The Christmas special for “The Chosen,” the first-ever multi-season television show about Jesus, has already broken Fathom Events’ record with $1.5 million in sales in the first 12 hours.
“Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers,” which features actors from “The Chosen” series, airs in theaters on Dec. 1 and Dec. 2. Just hours after tickets went on sale during a livestream with show creator Dallas Jenkins Tuesday night, pre-sale records were shattered for the distributor.
“The Chosen” Executive Producer Derral Eves told The Christian Post that viewers can expect an “amazing” experience that showcases the birth of Christ through the eyes of Mary and Joseph and highlights the hardships they endured.
“We’re giving symbolism to the importance of certain things around the nativity that most people just kind of push aside, or they might sing about it, but not really have the context of what that means,” Eves said.
“With ‘The Chosen,’ we try to do things disruptive. We try to do things outside the box. And we do believe that sometimes you need to do that to get more eyeballs on certain things.”
As many people have yet to watch “The Chosen” even though it has already produced two seasons, Eves said that the idea came about to do a “standalone episode” where viewers don’t have to watch the series to “experience a great piece of content?”
Shot entirely in secret, “The Messengers” will feature performances from popular Christian artists and groups including Phil Wickham, Maverick City Music, for King and Country, Brandon Lake, Bryan and Katie Torwalt and others. Show creators want the event to be a worshipful experience celebrating the Christmas season, Eves explained.
“What I love is we don’t necessarily view this as a special episode; it’s more of a way to worship and to gather together in a unique way,” he said. “And that’s kind of how we’re approaching this. It will be fun to see how people use this opportunity to gather their friends, their family and come together in the theaters and see something that was made specifically for that.”
Through the Christmas special, creators hope the viewers will connect with the Gospel personally, whether through song or the spoken word.
“We all connect differently, and so we wanted to really look at people that connect visually, or through music or through spoken word … and bring that together in an experience that should build upon each other and ... make a very strong piece for people to really be moved,” Eves said.
Though centered on the Gospel and the birth of Jesus, “The Messengers” isn’t just for Christian viewers, Eves added.
“I do believe that anyone of any faith can come and enjoy this special episode that we’re airing because it’s going to showcase humanity,” he said.
The event marks the first time “The Chosen” will hit theaters.
“We’re doing a theatrical release more so to get people to experience ‘The Chosen’ in a different way,” he shared. “We chose theaters for a reason. These last couple of years, the theaters have really struggled filling seats because of everything that’s happening in the world. We believe that now’s the time to have some of these gatherings occur.”
“The Chosen,” created by Jenkins, the son of Left Behind author Jerry Jenkins, is the largest crowd-funded media project in history. Since its premiere in November 2017, episodes of “The Chosen” have been watched over 150 million times and translated into over 50 languages.
Eves said viewers of “The Chosen” are attracted by the series’ “raw” and “authentic” nature and the relatability of its characters.
“I think when people see Christian media, they have this preconceived idea that it’s cheesy,” he said. “[The Chosen] portrays … government oppression … a lot of disputations, a lot of dirt and grittiness. People were rough; they were ruffled in a lot of different areas. And I think that connects with us.”
“What we get to see is how Jesus helps us overcome our rough edges as He redeems. And I believe, truly, that’s why the show has taken off. People can see themselves in the characters. They can relate to their trials,” he continued. “They can relate to their struggles, and they can relate to the redemption that actually ultimately will come from people that find Jesus. When Jesus discovers them, and when He comes to their level, they’re able to connect on a deeper level.”
The Christmas special was initially slated to premiere in 1,079 theaters. But due to high demand, creators have added over 450 locations and thousands of screens.
At a time when mental illness is at an all-time high and people are discouraged in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eves prays “The Messengers” brings Christmas cheer and Gospel hope to viewers.
“I think we’re all stressed out to a degree that we haven’t been stressed out before. I know that there’s a lot of mental illness that is happening now because of the things that have happened over the last couple of years. And there’s a lot of depression and things that people are dealing with that they didn’t necessarily deal with before,” Eves said.
“I would love to see everyone that watches this special find hope and find the Master of all hope. I think as they discover that, they’ll be able to overcome some of the challenges that they’ll find as they find themselves looking and experiencing Jesus in an authentic way.”