The fourth season of the faith-based series "The Chosen" debuted in theaters this past weekend and landed the second position at the box office, trailing behind the Universal Pictures/Apple Original Films collaboration, "Argylle."
According to Box Office Pro, the series, which delves into the life of Jesus and His disciples, garnered an impressive $6,035,823 at 2,300 theaters over the weekend. This total does not include an additional $1,433,216 from its Thursday preview, where it topped the box office charts.
To date, "The Chosen" has amassed over 500 million streams, reaching an audience of more than 108 million viewers since its first season's debut. “The Chosen” season 4 (episodes 1-3) hit theaters Feb. 1, with episodes 4-6 playing in theaters Feb. 15 and episodes 7-8 debuting Feb. 29.
Directed by Dallas Jenkins and distributed by Lionsgate, "The Chosen" is the first-ever multi-season show about the life of Jesus Christ and His followers. Set in first century Galilee and Judaea, the series stars Jonathan Roumie, Shahar Isaac, Paras Patel, Elizabeth Tabish and others.
While previous seasons of “The Chosen” have focused on Jesus’ early ministry years and teachings, including some of His most well-known parables and miracles, season 4 depicts the Son of God as a “man of sorrows” and "acquainted with grief" as the story builds toward His crucifixion.
“It’s by far the most intense and mature and challenging season" yet, Roumie told CP, adding: “Not just for me, but I think for everybody on the cast and crew. But I think what we created is going to be pretty beautiful.”
Jenkins, the series' creator, director, and co-writer, launched the penultimate and finale episodes of season 3 in theaters last year, crashing the Fathom Events website as fans rushed to purchase tickets.
A Christmas special, "Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers," and another holiday film, "Christmas with The Chosen: Holy Night," also received the theatrical release treatment.
“In season one, I was coming off of a big career failure,” the 48-year-old director told The Christian Post. “I didn't know what the future was. I didn't care; it was just about, ‘How do I make a good first season that honors God and that is entertaining to watch?’ I have to maintain that today.”
“When I'm sitting in front of a blank screen and the cursor is blinking, it doesn't give a rip how successful or not successful my previous work was,” he said at the red carpet premiere of season 4. “At the end of the day, I’ve still got to get season five going. I’ve still got to focus on the work.”
Jenkins, the son of Left Behind co-author Jerry B. Jenkins, also shared how “The Chosen” has provided an opportunity to immerse himself in Scripture, especially when tasked with portraying Jesus to the world.
“When you're tasked with portraying Jesus to the world in this way, you better get to know Him,” he said. “In the last five years, I've done a deep dive into the Gospels because of two reasons: one, I'm making a show; I need to do it accurately, and two, it's impacting me as well. I'm learning so much about how intimate of a God Jesus is.
You see that in the show; you see that in the Gospels. Whether He was calling you, healing you or rebuking you, He knew your heart's cry. He knew what you were going through. He knew what you needed or what you were resisting. That's still true today. So I'm trying to focus on that even as I'm writing and directing a show.”
Recent years have seen a surge in TV series and movies that draw inspiration from biblical stories.
“I think so many people see Jesus, and even the followers of Jesus, as stained glass windows, statues, something on a page, something on a painting,” Jenkins said of the increasing popularity of such films. “Even when they read the Scriptures, they sometimes have difficulty connecting. I think by making the show, making Jesus and the disciples, reminding people that they were human beings, and saying, ‘Wow, their struggles are our struggles. Their questions were ours. Therefore, the answer can be the same.’ That seems to be what's resonating with people.”
In March, “Forty-Seven Days with Jesus,” an inspirational film retelling the story of Jesus’ final days on Earth and starring “The Chosen” cast members, is slated to hit theaters.
In November, “Journey to Bethlehem,” a live-action musical that was a modern and not biblically accurate retelling of the Nativity, hit theaters, starring Fiona Palomo, Milo Manheim, Antonio Banderas and CCM artists Lecrae, Joel Smallbone and Moriah.
Earlier this month, the filmmakers behind “Jesus Revolution” and “I Can Only Imagine” announced Amazon Prime Video had picked up their latest project, a series following the story of the Old Testament King David and Saul.
Leah M. Klett is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org