Bart Millard sings 'I Can Only Imagine'
Bart Millard sings 'I Can Only Imagine' (MercyMeVevo/YouTube)

I Can Only Imagine shattered box office predictions and stunned critics when it raked in $17 million opening weekend.

"When we first saw this incredibly well-crafted, emotional and moving film, we jumped on the opportunity to work with the Erwins and their team and our partners at Lionsgate on I Can Only Imagine. And we were not disappointed," Roadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen says. "This is Roadside's highest grossing opening ever! With the trifecta of the song's double platinum crossover appeal, the Erwin brothers' success with such films as Moms' Night Out and Woodlawn, plus world-class talent like Dennis Quaid on board, we felt that the film's inspiring story of hope and forgiveness made for a very compelling collaboration. With an A+ Cinemascore, we expect I Can Only Imagine will continue to play solidly through the Easter holiday and well into spring."

Hollywood Reporter claimed the film "vastly overperformed. The movie debuted to $17.1 million from 1,628 cinemas to defeat A Wrinkle in Time and Love, Simon—the first film from a major Hollywood studio featuring a gay teen protagonist—in a surprise upset."

The movie, named after one of the top Christian songs of all time, tells the life story of MercyMe frontman Bart Millard and how his abusive father came to Christ.

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"It was surreal, to say the least, to be approached," Millard tells Billboard of his initial reaction to the film about his life. "I thought it was kind of silly at first that there are parts of [my] life someone thought would make a movie."

He continued: "My dad was a monster and I realized if the gospel could change that dude, the gospel can change anybody. I just want people to not assume their story is over, especially when maybe they have somebody in their life that they've given up on or they think it's hopeless. If you had me list one person that would never ever come to Jesus [it would be] my dad. I was so angry, hurt and scared of this man that I thought there's no chance. To see the transformation that took place in his life to being my best friend and the Godliest man I ever knew, it was nothing short of a miracle. So I just hope people don't give up on people in their lives. As long as we're breathing there's a chance."

Here's what other people are saying about the film:

 

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