Heaven Is for Real is a 2014 American Christian drama film[4] directed by Randall Wallace and written by Wallace and Christopher Parker, based on Pastor Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent's 2010 book of the same name. The film stars Connor Corum, Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Jacob Vargas, and Nancy Sorel. The soundtrack of the film contains Darlene Zschech's song "Heaven in Me".[5] The film was released on April 16, 2014.

The film has received mixed critical reviews, but nevertheless was a box office success, grossing $101 million.


Four-year-old Colton Burpo (Connor Corum) is the son of Todd Burpo (Greg Kinnear), pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, Nebraska. Colton says he experienced Heaven during emergency surgery. He describes to his incredulous family about having looked down to see the doctor operating, his mother calling people to pray in the waiting room, and his father in another room yelling at God not to let him die. He also spoke of meeting his great-grandfather, who died long before he was born, his unborn sister that died in a miscarriage whom no one had told him about, and meeting Jesus, describing his physical appearance.

As Colton continues to speak about his experiences in Heaven, Todd is faced with the dilemma of determining if his son's experience was genuine or a hallucination based on a near-death experience. His wariness about discussing the situation erodes the confidence of the board members of his church, and he is contacted by several members of the media. When Todd is called by a radio station for an impromptu interview on the air, he invites them to attend his sermon the following Sunday. At church, he preaches about his son's experiences and reveals his support for him.

Following the events at the church, Todd is doing research on the internet and finds a story about a Lithuanian girl who had a similar experience. She painted a portrait of Jesus, and Colton stated that her portrait was similar to how Jesus looked when he visited Heaven. Todd tries to speak to Colton further about the picture but he is interrupted by his wife revealing to him that she is pregnant with another child. The movie concludes with photos of Colton and his family in the present day.


Production and development

In May 2011, Sony Pictures acquired the film rights of the book Heaven Is for Real. It was announced that Joe Roth would be producing the film with T.D. Jakes for the TriStar Pictures division of Sony Pictures.[8] On August 23, 2012 Braveheart writer and Secretariat director Randall Wallace signed on to direct.[9]

On March 19, 2013, it was announced that Greg Kinnear was in talks to star, and he later joined the cast.[6] On April 15, 2013, actress Kelly Reilly joined the film.[7]

On July 17, it was reported that composer Nick Glennie-Smith would score the film,[10] and behind the scenes the director of photography was Dean Semler.[2]

Shooting began in the last week of July 2013 in Selkirk, Manitoba.[5]


The film was released on April 16, 2014 and held a 3,048 theater count through its 4th week.[10]


Box office

At the end of box office run, the Heaven Is for Real earned a gross of $91,443,253 in North America and $9,026,536 in other territories for a worldwide total of $100,469,789 against a budget of $12 million.[2]

The film grossed $3.7 million on its opening day. It went on to gross a total of $22.5 million in its opening weekend, playing in 2,417 theaters for a $9,318 per theatre average finishing in second behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The biggest market in the other territories being Mexico, Poland, Colombia where the film grossed $1.9 million, $1.4 million, $1.2 million.[2]

Critical response

Heaven Is for Real received mixed reviews. The film holds a 46% "rotten" rating on the film aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 80 reviews, with an average score of 5.4/10. The site's consensus states, "Heaven Is for Real boasts a well-written screenplay and a talented cast, but overextends itself with heavy-handed sequences depicting concepts it could have trusted the audience to take on faith."[2] On another website, Metacritic, it has a 47/100 score (indicating "mixed or average"), based on reviews from 27 critics.[2]

In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[2]

Jeb Lund, a columnist for The Guardian,[2] expressed skepticism about the depiction of the story in the film. The red markers which Colton Burpo claims Jesus had on his hands and feet are well known. The boy could have easily guessed his minister father would have been praying or nursing staff could have told him. When Colton remembered things his parents claimed they had not told him, other people may have told Colton or his parents and may have forgotten. Also, young children sometimes have trouble telling dreams from reality and can be coached.[2]


List of awards and nominations[2]
2014 Teen Choice AwardsChoice Movie: DramaHeaven is for RealNominated
41st People's Choice AwardsFavorite Dramatic MovieHeaven is for RealNominated