New Line Home Entertainment, responsible for blockbusters such as The Lord of the Rings, is releasing one of 2006's most acclaimed faith-based movies - The Nativity Story - to DVD on Tuesday, Mar. 20.
The movie, which tells the story of Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus, comes out weeks before Easter. It is one of the few explicitly religious movies that has been released by a mainstream company in the past years.
The timing of the release is purposeful with New Line trying to draw in viewers who are becoming more mindful as Easter approaches on Apr. 8. While the film portrays the birth of Christ, Christians will be reflecting on his death and resurrection.
According to the filmmakers, the production was meant to be as historically and religiously accurate as possible.
"We got the script into the hands of as many historians and theologians as possible," explained Mike Rich, the screenwriter of The Nativity Story, on the film's website. "They have all helped elevate the authentic feel of this film, not only visually, but from a standpoint of culture and tradition."
The movie has received high box office results with over $37.6 million, numerous awards and positive reviews from various critics.
In its debut week, it came in at No. 4 at the box office, raking in nearly $8 million in sales. Awards and honors include the John Templeton Foundation Epiphany Prize for "Most Inspiring Movie Of 2006" and No. 1 ranking as the "Most Redeeming Film of 2006" by Christianity Today magazine.
"This is truly the original love story," reviewed Edwin L. Carpenter from The Dove Foundation. "God's love for mankind is revealed in this spectacular film!"
The Nativity Story stars an international cast with Australian Academy Award-nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) as Mary, Guatamalan-American actor Oscar Isaac (Guerrilla) playing Joseph, and Iranian-born Academy Award-nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (House of Sand and Fog) co-starring as Elizabeth, cousin to Mary.
The film is the only movie to ever premiere at the Vatican.