Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers has now become Fathom Events' best-selling and most highly attended event in its history.
Scheduled to be screened in 1,700 movie theaters across the country during the first 10 days of December, THE CHOSEN'S depiction of the Christmas story shattered past records for Fathom Events, with sales topping $8 million for 640,000 tickets.
The event also set a Fathom record for fastest out-of-the-gate sales with $1.5 million in its first 12 hours of availability.
The Christmas episode of THE CHOSEN tells the biblical story of the birth of Jesus Christ from the perspectives of Mary and Joseph.
"We don't do this for the numbers, but these records indicate people will indeed go to the theater for a project they're passionate about," said CHOSEN creator, writer, and director Dallas Jenkins. "The enthusiastic comments from new and old fans give us confidence to do this again."
The regular episodes of THE CHOSEN had already made history as the first multi-season series about the life of Jesus. It is supported through a "Pay It Forward" campaign where viewers support each season. So far, THE CHOSEN'S worldwide audience has paid it forward $40 million to completely fund seasons one and two, with season three in production. It is the No.1 highest crowd-funded project of all time
What is also historical with THE CHOSEN is how it tells the story of Jesus and His disciples. The hallmark of the series is its authenticity, showing Jesus living out his holy calling in everyday first-century Judea, Samaria, and the Galilee as a faithful Jewish man.
"The No. 1 word that we put on our wall, the banner across everything we do, is 'authenticity,' " Jenkins told USA Today.
"So many past Bible projects telling Jesus' story have been a little stiff, maybe a cleaned-up, sanitized version of the story. We desperately seek to pursue a portrayal that's as authentic as possible," he said.
Jesus laughs, cries, gets angry, comforts, even tells jokes, all the while fulfilling His most holy calling.
For the depiction of the Savior's birth in CHRISTMAS WITH THE CHOSEN, Jenkins went full-bore authentic, literally showing Jesus' earthly father, Joseph, shoveling animal dung in a stable to clear a space for his wife Mary to have her baby.
"That image alone, of Joseph scooping manure to prepare a spot for Mary to give birth, is not only one of the special's defining images but one of the main themes of 'The Chosen' series," Jenkins said. He even featured the shovel shot in the special's trailer.
"It shows his humanity and his humility. I just think it says so much."
Michael Foust, a Nashville-based reporter for the Christian site Crosswalk.com, told USA Today that "in 20 years of covering faith-based entertainment, I have never seen anything soar like 'The Chosen.' "
The key to its success is the quality production and the emotional honesty, Foust said. "Watching 'The Chosen' is almost like being a fly on a Jerusalem street post, watching Jesus with his disciples. You really see Jesus' humanity. That element is unique."
Humanity wrapped up in the majesty of His mission - to redeem the world and give the gift of eternal life. (John 3:16)
The Christmas special also tells the nativity story with music, some traditional, some new, featuring performances from contemporary Christian artists and groups including Phil Wickham, Maverick City Music, for KING & COUNTRY, Brandon Lake, and others.
Once the theatrical release of "Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers" has ended, it will be available - just like the regular series - to be viewed for free on The Chosen app which connects to other streaming devices with no fee or subscription necessary. THE CHOSEN has been translated into 50 languages and growing and has consistently ranked in the top 50 entertainment apps on iOS and Android.
Jenkins summed up the core message of THE CHOSEN series and its Christmas special.
"Even though we have this big epic performance of 'Joy to the World' by multiple musicians on our huge set, it's contrasted with the world that Jesus actually came into," he says. "It's a good reminder that Jesus came for everyone, including the oppressed and those in poverty. And it's a great reminder, lest we ever turn the story of Jesus into something elitist."
Who is Jesus? Is he really God’s Son? And what does Jesus have to do with Heaven? Your questions are answered here.