The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis, who converted from atheism to Christianity, grossed $1.2 million on Nov. 3 at special showings in more than 400 theaters across North America and its strong start has extended its release.
Spanning Lewis' bitter childhood, WWI and his life-changing friendships at Oxford University, The Most Reluctant Convert depicts the events that shaped Lewis' early life and journey from hard-boiled atheism to prolific Christianity, says IMDB.
The biopic is directed by Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker Norman Stone.
It traces the spiritual journey of renowned author of The Chronicles of Narnia, whose books have sold nearly a quarter of a billion copies worldwide, The Deadline reported.
The movie originally was scheduled to be in theaters for one night only (November 3) but will now play in theaters through November 18 due to its strong debut.
"An elder C.S. Lewis looks back on his remarkable journey from hard-boiled atheist to the most renowned Christian writer of the past century," the CS Lewis movie synopsis said.
"The Most Reluctant Convert features award-winning actor Max McLean as the older Lewis and Nicholas Ralph – breakout star of PBS Masterpiece's All Creatures Great and Small – as young Lewis," says the synopsis.
It was filmed around Oxford, England and the biopic follows Lewis from the tragic death of his mother when he was just aged nine, through his strained relationship with his father, to the nightmare of the trenches of World War I to Oxford University, "where friends like J.R.R. Tolkien challenge his unbelief."
Written for the screen and directed by two-time Emmy and BAFTA winner Norman Stone (BBC's Shadowlands), The Most Reluctant Convert brings to life the spiritual evolution of one the 20th century's sharpest minds and keenest wits.
The movie's first night takings placed it second behind Dune, according to Trafalgar Releasing, the distributor. It finished first in per-theater average.
"When we began working on our distribution of the film, we had a handful of theatres, mostly in major markets, with one showing on one day on November 3," McLean said in a press release.
"I am grateful to the tens of thousands of people who came out to fill theaters in almost every major city throughout the country, which has allowed the run to extend for this very important film!"
Michael Major wrote in Broadway World, "The Most Reluctant Convert is a ringside seat to the story of one of the 20th century's great thinkers, as he battles with himself and ultimately finds faith.
"From bookish boy to young professor, Lewis' spiritual journey moves from indifferent child to rationalistic teen and atheist, to a dabbler in the occult, to a weakened atheist, to a believer in the transcendent, to aloof theist, and, finally, to reluctant Christian," wrote Mark Legg in Denison Forum.
DRAGGING HIS FEET
"In each step in the process toward Christ, Lewis dragged his feet, putting up his best fight against God's draw on his life."
Michael Foust in Crosswalk.com describes The Most Reluctant Convert as an inspiring tale about an atheist consumed by intellect.
"He believed Christianity was one 'mythology among many' – became the greatest defender of the faith of the 21st century," wrote Foust. "Lewis was drawn by the Holy Spirit, yes, but God used friends and intellectual giants alike to persuade him – with Lewis kicking and screaming each step of the way."
"Doubts about his atheism were sparked when a college friend, Owen Barfield, switched from materialism to theism. Lewis tried talking 'sense' into his friend, but to no avail," noted Foust.
"Lewis was further impacted by such Christian authors as George MacDonald and G. K. Chesterton – men who wrote honestly about the "roughness and density of life" that, Lewis said, secular-minded authors lacked."
Foust says. "Like Ebenezer Scrooge traveling back in time to see his early life, the middle-aged Lewis travels back in time to his childhood, teen and young adult years, where he walks the same streets and visits the same houses and classrooms of his younger self – oftentimes mere feet away from the younger Lewis."