Moses and the 10 Commandments

Feature adaptation of Brazil's biblical telenovela scores $6.1 million, the biggest local bow in two years

Premiering on Jan. 28, Brazilian biblical epic “Moses and the 10 Commandments,” the first theatrical film produced by broadcaster TV Record, scored R$24.1 million ($6.1 million) at Brazil’s box office, marking the biggest four-day weekend bow for a local pic in almost two years.

Bowing on 1,162 screens, and released by Brazilian distributors Downtown Filmes and Paris Filmes, “Moses” snagged 2.1 million admissions, with a strong average of 1,838 tickets per screen, according to Filme B, Brazil’s leading source of film statistical analysis.

The film accounted for 53% of total B.O., dislodging from no. 1 Sony’s “The 5th Wave,” who made $1.08 million in its second weekend and has cumed $3.6 million to date.

In absolute terms, “Moses” represents the fifth best opening since March 2014 – when Brazil moved films’ release day to Thursdays – in a ranking led by Disney’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron” ($12.6 million) and UPI’s “Furious 7” ($11.9 million).

The standout “Moses” results, however, are still far from those from Brazilian 2010’s smash hit “Elite Squad 2,” which snagged a $7.9 million record in its first weekend.

The feature film adaptation of the same-titled original hit telenovela (pictured), that boards the liberation of the Hebrew people from Egyptian bondage by Moses, pre-sold 2.4 million tickets by Jan. 28, in “an unprecedented milestone in the history of national cinema,” TV Record said in a statement.

“I think ‘The 10 Commandments’ is a phenomenon, a by-product of a TV series produced by TV Record channel whose owner is an Evangelical Church,” said Filme B director Paulo Sergio Almeida.

He added: “They have been promoting ticket purchase initiatives, but it is difficult to measure the range it may achieve. We can say that this specific audience is not the standard moviegoer. However, the film can reach at least four million admissions.”

“Moses” represents the entry into film by broadcasting group TV Record, who has launched production label Record Filmes, following in the footsteps of leading Brazilian leading conglom TV Globo, which already successfully operates shingle Globo Filmes.

Per Filme B, Record Filmes’ upcoming film projects include “O Bispo,” a biopic on TV Record owner, Brazilian bishop Edir Macedo, to be directed by Alexandre Avancini, the “Moses” feature helmer.

“Religious productions may take a new audience to the cinema and increase the share of Brazilian films at a moment when economic crisis is starting to affect the cinema,” Almeida said.

This phenomenon has already occurred in the recent past,  and once more with films involving the Catholic Church, such as 2003’s “Maria A mae do filho de Deus,” which sold 2.3 million tickets, and spiritualist titles as “Nosso Lar” (4 million) and “Chico Xavier” (3.4 million) both in 2010, but not with the strength of ‘Moses,’ Almeida added.

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