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‘The Chosen’ Tops Daily Hollywood Box-Office

Jesus has once again proven to be a bankable Hollywood star. On Thursday, February 2nd, The Chosen Season 3 Finale topped the box office with $1,666,707, jumping ahead of mega-hit Avatar: The Way of Water. The Fathom Events special went on to finish the weekend in 9th place overall with a total gross of $3.6 million.

Since its debut in 2017, The Chosen has risen in popularity and notoriety. The crowd-funded series depicting the life and ministry of Jesus is available to stream for free online. In recent years, it has expanded its reach by partnering with Fathom Events to give several episodes and its Christmas special a theatrical release.

While unquestionably a success story, the overall scope of its achievement is more difficult to evaluate. On one hand, any time a theatrical release, particularly a niche offering with limited theatrical screenings, tops the box office, it’s a triumph. It’s not every day a film or show about Jesus hits the charts at all, let alone finishes on top.   

On the other hand, these “limited event” releases for properties with an established fanbase typically frontload the box office totals, resulting in exciting initial success but relatively meagre overall totals. Despite topping the box office on its opening night, a $3.6 million weekend total is not necessarily a smashing success by most standard metrics. In fact, it marks a significant decrease from the totals of both The Chosen Season Three: Episode 1 & 2 ($14.4 million) and The Chosen Christmas Special ($13.3 million). The lack of other major films and that its closest competition, Avatar: The Way of Water, is in its 8th week certainly paved the way for The Chosen to break through.

It appears fans of The Chosen showed up in sizable numbers to watch their beloved show on the big screen, but it’s less clear if the screening drew much of a mainstream audience. That said, during a time when many Hollywood films indulge in vulgar content and explore secular ideologies, The Chosen is a reminder—if only for a day—that there is still an audience for wholesome, faith-based films. Mainstream Hollywood may not be sympathetic to faith-based content, but it isn’t blind to the opportunity to make money. With more successes like The Chosen, Christians may finally be speaking a language Hollywood understands.  

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