Evangelical Christians may not have fully gotten what they might have wanted in the midterm elections, but they have proven their power at the movie theater box office this month.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ-based series, “The Chosen,” has been pleasing multitudes through their much-shared app for two seasons now. But for the 3rd season, the brains behind the crowdfunded series decided to take a calculated risk. And like the miracles in the series, it has astonished the crowds and paid off massively.
Instead of debuting the next season in the same way the first two seasons were, they packaged together the first two episodes and showed them in more than two thousand theaters across the United States. The result, based on box office receipts for November 20, is a second-place finish.
According to “The Numbers,” a website that tracks raw box office information, “The Chosen” grossed $2,193,385 on Sunday, coming right behind the Disney sure thing, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” It did better than “The Menu” which is getting its share of Oscar buzz and played in one thousand more theaters.
This isn’t the first time the staunchly Christian series has surprised many with its box office results. According to The Daily Wire, “Christmas with Chosen: The Messengers,” opened last year at this time with $4.2 million for its opening weekend. It got to number 4 in box office ticket sales. The total amount earned by the Christmas film was $13.7 million, making it the best-selling Fathom Event of all time.
Dallas Jenkins, the son of Left Behind co-author Jerry Jenkins, gets credit for much of “The Chosen’s” success. He is involved in every aspect of making the final product, including writing and shooting the movies, to marketing them as well.
What remains to be seen is whether Hollywood is taking notice. If they don’t notice, it’s not because Chosen’s crew did not market the series well. There is a wide variety of books, hoodies, and t-shirts available. They have great catchphrases like “Come and See,” and “Binge Jesus” on them. The fans of the show have become walking advertisements.
Some fans were not so happy that the first two episodes of the show’s 3rd season would only be shown in movie theaters. Jonathan Roomie, the actor who portrays Jesus, spoke to the fan’s concerns:
“There’s so much visual detail that is lost in small-screen format. I think it’s what the show deserves,” said Roumie. “I think it’s just going to look stunning. So I’m really, really excited to see it in theater, and I think it will attract more attention to the series, and by proxy, to Jesus and his story. At the end of the day, that’s my personal goal, to get more people familiar with who Christ was, what he stood for and what he meant to the world.”
The creators know that the series has been crowdfunded by the audience and that it is billed as a streamed series, so it probably won’t be too long before it will be available to watch in homes across the country. And according to the executive producer, Derral Eves, the series may be coming to Netflix, a platform that could use good faith-based programming.
Eves recently told the press, “We want the world to see ‘The Chosen’ and working with partners like Netflix is going get us out to a lot more people. I would love a billion people to see the show and have it impact people in and around the world.”
There’s no doubt about the success of “The Chosen,” but there are questions about whether or not Hollywood has received the message as good news. Will the aging movie capital change some of its focus, or will Christians and conservatives move beyond tinsel town and create its own foundation?