MEGACHURCH PASTORS LEAD 'SON OF GOD' CAMPAIGN TO 'TAKE OVER' MULTIPLEX THEATERS NATIONWIDE
Pastors and Christian leaders throughout the U.S. are jumping on
board a campaign to spread the Gospel message via the upcoming film "Son
of God" by buying out multiplex cinema screens for the day before its
public release on Feb. 28.
"Few movies have been
able to take over an entire multiplex – every screen, every seat; only
blockbusters like 'Hunger Games.' But now the religious epic 'Son of God' is
taking over several multiplexes nationwide on Thursday, February 27, the day
before it debuts on 3,000 screens," say the film's promoters.
As of Monday,
multiplexes in at least 10 cities nationwide are playing "Son of God"
on all of their screens on the evening of Feb. 27. "It's very interesting
to see this level of excitement around the movie," stated James Meredith,
VP, head of Marketing & Communications for Cinemark. "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
Megachurch pastor and
author, Rick Warren, is buying out screens in at least eight different theaters
throughout Orange County, Calif. "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
Warren, with the
go-ahead from producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, created curriculum for
a six-week study for
small groups, called "Son of God: The Life of Jesus in You."
Saddleback Church will be hosting a sermon series to
go along with the study that will begin with the movie's release and end on
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
In addition to pastors
doing "theatre take-overs," many others are buying out single screens
at their local movie theater, promoters said. "This is a rare opportunity
to bring the story of Christ into our mainstream culture," said Pastor
Warren. "We want to see Jesus in movie theatres 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."
Compassion International has also joined in the buy-out campaign by
distributing tickets to churches in more than 40 markets. "Jesus has
always been at the center of our ministry," says Mark Hanlon, Compassion
International's senior vice president of global marketing and engagement.
"His life story is the greatest story ever told. And this film tells it in
a beautiful, captivating way. The Gospel account of Jesus' life is a central
part of our program's curriculum. That's why we're working with churches
throughout the country to make this film an opportunity for outreach."
Christians typically lead the charge in supporting faith-based movies,
"Son of God" is a rare movie that has garnered the support of the
Catholic Church, the film's promoters said. Cardinal Donald Wuerl commissioned
discussion guides and videos to be made for Catholic churches and schools, and
Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami is doing a theater take-over for thousands of
Catholics in Miami.
churches and organizations distributing tickets for a "Theater
Take-Over" are: Joel Osteen (Lakewood Church) –
Houston, Texas – Distributing 8,000 tickets from an anonymous donor
·Craig Groeschel (LifeChurch) –
Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma – 18 Campuses. Weekly attendance of 60,000
and Bible application with over 100 million downloads
·Archbishop José Gomez
(Archdiocese of Los Angeles) – Over 4 million members
·Miles McPherson (Rock Church) –
San Diego, Calif. – Weekly attendance of over 10,000
·Unpolished Entrepreneurs Group
(Crossroads Church) – Cincinnati, Ohio – Weekly attendance of over 10,000
·Jerry Falwell, Jr. (Liberty
University) – Lynchburg, Va. – Over 12,000 students
·Ray Johnston (Bayside Church) –
Sacramento – Weekly attendance of over 10,000
Some pastors will also
be buying out movie screens showing "Son of God" in Spanish and
Korean. Likewise, many business leaders are also donating tickets to churches
"We're very excited
that the community is mobilizing to support Son of God," stated Burnett
and Downey. "The grassroots 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."