Breakthrough (2019 film)

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Breakthrough film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRoxann Dawson
Produced byDeVon Franklin
Screenplay byGrant Nieporte
Based onThe Impossible
by Joyce Smith with Ginger Kolbaba
Music byMarcelo Zarvos
CinematographyZoran Popovic
Edited byMaysie Hoy
Distributed byWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Release date
  • April 17, 2019 (2019-04-17)
Running time
116 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$4.4 million[2]

Breakthrough is a 2019 American Christian drama film directed by Roxann Dawson and released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through 20th Century Fox. It is written by Grant Nieporte, based on the Christian novel The Impossible, an account of true events written by Joyce Smith with Ginger Kolbaba. The film stars Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Mike Colter, Marcel Ruiz, Sam Trammel, and Dennis Haysbert with a cameo by contemporary Christian artist Phil Wickham. Basketball player Stephen Curry is executive producer.[3]

The film tells the story of a St. Louis teenager who slipped through an icy lake in January 2015 and was underwater for 15 minutes before resuscitative efforts were started. Although being rescued, he is in a coma, and his family must rely on their faith to get through the ordeal.[4][5]

Breakthrough was released in the United States on April 17, 2019 and was the first film from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, following Disney's acquisition of the company.


In early 2015, teenager John Smith fell through ice on Lake Sainte Louise near Lake St. Louis while playing with friends, ending up in a coma after being rescued by first responder Tommy Shine. The film follows his parents Joyce and Brian, whose faith in God keeps their hope alive that John will pull through.


  • Chrissy Metz as Joyce Smith, a highly religious woman, Brian's wife and John's adoptive mother.
  • Josh Lucas as Brian Smith, Joyce's husband and John's adoptive father.
  • Marcel Ruiz as John Smith, a Guatemalan 14-year-old boy who makes a miraculous recovery.
  • Topher Grace as Pastor Jason Noble, the local pastor who tries to connect with the youth.
  • Mike Colter as Tommy Shine, a first responder who had a moment with God to save John.
  • Sam Trammell as Dr. Kent Sutterer
  • Dennis Haysbert as Dr. Garrett
  • Maddy Martin as Abby Sutterer, Dr. Sutterer's daughter and John's love interest.
  • Isaac Kragten as Josh, one of John's friends.
  • Nikolas Dukic as Reiger, one of John's friends.
  • Taylor Mosby as Chayla, one of John's friends.
  • Ali Skovby as Emma, one of John's friends.
  • Chuck Shamata as Fire Chief
  • Nancy Sorel as Mrs. Abbott, the Family History teacher at the Christian middle school John and his friends attend.
  • Lisa Durupt as Paula Noble, Pastor Jason's wife and mother of his son and daughter.
  • Rebecca Staab as Cindy Reiger


Producer DeVon Franklin helped the Smith family find a literary agent and then develop the book in a film after it was published.[6] The movie was shot in Manitoba from March to May 2018.[7][8] Locations for the 31-day shoot included Winnipeg, Selkirk, and Portage la Prairie.[9][10]


An official trailer for the film was released on December 5, 2018 and received more than 30 million views within two days, becoming the most-viewed trailer for a religious film within that timespan.[11]

Metz performed "I'll Stand With You" from the film's soundtrack at the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards alongside Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina, Maddie & Tae and Mickey Guyton.


Breakthrough was released in the United States by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures under the 20th Century Fox banner on April 17, 2019, the same day as Disneynature's Penguins (another film distributed by Disney).[12]


Box office[edit]

As of April 17, 2019, Breakthrough has grossed $1.7 million in the United States and Canada, and $2.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $4.4 million.[2]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Penguins and The Curse of La Llorona, and is projected to gross $13–17 million from 2,300 theaters in its five-day opening weekend.[13] The film made $1.7 million on its first day.[13]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 63% based on 35 reviews, with an average rating of 5.67/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Like its lead character, Breakthrough is fiercely focused on faith -- but its less subtle elements are balanced by strong performances and an uplifting story."[14] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 48 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[15] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[13]


  1. ^ "Breakthrough". AMC Theatres. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Breakthrough (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  3. ^ Borys Kit; Scott Feinberg (2018-10-18). "Stephen Curry to Executive Produce Faith-Based Drama 'Breakthrough' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
  4. ^ "Missouri Teen Submerged in Icy Lake for 15 Minutes Makes 'Miracle' Recovery". NBC News. 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  5. ^ Kay Quinn (2017-10-30). "Miracle on ice becomes a book, movie". KSDK. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  6. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (2017-01-19). "Fox & DeVon Franklin Set Miracle Tale 'The Impossible'". Deadline. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  7. ^ Roxann Dawson [@roxdaws] (2018-05-09). "I am heading home after 4 months in Winnipeg shooting my first feature. Could not be more proud and grateful for the incredible cast and crew" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  8. ^ "Major Movie Shoot (…And Luke Cage) In Winnipeg This Week". Hot 100.5. 2018-04-19.
  9. ^ "Portage is Again Playing Host to Hollywood Cameras". The Portage Citizen. 2018-03-13.
  10. ^ Mickey Dumont (2018-05-06). "Fox Film Crews Return". The Portage Citizen.
  11. ^ Jeannie Law (December 11, 2018). "'Breakthrough' movie trailer breaks record with 30 million views in 48 hours". The Christian Post. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
  12. ^ Shepherd, Josh (2019-03-19). "'Breakthrough' Recounts Boy's Inexplicable Recovery From Drowning". The Federalist. Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  13. ^ a b c Anthony D'Alessandro (April 16, 2019). "Will 'Shazam!' Be Cursed By 'Llorona' Over Easter Weekend? – Box Office Preview". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  14. ^ "Breakthrough (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  15. ^ "Breakthrough reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 17, 2019.

External links[edit]