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Soul Surfer Box Office: Christian Drama Unlikely to Break Even

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Soul Surfer movie AnnaSophia RobbSoul Surfer movie with AnnaSophia Robb: Real-life-based, “inspirational” Christian drama will have a hard time recovering its modest budget at the box office.
  • Soul Surfer box office: Despite its relatively low budget, Sean McNamara’s real-life-based “inspirational” drama will likely be unable to recover its production cost in the domestic market. Worse yet, international prospects are all but nil. AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid, and Helen Hunt star.

Soul Surfer box office: Starring AnnaSophia Robb, real-life-based, ‘inspirational’ Christian drama not to become another The Blind Side – not even a modest one

Ramon Novarro Beyond Paradise

April 8–10 weekend box office (cont.): Trailing three one-word-titled movies – Universal Pictures’ live-action/animation hit Hop, Focus Features’ female-centered thriller Hanna, and Warner Bros.’ flop remake Arthur – TriStar/Sony Pictures’ Christian-geared “triumph over adversity” drama Soul Surfer pulled in a barely acceptable $10.6 million from 2,214 North American (U.S. and Canada only) theaters according to final studio figures found at

But wouldn’t its opening-weekend gross be an indication that Soul Surfer is a downright flop in the making?

Not necessarily. For a movie that features no box office names, that received mostly negative reviews (38 percent approval rating among Rotten Tomatoes’ “top critics”), and that reportedly cost a modest $18 million (as always, not including marketing and distribution expenses), $10.6 million (per-theater average: $4,788) is an acceptable – well, barely – figure.

The Grace Card & The Blind Side

For comparison’s sake: In terms of budget and star appeal, Soul Surfer could be placed more or less between two extremes, Samuel Goldwyn’s David G. Evans-directed The Grace Card (budget: $450,000; no stars) and Warner Bros.’ John Lee Hancock-directed The Blind Side (budget: $29 million; starring eventual Best Actress Oscar winner and Top Box Office Draw Sandra Bullock).

Released this past February, The Grace Card, which targeted Evangelicals, ended its domestic run with a measly $2.4 million. Released in late November 2009, The Blind Side, whose appeal – like that of Soul Surfer – was aimed at a broader audience, became that year’s second-biggest sleeper blockbuster, grossing $34.1 million on its opening weekend alone.

Soul Surfer will likely end its run with an amount not that much higher than what The Blind Side raked in on its first three days out.

Soul Surfer movie cast

Directed by Sean McNamara, who also co-adapted Bethany Hamilton’s 2004 autobiography Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board, Soul Surfer stars AnnaSophia Robb as the titular character, who loses an arm in a shark attack off the coast of Kauai.

Also in the cast: Oscar winner Helen Hunt (As Good as It Gets, 1997) and Dennis Quaid as the young surfer’s parents, and Lorraine Nicholson as her best friend, in addition to Chris Brochu, Ross Thomas, Peter Pan star Jeremy Sumpter, and veteran Craig T. Nelson (Poltergeist, The Killing Fields).

Passable domestic but dismal international performance

Update: Sean McNamara’s Soul Surfer ultimately collected $43.8 million domestically and, as to be expected for a movie with no stars and a heavy-duty religious message, a dismal $3.3 million (likely incomplete) internationally. Worldwide total: $47.1 million.

That’s a money-losing global cume.

Soul Surfer’s top international markets were Spain ($1.4 million) and Japan ($1.2 million).

Note: Box Office Mojo’s country list for this title is incomplete.

Soul Surfer Box Office: Christian Drama Unlikely to Break Even” notes

Debuting at a lowly no. 6, David Gordon Green’s critically lambasted $50 million spoof Your Highness is about to become one of the year’s biggest duds. James Franco, Danny McBride, and Natalie Portman star.

Unless otherwise noted, “Soul Surfer Box Office: Christian Drama Unlikely to Break Even” box office information via Box Office Mojo. Budget info – which should be taken with a grain of salt – via BOM and/or other sources (e.g., the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Screen Daily, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety,, etc.).

Comments about Soul Surfer and other titles being hits/profitable or flops/money-losers at the box office (see paragraph below) are based on the available data about their production budget, additional marketing and distribution expenses (as a general rule of thumb, around 50 percent of the production cost), and worldwide gross (as a general rule of thumb when it comes to the Hollywood studios, around 50–55 percent of the domestic gross and 40 percent of the international gross goes to the distributing/producing companies).

Bear in mind that data regarding rebates, domestic/international sales/pre-sales, and other credits and/or contractual details that help to alleviate/split production costs and apportion revenues are oftentimes unavailable, and that reported international grosses may be incomplete (i.e., not every territory is fully – or even partially – accounted for).

Also bear in mind that ancillary revenues (domestic/global television rights, home video sales, streaming, merchandising, etc.) can represent anywhere between 40–70 percent of a movie’s total take. However, these revenues and their apportionment are only infrequently made public.

AnnaSophia Robb Soul Surfer movie image: FilmDistrict | TriStar Pictures | Sony Pictures Releasing.

Soul Surfer Box Office: Christian Drama Unlikely to Break Even” last updated in September 2023.

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