God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness
|God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Mason|
|Written by||Michael Mason|
|Music by||Pancho Burgos-Goizueta|
|Edited by||Joseph Sandoval|
|Distributed by||Pure Flix Entertainment|
|Box office||$7.3 million|
God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness is a 2018 American Christian drama film written and directed by Michael Mason. It is the third installment of the God's Not Dead series, following the 2014 film God's Not Dead and its 2016 sequel. It stars David A. R. White, John Corbett, Shane Harper, Benjamin Onyango, Ted McGinley, Jennifer Taylor, Tatum O'Neal, Shwayze and Cissy Houston.
Principal photography was completed in Little Rock, Arkansas in December 2017. It was released in the United States on March 30, 2018. Unlike the first two films, A Light in Darkness was a box office bomb, making less in its entire theatrical run ($7.3 million) than the others grossed in their respective domestic opening weekends ($9.7 million and $7.6 million).
After Rev. David Hill is released from prison (as seen in the previous film), controversy is sparked against Dave's St. James Church, which is on college campus grounds. This causes the college to start the process of shutting down the church, much to the dismay of Dave and his partner Jude. When informed of the decision to shut down the church and to replace it with a building to expand the school, Dave and Jude begin the process of suing the college to save St. James. Things get worse when college student Adam Richertson, in protest, tosses a brick into the church, igniting a fire that kills Jude and nearly destroys the church. Dave is forced to come to grips with the loss of these events. Adam is horrified by his actions and contemplates whether to confess to the crime, leading him to reconnect with his skeptical girlfriend, Keaton.
During the lawsuit against the school, Dave seeks the help of his estranged brother, attorney Pearce Hill, who tries to explain to Dave that it is not a case worth fighting for. Dave refuses to listen to his brother's advice and continues the case into court. After failing to reach a settlement with the college, the trial date is set for the lawsuit. At the same time, Adam sends an anonymous text to Dave, confessing to the church fire, causing a furious Dave to assault him when confronting him. This severely wounds his lawsuit's case and leads to Adam being arrested and charged as a felony case.
After seeking God's help in church through prayer, Dave eventually realizes that his case has only made things worse and that St. James is not the right church for God and his followers. He drops his lawsuit, reaches an out-of-court settlement with the college, and after talking with a repentant Adam and consulting with Jude's family, ultimately asks to have the criminal charges against Adam dropped. He then announces to his college protesters that while St. James will be torn down, he will reopen a new church not far from the school for future followers.
- Jennifer Taylor as Meg Harvey
- John Corbett as Pearce Hill
- Tatum O'Neal as Barbara Solomon
- Ted McGinley as Thomas Ellsworth
- Shane Harper as Josh Wheaton
- David A. R. White as Rev. Dave Hill
- Benjamin Onyango as Reverend Jude
- Cissy Houston as lead choir vocalist
- Samantha Boscarino as Keaton
- Mike C. Manning as Adam Richertson
In the United States and Canada, God's Not Dead: A Light in Darkness was released on March 30, 2018, alongside Acrimony and Ready Player One, and was projected to gross $4–6 million from 1,685 theaters in its opening weekend. It ended up debuting to just $2.6 million, finishing 12th at the box office and marking the lowest opening of the series. Deadline Hollywood noted the film suffered from being the third film of a trilogy and also said religious audiences saw the film as "a cash grab and not a movie promoting a Christian message anymore", and were more inclined to go to other faith-based films in theaters like I Can Only Imagine and Paul, Apostle of Christ. It fell 58% in its second weekend to $1.1 million, finishing 17th. By the end of its North American run the film grossed a total of $5.5 million, less than other two films grossed simply in their opening weekends ($9.7 million and $7.6 million, respectively).
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 13% based on 15 reviews, and an average rating of 3.2/10. On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 33 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, though as with the second film, Deadline Hollywood noted that "faith-based films have an easy time gaining an A on CinemaScore".
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