. Initially, Young hoped the movie might reach sixty million dollars in theater revenue but by the end of this week, it topped seventy million.

Young is the President of City on a Hill in Louisville, which will use the message of the movie to put together a Bible study series for churches all over the country. They will also help set up showings of the movie at various churches.

The success of I Can Only Imagine will spur the funding of more Christian based movies that, Young hopes, use the same formula to fill the seats at theaters across the nation.

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