NASHVILLE (BP) – “Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers,” a special film-length installment of the popular Christian video series, broke the box office record for a Fathom Event during its theatrical run this December.
The two-hour special was supposed to play in theaters for only two nights from Dec. 1 to Dec 2, but the film did so well theaters approached the filmmakers about adding more showtimes.
Despite showing in only 1,700 theaters, the special finished in the top five in the box office during the weekend of Dec. 3 – 5, and had the highest per-screen average of any movie during the weekend.
After remaining in theaters throughout December, the special has made more than $13 million to date. Media reports say it is the highest-grossing and most-attended Fathom Event of all time. It will remain in theaters until at least Wednesday, Dec. 23, with select theaters having showtimes up until Christmas Eve.
Fathom Events brings specialized films, concerts and screenings to local theatres. According to the company’s website, “Fathom delivers a wide variety of programming and experiences to U.S. and global cinema audiences, and is the largest distributor of documentaries, faith-based and inspirational content.”
The special follows the narrative of the birth of Christ through the eyes of Mary and Joseph, and contains a variety of popular Christian musicians performing Christmas music both new and old from the set of the show.
Performers include For King & Country, Phil Wickham, Matt Maher, One Voice Choir and Maverick City Music.
Although still in theaters, the full project was released during a live-stream event on The Chosen’s YouTube channel on Dec. 12 so it could be viewed by international audiences. The special has over 1 million views to date.
Dallas Jenkins, the series creator and producer, opened and closed the live-stream by thanking fans of the show and making clear that financial success is not the ultimate goal of the show.
“The fact that we’re in the top five in the box office is fun and I was excited to give you that news, but that’s not what motives us and it’s not why we did it,” Jenkins said.
“We have a product that we believe honors God and we believe that it’s going to have an impact for those who see it, and the rest doesn’t matter.”
Jenkins said the team simply tries to make the best product they can and leaves the results up to God.
“As a team, we consciously were saying, ‘no predictions and no projections,’ because we don’t care about that and that’s not the goal,” Jenkins said.
“It’s God’s job to feed the 5,000, we’re just bringing our loaves and fish … But it is also making a statement to Hollywood. It’s proving that people will actually go back to theaters if it’s for the right thing.”
The success and stability of the video series is something of a miracle in itself. The video series is completely crowdfunded, meaning all of the money used to produce the show is raised by fans and supporters.
The show is in the middle of funding its third season. Fundraising efforts for the first two completed seasons of the show exceeded $20 million.
Regardless of the success, Jenkins said the show’s next goal is to expand its international reach. Already translated in over 50 languages, Jenkins explained getting the show to 1 billion people is one of the goals of the production team.
Jenkins said getting the message of Jesus should always be the most important thing, both for the show itself and its supporters.
“I hope that as you finish the Christmas special that it’s not the end game for you,” Jenkins said. “People must know. That is the message of the show and that is the message for the special.”