Kirk Cameron's latest independently financed faith-based film, Unstoppable -- which ran on 700 screens Tuesday as part of a one-night live event -- has grossed over $2 million from approximately 150,000 ticket sales, according to Rentrak. By comparison, the Hugh Jackman-Jake Gyllenhaal drama Prisoners pulled in $2.2 million on 3,260 screens in the same time frame.
That makes Unstoppable the most successful event in the history of NCM Fathom Events, the Colorado-based entertainment company founded in 2002 that broadcasts live simulcasts of everything from Metropolitan Opera performances to Rolling Stones concerts to big-name boxing matches in movie theaters around the country.
"We were hoping for good numbers but weren't expecting this to be quite so exciting," Cameron tells The Hollywood Reporter. "This is great."
Says Dan Diamond, senior vice president of Fathom, "We're thrilled with what we've seen with Unstoppable. It's actually the second event we've done with Kirk. We've done several events with Glenn Beck, and one with Bill O'Reilly. We try to present something for everyone."
By comparison, the recent Floyd Mayweather - Canelo Alvarez bout sold 75,000 simulcast tickets for Fathom, and some Met operas, like a recent broadcast of Carmen, grossed close to $2 million but at a higher price point. (Cameron charges $12.50 per ticket, the Met charges $22.) Cameron's last experiment with the format -- his 2012 documentary Monumental: In Search of America's National Treasure -- was a strong performer as well, grossing $1.23 million from over 100,000 attendees.
Billed as a "live event" rather than just a movie, Tuesday's screening also included a satellite linkup to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., where Cameron presented the film before a sold-out audience of 10,000, introduced several musical performances and moderated a question-and-answer session with invited guests.
Calling it his "most personal" project to date, Unstoppable features the divisive Growing Pains star -- whose career path has led him away from mainstream Hollywood and towards evangelical projects -- examining issues of faith in the face of tragedy. The film, which was inspired by the death of a teenaged friend, will screen again on theaters nationwide on Thurs., Oct. 3.
Cameron's 2008 film Fireproof, produced by Sherwood Pictures, was a surprise hit at the box office, made for just $500,000 but grossing $34 million. Cameron tells THR he took no fee for the performance and earned no share of the profits.
The actor is currently at work on a scripted feature about a Little League Baseball team produced by his Los Angeles-based CamFam Studios.