Biblical Drama Son of God opens in theaters on Friday and if it lives up to the buzz, the experience will be a celestial one for both moviegoers and its producers.
Breitbart reports that industry estimates for opening weekend have catapulted from original projections of $13 million to a whopping $22.5 million.
Produced by husband and wife team Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, Son of God is the story of Jesus of Nazareth from birth to crucifixion to resurrection and includes footage from the wildly popular 2013 Emmy-nominated TV series The Bible, also a Burnett-Downey production.
Set for nationwide release Friday, religious leaders around the country are renting screens to premier the film on Thursday, including megachurch Pastor Rick Warren, who is encouraging pastors to use the film as a launching pad to form groups and hold discussions and “reach more people for Jesus.”
Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., said he has created a six-week series using scenes from Son of God, centered on themes such as baptism, temptation and suffering.
“Our entire church is going to study this series after the movie,” he said. “For the six weeks leading to Easter, this is just the hand of God, that this movie comes out 10 years exactly after ‘The Passion’ and six weeks before Easter. This is the perfect Lent series.”
The movie is rated PG-13 “for intense and bloody depiction of The Crucifixion, and for some sequences of violence.”
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