Despite reviews claiming the third installment of God’s Not Dead is better than its predecessors, it disappointed at the box office.

The Michael Mason directed third movie in the God’s Not Dead series, unimaginatively titled God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness is a mellowed down version of the strident religiosity of its two predecessors. The story, however, continues to be programmatic and based on presumptions.

According to Forbes, God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness brought in $2.6 million during its Easter weekend box office opening. In comparison, the first movie in 2014 took home over $9 million in its opening weekend and over $60 million since then. God’s Not Dead 2 brought in over $7 million opening weekend and has earned over $20 million to date.

The Light in Darkness installment is produced by Arizona headquartered PureFlix. The same ministry and media giant has also distributed the movie. The film stars David AR White, who is also the co-founder of PureFlix. The story begins from where the previous film ended. White plays Pastor Dave, a good-natured man of God who is arrested for not sharing sermons with the federal government. The recurring theme of fictional Christian persecution is renewed.

The film tries to prove its alleged Christian persecution by depraved secular authorities by putting the church helmed by Pastor Dave in the middle of a state-controlled university campus. The place of worship is thus positioned squarely inside the hot zone of diversity advocates who want to shut down free speech. They are helped by the college board head (the character played by Tatum O’Neal) whose only aim in life is to throw the congregation off the university premises, even as he knows that the church precedes the founding of the university. Minor characters in the film ask vital questions like why Muslims and Jews can voice their opinions known but Christians cannot.

The third film picks up pace when a vandal, who goes by the name of Adam (played by Mike C. Manning) throwing a brick which smashes through a window and causes an explosion in the church. The reason for such vandalism? His girlfriend, the devout and beautiful Keaton (played by Samantha Boscarino), has dumped him for not subscribing to her faith. The movie shows that Adam is blaming the church for his shortcomings. The problem with this portrayal is that this depiction is too much preachy, to put it mildly.

The core of the movie is the tempestuous relationship between Dave and Pearce, his lawyer brother (character depicted by John Corbett). Pearce was a Christian who has lost faith post three bad marriages and one triple bypass surgery. The interactions between the two are the least ham-headed acting in this movie. This film, all in all, breaks a new path compared to the previous two films. The feel-good ending remains the same.

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