Few movies have been able to take over an entire multiplex --- every screen, every seat --- with the exception of blockbusters like “Hunger Games.”
On Feb. 27, however, the new religious film “Son of God” is taking over several multiplexes in at least 10 cities nationwide, the day before it debuts on 3,000 screens.
“It’s very interesting to see this level of excitement around the movie,” stated James Meredith, vice president and head of marketing & communications for Cinemark Theatres. “We’ve already scheduled a few large-scale theatre buyouts for ‘Son of God’ in theatres across the country. The interest level for meetings, events, screenings and buyouts seems to be on par with that of major blockbuster, tentpole or franchise movies.”
Crossroads Church in Cincinnati is bringing thousands of people to their local Cinemark on Feb. 27, where “Son of God” will be showing on 13 screens at the same time. “We’re inviting everyone to experience this historic film about the life of Jesus,” said Brian Wells from Crossroads. “Our church bought out every screen in the theater. If anyone comes to the theater to see another movie that night, they’ll be out of luck, unless we have a few extra tickets to give them!”
Mega-church pastor Rick Warren, is buying out screens in eight different theaters throughout Orange County. “I’ve seen most of the films about Jesus produced in the past 50 years, and ‘Son of God’ is the best,” Warren said. “We’re excited Jesus is back on the big screen, and we’re going to fill the theaters. I want every other faith leader in America to do the same. Whether you can buy out a whole theater, or just one screen, now is the time to show up.”
Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles --- where several dozen screens will show “Son of God” when it opens Feb. 28 --- also praised the film.
“Each one of us is a son or daughter of God,” he noted. “It is a wonderful, awesome reality. ‘Son of God’ is a very important movie because it gives us the opportunity to realize God’s presence in our own lives, and that we are children of God. The film is extraordinary for my ministry.”
Said Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington: “It is a joy to watch this film bring alive the pages of the Gospel and help us see what those who lived at the time of Jesus experienced. I would recommend to individuals, but particularly to families, this wonderful story of the Son of God in order to be inspired all over again with the story of God’s love for us.”
“Son of God” is produced by the wife-husband team of actress Roma Downey, best known for playing an angel on the TV show “Touched by an Angel,” and Mark Burnett, producer of “Survivor,” “The Voice” and “The Apprentice,” among others.
“We’re very excited that the community is mobilizing to support Son of God,” said Downey and Burnett. “The grass roots support is so important and the faith community is amazing when it mobilizes. Our hope is that the story and message of Jesus Christ will reach tens of millions of people nationwide.”
Some pastors will also be buying out movie screens showing “Son of God” in Spanish and Korean.
In addition to pastors doing “Theater Take-Overs,” many others are buying out single screens at their local movie theater. “This is a rare opportunity to bring the story of Christ into our mainstream culture,” said Warren. “We want to see Jesus in movie theaters where sight and sound can open up our senses and let grace come in. The message of the Gospel deserves to be on the big screen --- and this is our chance to see it there.”