The brains behind the crowdfunded, Gospel-based series, “The Chosen,” took a calculated risk that has paid off in a big way. Instead of debuting Season 3 in their app, they packaged together the first two episodes and showed them in more than two thousand theaters across the United States. The result, based off box office receipts for November 20, is an amazing second-place finish.
According to the website The Numbers, which tracks raw box office data, “The Chosen” grossed $2,193,385 on Sunday, coming in second only to the Disney-backed blockbuster, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and edging out Oscar buzzy, “The Menu,” which played in an additional one thousand theaters.
It’s not the first dent the unapologetically Christian series has made in the mostly-secular box office, according to The Daily Wire:
Last year, its “Christmas with Chosen: The Messengers” opened with $4.2 million on opening weekend and reached number four overall. In total, the launch earned $13.7 million, making it the top-selling Fathom Event of all time.
Much of the show’s success is down to its tireless creator, director, and executive producer, Dallas Jenkins (son of Left Behind co-author, Jerry Jenkins). Jenkins is involved in every aspect of the show, from the writing to the shooting to the marketing. It’s the marketing where the show really distinguishes itself, with a wide variety of books, hoodies, and t-shirts available in the show’s distinctive teal and black fish motif. With phrases like “Come and See” and “Binge Jesus” emblazoned on their apparel, Jenkins and his partners at Angel Studios have made their legions of fans into an army of walking billboards
Some fans, however, were disappointed to hear the first two shows of the third season (and its much-anticipated Sermon on the Mount episode) would be shown only in theaters. Actor Jonathan Roumie, who portrays Jesus in the show, addressed their 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.”
Because the show is largely funded by the audience and is billed as a streaming series, it’s very likely episodes one and two will be available soon for home watching. And, according to Derral Eves, an executive producer of the show, it may be coming soon to Netflix, a streaming platform in need of some faith-based programming. “ Eves told Deseret News, “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.”
“The Chosen” certainly made an impact at the box office this weekend, but the question remaining is will its success with moviegoers send a message to Hollywood? More than likely, Tinsel Town will continue to wither on the vine, too deep in its own depravity to save itself, and Christians and conservatives will move ahead, as they do, and build their own, alternate entertainment pipeline.
You can watch “The Chosen’s” Season 3 trailer here: