If you were asked to rattle off 10 popular Christmas films, it’d probably be a no-brainer. But what do you watch on Easter? With the weekend of pastel prints and honey-glazed ham lying just around the corner, the Christian film genre is gaining two major movies with timely releases: Mary Magdalene on April 12 and Breakthrough on April 17. But in case you need more films to fit the occasion, here’s a handy list of the 10 highest-grossing (domestically) Christian movies.
10. The Star (2017) — $40,852,824
If you grew up watching VeggieTales, then you’ve seen your fair share of whimsical animated nativity scenes, but The Star is a fresh take on the story of the first Christmas. The film follows the “unlikely heroes behind the greatest story never told” with a star-studded cast: a donkey named Bo (Steven Yeun), a dove named Dave (Keegan-Michael Key), a sheep named Ruth (Aidy Bryant), and a trio of kooky camels named Felix (Tracy Morgan), Cyrus (Tyler Perry) and Deborah (Oprah Winfrey). The animal antics ensue as Bo’s subplot as an escapee donkey intertwines with the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Nazareth for the birth of Jesus.
9. Soul Surfer (2011) — $43,853,424
Soul Surfer depicts the real-life story of professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her left arm in a shark attack at age 13. The Carrie Diaries star AnnaSophia Robb portrays the young woman as she leans on her faith to fuel a full recovery and return to a promising surfing career. Hamilton is also supported by her father (Dennis Quaid) and mentor Sarah Hill (Carrie Underwood) during the moving journey that changed the trajectory of her life and shaped the woman she is today.
8. The Shack (2017) — $57,386,418
A cinematic adaptation of the 2007 best-selling novel by Canadian author William P. Young, The Shack centers on Mack (Sam Worthington), a devoted father of five, four years after the abduction and murder of his youngest daughter, Missy. Mack learns of Missy’s death after being summoned to a shack by a letter from “Papa” (Octavia Spencer). Mack spends a weekend in the shack engaging in deep conversations with the physical manifestations of the Holy Trinity. Let’s just say you may need a box of tissues for this one.
7. Son of God (2014) — $59,700,064
Son of God is an adaptation of the History Channel’s 10-hour mini-series The Bible (2013) that follows the gospel through the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus (Diogo Morgado). The story is told by John, the last living disciple of Christ, as he lives out the rest of his days in exile. The film begins as Jesus arrives in Galilee to begin preaching, and features several moments that mirror The Passion of the Christ, but a little less bloody and brutal.
6. God’s Not Dead (2014) — $60,755,732
God’s Not Dead begins when staunch atheist Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo) challenges his unwavering Christian college student Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) after the freshman refuses to submit a signed statement saying “God is dead” in his philosophy class. Based on Rice Broocks’ 2013 book God’s Not Dead: Evidence for God in an Age of Uncertainty, the film follows the duo’s series of rousing debates in which the entire class acts as jury, and their individual internal struggles that impact their personal lives.
5. Miracles From Heaven (2016) — $61,705,123
Jennifer Garner headlines Miracles From Heaven (also starring Queen Latifah), based on the miraculous true story of Christy Beam and her 10-year-old daughter Anna. Diagnosed with a debilitating stomach illness that she struggled with for years, Anna found herself cured with no medical explanation following an accident that left her unscathed.
4. War Room (2015) — $67,790,117
War Room, not to be confused with the Bill Clinton campaign documentary The War Room, features a mostly unknown cast, and follows a troubled married couple who strive to turn their lives around through faith and prayer.
3. I Can Only Imagine (2018) — $83,482,352
I Can Only Imagine tells the story of Bart Millard (J. Michael Finley), the lead singer of Christian band MercyMe. Millard overcomes personal and professional struggles, including an abusive father (Quaid again), to eventually produce the eponymous song, which remains the best-selling Christian single of all time. The film also stands as the fourth highest-grossing music biopic in the U.S., behind only Walk the Line, Straight Outta Compton, and the juggernaut Bohemian Rhapsody.
2. Heaven Is for Real (2014) — $91,443,253
Based on the best-selling book, itself based on yet another true story, Heaven Is for Real details the experience of Pastor Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear), whose 3-year-old son Colton said he visited Heaven and met Jesus while undergoing surgery. Afterwards, Colton spoke of people and events he never knew about, including a miscarried sister and his great-grandfather, who died before Colton was born. The film follows this episode and its aftermath, in which Pastor Burpo struggles to come to terms with his son’s experience.
1. The Passion of the Christ (2004) — $370,782,930
Yep, it’s still number one. Mel Gibson’s hyper-bloody, hyper-hyper-controversial depiction of Jesus’ (Jim Caviezel) final hours remains the highest-grossing Christian and R-rated film domestically. (Deadpool surpassed it worldwide in the latter category.) But Passion may be overtaken in due time: A sequel is currently in the works, with Gibson and Caviezel both set to return.