Article By Josh Berger At BoundingIntoComics.com
Christian film “Father Stu,” based on the true redemption story of Father Stuart Long, hit theatres around the globe last week, and audiences seem to be resonating with its inspiring, hopeful message.
As per review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, the Christian film starring Mark Wahlberg has an Audience Score of 95% with over 1,000 verified ratings and counting. In stark contrast, however, the film’s Tomatometer Score from critics sits at 43%.
On IMDb, the film has weighted average of 7.1 out of 10 from 1,309 IMDb users.
Following the release of “Father Stu,” “The Passion of the Christ” director Mel Gibson, who stars in the film alongside Wahlberg, has attributed the film’s success to it positively resonating with moviegoers, asserting, “People want it, and they respond well to it.”
“You know, I had a pretty big experience with ‘The Passion.’ That was an interesting journey to understand that there’s a real thirst for this kind of content out there,” Gibson told Fox News Digital, coming to the conclusion that “People want it, and they respond well to it. So it’s a privilege to be a part of that delivery.”
“I think ‘Father Stu’ offers that. It’s a little different,” the actor explained, clarifying, “I wouldn’t really call it a faith-based film, but I think it hits all those cravings that the community wants.”
He went on, “But at the same time, it’s not preaching to the choir. It’s got F-bombs, so you do have to weather those things to get to the jewel.”
Father Stu was only shot in 30 days due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, but getting the film made took six “slow years” according to Wahlberg, who self-financed the project with the help of two collaborators.
Wahlberg has also explained that he faced quite the opposition from studios and the Catholic church in his attempts to make Father Stu, mainly because of the usage of profanities; all relevant and necessary to tell Father Long’s journey as faithfully as possible, according to the actor.
Gibson, who also faced some resistance when he made The Passion of the Christ, was not surprised by the opposition Wahlberg had to face during the making of Father Stu.
“I think we’re really fortunate that the material was placed in the hands of a very competent and talented young writer who was able to take the story from the page to the screen,” Gibson asserted.
He added, “I think that’s what makes the difference. It’s about the execution and how it comes to life. You laugh through most of the film until you cry. And the reason you’re laughing and crying is that it’s hitting truth.”
Gibson was also impressed by Mark Wahlberg’s determination to become Father Stu, noting how his co-star was able to gain a noticeable amount of weight to play the inspirational figure the movie is named after.
“I don’t know how [Mark Wahlberg] did it,” Gibson said, admitting, “I don’t have to try to do that. I just have to live normally and I blimp out. But he had to put in some effort. And then he managed to get it all off, which I can’t do no matter what I try. But I’ll ask him for some advice.”
Regarding the real-life Father Stuart Long, Gibson said, “He looked into himself and who he was as a person. He came to accept his mortality and what he could do.”
“You know, we’re all gonna get hit with something, either an illness or just some horrible, unfortunate mishap,” the actor went on. “We’re all going to experience something that’s going to affect us emotionally or physically. So how do you deal with those things? How do you heal? That’s the lesson for me.”
According to The-Numbers, the film earned $5.4 million its opening weekend. The film would earn a total of $7.7 million in its first five days given it opened on Wednesday, April 13th.
That gross lined up with Box Office Pro’s prediction that it would earn between $7 million and $10.5 million in its first five days. They would eventually narrow it down to $6.2 million in the opening weekend and $8.4 million in its first five days.
The film has currently grossed a total of $9.3 million.