From Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, producers of the hit History Channel miniseries The Bible comes the new film Son of God, arriving in theaters on February 28. The two-hour movie includes much of the footage of Christ’s life (played by Diogo Morgado) from “The Bible” series framed from the perspective of the Apostle John. Burnett, who has been promoting and previewing the film for church leaders, considers the film an evangelistic opportunity for churches and “a commercial for Christianity.” During one of the preview screenings, he spoke to DeWayne Hamby about the project and its evangelistic push.
After the “Bible” series, people have been asking, “What’s next?”
The next thing is the movie, which was always our plan. It’s Son of God, a big picture, feature film. It’s great to be in theaters and see our poster up there with big, giant movies, because I want the opportunity for kids, when they’re talking about Hunger Games or Thor or Batman, to have upon their lips “Jesus.” What you have to do in that case is use all your experience and skill to make sure the quality of the Son of God is the same quality as other big films. Many Christian films are the lower quality and it gives a bad name. We don’t expect Christian films to be great. Well, Son of God is way better than the Bible series. In two hours, you get the life of Christ. It’s very powerful and it’s very emotional. It’s 20th Century Fox and in thousands of theaters on Feb. 28. It’s going to be amazing. That opening weekend needs to be big. Go there and bring friends so we can have a good showing for Jesus on February 28. It’s like an election process; we want to elect Jesus.
So it’s an evangelistic opportunity?
I see the vision, along with Roma, that theaters will be filled with people who bring friends. Those friends may be on the fence, wondering ,“Should I be a Christian? I haven’t been to church in twenty years.” This movie will motivate people back into churches. It’s way more than a movie; it’s a movement. This was intended not to be seen on a television screen but to be seen in theaters, in community. In every preview screening, the Holy Spirit has been in the room. It is PG-13. The crucifixion is tough. We would have betrayed our faith to make it into a cartoon.
What can you tell us about the Bible tour?
Behind that release, on March 20, we’re doing a tour with some great artists, Francesca Battistelli, Chris August, Sidewalk Prophets, Meredith Andrews. It’s going to be a multimedia presentation with images, sound, artistry, moving pictures from “The Bible.” It starts in California and ends in Baltimore on April 23. It will hit about 20 cities. We’re partnering with Word Entertainment, helping with the designs, the footage and the feeling. It’s going to be a great feeling seeing the stories come to life.
There are a lot of faith-based films coming out soon. That’s a good thing, right?
Yes! Yes, it’s great. There’s a shift happening. God is moving!
And coming after Son of God is another “Bible” project?
Yes, we are working with NBC on the follow-up to “The Bible series,” which should be coming out in 2015.
Find ministry resources (sermon outlines, lessons, discussion outlines) here.
Find information about advance tickets and renting out a theater for an outreach here.