The Chosen (TV series)

The Chosen is an American Christian historical drama television series. Created, directed, and co-written by filmmaker Dallas Jenkins, it is the first multi-season series about the life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Primarily set in Judaea and Galilee in the 1st century, the series centers on Jesus and the different people who met and followed or otherwise interacted with him. The series stars Jonathan Roumie as Jesus as well as Shahar Isaac, Elizabeth Tabish, Paras Patel, Noah James, and George H. Xanthis.

The Chosen
GenreHistorical drama
Created byDallas Jenkins
Based onThe life of Jesus
Written by
  • Tyler Thompson
  • Dallas Jenkins
  • Ryan Swanson
Directed byDallas Jenkins
Starring
  • Shahar Isaac
  • Jonathan Roumie
  • Elizabeth Tabish
  • Paras Patel
  • Noah James
  • George H. Xanthis
Music by
Country of originUnited States
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes26 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Derral Eves
  • Matthew Faraci
  • Dallas Jenkins
  • Ryan Swanson
  • Tyler Thompson
  • Brad Pelo
Producers
  • Chad Gundersen
  • Justin Tolley
  • Chris Juen
Cinematography
  • Akis Konstantakopoulos
  • Petros Antoniadis
Editors
  • John Quinn
  • Adam Lutge
Running time20–100 minutes
Production companies
  • Loaves & Fishes Productions
  • Angel Studios
  • Out of Order Studios
  • Come and See
Original release
Network
  • Angel Studios
ReleaseDecember 24, 2017 (2017-12-24) –
present (present)

After Jenkins noted there had never been a multi-season, episode-based portrayal of Jesus that could be "binge-watched" like shows on streaming mediums such as Netflix,[1] he set out to create the series in partnership with Angel Studios, formerly VidAngel. With the intention of differing from previous portrayals of Jesus, he crafted a story arc which focused more on the people who encountered Jesus and viewed him through their eyes.[1] He has stated in interviews that he sought to present Jesus in a way that was more "personal, intimate, [and] immediate".[2]

The show's producers have primarily used crowdfunding on the Angel Studios platform to finance production, and it continues to be the most successful crowdfunded TV series or film project.[3] Additional revenue comes through licensing to other streaming platforms and TV networks, such as Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, and Netflix. Merchandise and video sales provide additional sources of revenue, as have limited premiere runs in cinemas. The show has been further adapted into a series of novels by Jenkins's father, author Jerry B. Jenkins, a series of graphic novels by Corvus Comics, and companion Bible study materials published by David C. Cook.

According to a 2022 analysis commissioned by the show's producers, 108 million had seen at least part of the show through the app and streaming platforms.[4] Translation into as many as 600 languages is being funded by the Come and See Foundation.[5]

Synopsis edit

The first season is set in 1st century Galilee, where Jesus starts to build a group for his ministry,[6] inviting several people with different backgrounds.[7] As he performs his first miracles, Jesus calls the redeemed woman Mary Magdalene; the stonemason Thaddeus; the choir member Little James; the fishermen Simon, Andrew, Big James, and John; the caterer Thomas and vintner Ramah; and the tax collector Matthew to follow him. As the group travels through Samaria and following his meeting with Nicodemus, Jesus launches his public ministry after revealing himself to Photina, a Samaritan woman.

Beginning in Samaria, the second season moves into nearby regions such as Syria and Judea, where Jesus continues to build his group of students.[7] As he continues to perform miracles while preparing for an important sermon, Jesus additionally calls John the Baptizer's disciple Philip, the architect Nathanael, and the Zealot Simon Z. As word of Jesus continues to spread throughout the region,[6] he encounters both opportunities and difficulties.[8] The season culminates with preparations being made for the Sermon on the Mount, with the help of the business apprentice Judas Iscariot.

The group returns to Capernaum in the third season, with the increasing popularity of Jesus troubling different societal and political groups, including the Romans and the Pharisees.[9][10] Following the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus sends his twelve apostles, two by two, to preach and perform miracles without him, leading to the disciples facing their biggest challenge yet. Jesus then returns to his hometown, Nazareth, which results in a shift to his ministry at the year of his popularity. At the climactic end of the season in the Decapolis and at the Sea of Galilee, Jesus feeds thousands with loaves and fishes and then walks on the water.

Main cast edit

  • Shahar Isaac as Simon Peter
  • Jonathan Roumie as Jesus
  • Elizabeth Tabish as Mary Magdalene
  • Paras Patel as Matthew
  • Noah James as Andrew
  • Janis Dardaris as Zohara (season 1)
  • Lara Silva as Eden (seasons 1, 3, and 4; guest season 2)
  • Shaan Sharma as Shmuel
  • Nick Shakoour as Zebedee
  • George H. Xanthis as John
  • Shayan Sobhian as Big James (season 1, episodes 1–4)
  • Erick Avari as Nicodemus (season 1)
  • Kian Kavousi as Big James (season 1, episodes 5–8)
  • Brandon Potter as Quintus (seasons 1, 3, and 4; recurring season 2)
  • Kirk B. R. Woller as Gaius (seasons 1, 3, and 4; recurring season 2)
  • Giavani Cairo as Thaddeus
  • Jordan Walker Ross as Little James
  • Abe Bueno-Jallad as Big James (seasons 2–4)
  • Joey Vahedi as Thomas (seasons 2–4; guest season 1)
  • Yasmine Al-Bustami as Ramah (seasons 2–4; guest season 1)
  • Vanessa Benavente as Mary (seasons 2–4; guest season 1)
  • Yoshi Barrigas as Philip (seasons 2–3)
  • Austin Reed Alleman as Nathanael (seasons 2–4)
  • Alaa Safi as Simon Z. (seasons 2–4)
  • Luke Dimyan as Judas Iscariot (seasons 3–4; guest season 2)
  • Ivan Jasso as Yussif (seasons 3–4; recurring seasons 1–2)
  • Amber Shana Williams as Tamar (seasons 3–4; recurring season 2; guest season 1)
  • Elijah Alexander as Atticus Aemilius Pulcher (seasons 3–4; recurring season 2)
  • Reza Diako as Philip (season 4)
  • David Amito as John the Baptizer (season 4; recurring seasons 1–3)

Episodes edit

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
First releasedLast released
PilotDecember 24, 2017 (2017-12-24)
18April 21, 2019 (2019-04-21)November 26, 2019 (2019-11-26)
28April 4, 2021 (2021-04-04)July 11, 2021 (2021-07-11)
Christmas SpecialDecember 1, 2021 (2021-12-01)
38December 11, 2022 (2022-12-11)February 7, 2023 (2023-02-07)
48TBATBA

Background and production edit

Development edit

 
Dallas Jenkins directs episode 3, season 1 of The Chosen

In 2017, working through his production company, Vertical Church Films, Dallas Jenkins released a feature-length film, The Resurrection of Gavin Stone; the film did not perform to the studio's expectations at the box office.[11][12] While working to determine his next project, Jenkins began binge-watching different television shows and realized there had never been a multi-season show about Jesus that could be watched in the same way.[13]

Jenkins returned to a script for a short film called The Shepherd. Filmed on a friend's farm in Marengo Jenkins wrote the screenplay and intended the film be shown during a Christmas Eve service at his church, Harvest Bible Chapel in Elgin, Illinois.[2] Expanding on that idea, he came up with the concept for The Chosen as a multi-season story arc about the life of Jesus that could build a backstory based on cultural and historical context.[13]

Faith-based video streaming service VidAngel, now Angel Studios,[14] became aware of The Shepherd and showed interest in expanding on the concept of a Jesus-based series. At the time, VidAngel was involved in a lawsuit with major Hollywood studios and thus seeking original content to distribute.[15] They suggested putting the short film on Facebook as a series pilot to see if interest would be generated for a multi-season show.[1] Jenkins expressed that he was not totally on-board with the potential of crowdfunding, but decided to give the platform a try.[16] The short film received over 15 million views around the world.[17]

VidAngel, along with Jenkins and video marketing strategist Derral Eves, turned to the crowdfunding business model to produce The Chosen. A provision in the JOBS Act that went into effect in 2016 allowed them to offer shares of ownership and profits from the production rather than the arbitrary perks offered by regular crowdfunding.[17] At the end of January 2019, the first fundraising round had raised over $10.2 million from more than 16,000 investors for the project, which surpassed Mystery Science Theater 3000 as the top crowdfunded TV series project. Each investor received equity in "The Chosen LLC", which is regulated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).[18] Their equity stake allows them to share in profits not only from the show itself but also from other revenue sources, such as merchandise, books, and Bible-study materials.[3] Majority shareholders will not receive a share of the profits until the original investors earn 120% of their investments.[3]

After funding the first season by selling equity, the show has utilized traditional crowdfunding for subsequent seasons, along with a model that offers more traditional crowdfunding perks, such as appearing as an extra in the film.[3] The average contribution through crowdfunding efforts is $65.[3] Season 2 fundraising had raised over $6 million from more than 300,000 contributors as of July 1, 2020.[19] As with previous seasons, the producers continue to use the pay-it-forward model developed by Angel Studios to help fund the development of the show's future seasons.[20] In October 2022, the creators partnered with a new nonprofit, the Come and See Foundation, which was created to manage the show's funding.[5] The nonprofit status allows contributors to receive a tax deduction for their donations.[21]

The show also raises revenue through licensing to other streaming platforms and TV networks, video and merchandise sales, and limited premiere runs in movie theaters.

Seven seasons of the series are planned.[4][22] In 2023, former DreamWorks executive Mark Sourian was hired to lead development of an entertainment universe with future films and shows based on the original series.[23]

Script edit

In contrast with typical Bible-focused productions, Jenkins has given more depth to his scripts by adding backstories to various characters from the gospels without contradicting material that is present.[2] This is noted in the opening credits of the first episode, which include the following:

The Chosen is based on the true stories of the gospels of Jesus Christ. Some locations and timelines have been combined or condensed. Backstories and some characters or dialogue have been added. However, all biblical and historical context and any artistic imagination are designed to support the truth and intention of the Scriptures. Viewers are encouraged to read the gospels. The original names, locations and phrases have been translated into English for anything spoken.[24]

Although the show has an evangelical tendency,[25] there are consultants from three Christian faith traditions providing input. Acting as consultants are Messianic rabbi Jason Sobel from Fusion Global Ministries; Catholic priest and national director of Family Theater Productions Father David Guffey; and professor of New Testament at Biola University Dr. Doug Huffman. They review scripts and provide facts or context on the biblical, cultural, and socio-political history of the storyline.[26][27] Orthodox Jewish theologian David Nekrutman was appointed as adviser for the show's fourth season.[28]

Jenkins said he draws creative inspiration from shows like Friday Night Lights and The Wire,[3] whereas writers Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson list The Wire, Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek as their influences.[4]

Casting edit

 
Jesus (Jonathan Roumie) in episode 5 of The Chosen

The show features many people of color as actors, which is not often the case in television and film based on the Bible.[18][2] Jenkins avoided "big stars" and "white people", trying instead to re-create a picture of 1st-century Capernaum—which, being on a trade route, would have reflected a diversity of ethnicities and backgrounds.[2]

Various members of the cast have described a deep connection to the show, the story, and their character. Elizabeth Tabish, who was considering leaving her acting career, described it as a "dream role."[29] Jonathan Roumie said he always aims to "empty out as much of himself as possible" to allow the Holy Spirit to work in him through both the script and his performance onscreen. In describing his preparation for the role, Roumie said that he does "a good bit of reading and rereading the source material" but that most of the preparation is "in the spiritual department".[29] He said his accent is based on a combination of the accents of his father, who is from Egypt, and his sister-in-law, who is from Palestine.[30]

Filming edit

 
Jesus and Nicodemus

Season 1 was filmed over 60 days mostly around Pooleville and Weatherford, Texas, supplemented by a sound stage and visual effects in a Dallas studio. After searching online for suitable locations, the producers settled on the existing Capernaum Village in Pooleville, a venue that offers both film set rental and live experiences for tourists.[31]

 
Behind the scenes of the Roman Authority set of The Chosen

Season 2 moved filming to Utah County, Utah, to a replica Jerusalem movie set built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The set was originally built to authentically replicate most of the primary locations of the ancient city in order to film scenes for the LDS's Bible and Book of Mormon videos.[32] As part of the LDS Motion Picture Studios South Campus, the set's use by The Chosen marks the first time a production not affiliated with the LDS Church has been allowed to film there. Filming occurred during October and November 2020. Commenting on how much the Utah desert resembles the Holy Land, Dallas Jenkins said that they could not re-create it anywhere else—"you can't even get this in Israel."[33]

Being filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for the production of season 2. Two thousand extras were used in filming the Sermon on the Mount scene, all of whom were required to obtain a negative PCR test prior to filming.[34] Safety precautions such as multiple testing and proper PPE kits for the cast and crew members were also applied. Following COVID-19 protocols increased the production costs by an additional $750,000.[35] Anyone arriving on set had to be tested in advance and upon arrival, longer meal breaks were required, and all hair and makeup stations had to be sanitized regularly.[33] Jenkins indicated that the production experienced fewer than five positive cases during filming.[33][34]

Production of season 3 moved filming back to Texas, to a site in Midlothian selected for its similarities with the Middle East in both topography and weather.[36] There, The Chosen partnered with the National Christian Foundation and the Impact Foundation to construct a $20 million production complex on the site of the Salvation Army's Camp Hoblitzelle. When completed, the complex will include a soundstage, set workshops, and a replica of Capernaum. The Chosen will lease the facility, which will ultimately be used for other film and television projects.[3] Beginning in April 2022, filming for season 3 included a four-day shoot for the scene of the feeding of the 5,000, using nearly 12,000 extras from 36 countries. Most of the extras came at their own expense and made their own costumes.[36]

Filming of season 4 began in March 2023 in Midlothian, Texas.[37][38] When the series had to stop filming at the beginning of the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike on July 14, 2023, fans started a prayer campaign through social media.[39] The series was granted a waiver to continue filming on July 16, 2023.[40][41] Under the terms of the waiver, the show's producers agreed to be bound to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement retroactively.[42]

Music edit

To compose the music for the series, creator Dallas Jenkins called on a longtime friend, Jars of Clay vocalist and songwriter Dan Haseltine. Haseltine had worked on projects with Jenkins in the past, composing the music for Hometown Legend. Initially, Haseltine was not interested, believing that there were plenty of similar projects and that the world didn't need another "cheesy Jesus story". After Jenkins convinced him that The Chosen would be different, Haseltine brought in fellow Jars of Clay multi-instrumentalist Matthew S. Nelson to assist with composition. Haseltine has noted that musical influences include Middle Eastern, Indian drone, Delta Blues, and "slave spirituals".[43]

Themes edit

Executive producer Dallas Jenkins wanted to produce a multi-season series about Jesus that viewers could binge watch.[2] Hoping to distinguish the series from previous portrayals of Jesus, Jenkins wanted to "encounter Jesus through the eyes of those who actually met Him",[1] presenting a story that would be more "personal, intimate, [and] immediate."[2]

The show gives backstories to both the characters and the settings. For instance, there are storylines that explore vice and addiction, autism, and physical disability.[3] Writing for The New York Times, Ruth Graham points out that themes within the storylines include "complex relationships, suspense, political intrigue, and charged emotional moments".[4] In The Atlantic, Chris DeVille described themes including marital conflict and financial struggles.[22]

Actor Jordan Walker Ross, who plays Little James, has scoliosis and minor cerebral palsy, causing him to walk with a limp, a disability that he was asked to hide in previous acting jobs. Rather than hide it, Jenkins has used Ross's physical disability to explore story themes in which Jesus heals some people but not others.[44][45]

Jenkins also highlights the fact that there were key moments in which women were intentionally chosen by Jesus to be a vital part of his ministry.[46]

Release and distribution edit

Streaming and broadcast edit

The first season was initially released on VidAngel's subscription service and also available for DVD purchase. Initially, viewership was sluggish.[3] Then, during the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April 2020, the first season was made freely available through The Chosen app,[2][1] at which time viewership spiked.[3] Jenkins stated that revenue actually went up after they made it free to watch, attributing it to "God's impossible math."[47] The producers have since made the free-to-watch model permanent, using a pay-it-forward model for viewers to contribute funding to make it free for others.[3]

Primary distribution continues to be through their own app and website.[3] New episodes typically premiere via livestream on YouTube and Facebook, and then released on the app and website. The app includes bonus content, such as Bible round-tables and exclusive "after-show" content, as well as an opportunity for viewers to make tax-deductible contributions to fund production.[21]

In exchange for allowing production of the show at the LDS Church's Goshen set, BYUtv was granted streaming and broadcast rights in late 2020, the only broadcast network airing the show at the time.[7][48] The series has since been licensed for release through several secular, Christian, and family-oriented streaming and broadcast platforms. By early 2021, broadcast was extended to include Amazon Prime Video, Trinity Broadcasting Network, Peacock, and UPtv.[3][49][50] In 2022, season 1 was released on Netflix. In June 2023, The CW acquired the first three seasons of The Chosen for broadcast in the United States.[51] The CW premiere broadcast was watched by 520,000 viewers.[52]

The series has expanded to international platforms, such as Canal+ in France.[53]

In May 2023, Lionsgate Television acquired worldwide distribution rights to the series under a sub-license. Under the agreement, the series remains an Angel Studios original and Angel retains exclusive launch windows and licensing rights to the show.[54]

Theatrical releases edit

The Chosen has partnered with Fathom Events for cinema exhibition. The first was a Christmas special titled Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers, which opened in 1,700 theaters on December 1, 2021.[55][56] The special also featured performances from Contemporary Christian music artists including Phil Wickham, Maverick City Music, and For King and Country.[57] It grossed $13.5 million with one million tickets sold, exceeding previous records for Fathom Events.[4][58] The effort was to satisfy demand from fans as well as an attempt to drive people back to movie theaters.[55] Season 3's first two episodes were released in theaters prior to streaming. It screened in more than 2,000 theaters throughout the US, as well as the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.[59]

Jenkins indicated an interest to theatrically release the third season's penultimate and finale episodes as well, noting that the scene of the feeding of the 5,000 is more suited to the big screen.[60] When Jenkins announced ticket sales during a livestream, the resulting demand initially crashed the Fathom Events website.[61] The finale opened in theaters on February 2, 2023, and was #1 at the box office with $1.67 million.[62]

Another theatrical release special, Christmas with The Chosen: Holy Night, opened in theaters on December 12, 2023. Combining scenes from The Shepherd and The Messengers, the film featured seven musical performances from the previous special. A new performance included in the special was done by Andrea Bocelli and his son, Mateo Bocelli, singing "O Holy Night" in French.[63] The special also featured monologues by Dallas Jenkins's wife, Amanda Jenkins, and co-writer of The Chosen, Tyler Thompson.[64]

The entirety of the fourth season of The Chosen began its release in US theaters the first week of February 2024. Streaming will begin following the completion of the theatrical showings. The theater releases are being shown in blocks with Episodes 1-3 playing for two weeks, and Episodes 4-6 for two weeks, Episodes 7-8 playing for one week. According to creator and director Dallas Jenkins, the first three-episode showings will include a five minute intermission for the nearly three-and-a-half hour event.[65] The box office gross for Episodes 1-3 was $14,234,175.[66] The box office gross for Episodes 4-6 was $8,882,174.[67] As of March 1, 2024, the box office gross for Episodes 7-8 was $1,731,240.[68] The total gross of all the entire theatrical run of Season 4 was $24,847,589.

For international showings of Season Four, only the first two episodes were released theatrically. A spokesperson for The Chosen wrote on X (formerly Twitter): "our international audiences are relatively small, hence the one-theater release. Episode 3 ends on a cliffhanger, so we decided to stop at Episode 2 for our international audiences. Stay tuned for a streaming announcement."[69]

Box office performance edit

Film U.S. release date Box office gross
Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers December 1, 2021 $13,728,000[70]
The Chosen Season 3: Episode 1 & 2 November 18, 2022 $14,679,613[71]
The Chosen Season Finale February 2, 2023 $5,589,142[72]
Christmas with the Chosen: Holy Night December 15, 2023 $4,676,000[73]
The Chosen: S4 Episodes 1-3 February 1, 2024 $14,234,175[66]
The Chosen: S4 Episodes 4-6 February 15, 2024 $8,882,174[67]
The Chosen: S4 Episodes 7-8 February 29, 2024 $1,731,240[68]
Total $63,520,344

International distribution edit

The producers desired for The Chosen to be seen by over one billion people and broadcast in every country in the world.[74] In October 2022, the Come and See Foundation was formed as a nonprofit to help fund the translation and global distribution of the series. With no current budget, the foundation is currently operating on funding from an anonymous donor.[5] The goal of the Come and See Foundation is that the show be dubbed in 100 languages and subtitled in 500 more. Currently, season 1 is dubbed in 12 languages and subtitled in 62, and season 2 is dubbed in seven languages and subtitled in 20 additional languages.[75]

Reception edit

The show's popularity began largely as an underground phenomenon, going unnoticed and unreviewed by major publications. Until it was added to Peacock in 2021, The Chosen was not available on any major cable network or streaming service,[22] but it was still able to achieve more than 300 million streaming views in that time.[3] It has a large and devoted fan base, raising a significant portion of its funding through crowdsourcing, achieving success through its pay-it-forward viewing model, and breaking ticket records for its theatrical releases.[58] The success of the series is attributed to artistic storytelling and cultural relevance, while staying true to the message of the gospels.[6] The creators credit the success of the series to a desire for quality faith-based content.[61]

The Economist noted that success of the show attests to the popularity and profitability of Christian entertainment, while highlighting how filmmakers of faith can circumvent the gatekeepers of Hollywood. The article also notes that Jenkins uses a significant amount of creative license to create the story.[76]

Not all reception has been positive. The creators have received an array of criticisms, accusations of being produced by Mormons[77] and accusations of injecting Mormon theology,[78] in addition to potentially taking too much liberty with scripture.[79][80]

Reviews edit

While praising the show for its acting, direction, and speculative storytelling beyond typical Bible stories, The Atlantic's Chris DeVille has suggested that the show's popularity among Christians is due in part to scarcity of Christian entertainment. DeVille noted that the quality of most such entertainment is usually not at a level of Hollywood productions and that its success so far has arrived "not in spite of its insularity, but because of it", concluding that "for the most part, the series seems to be finding its fans among the converted".[22] In contrast, Texas Monthly stated that the show has the most mainstream crossover potential since Touched by an Angel.[81]

Reviewing the series for Vox, Aja Romano points out that while the cast is diverse, and that the production focuses on authenticity of first century Jewish culture, there are few actual Jewish actors in the ensemble.[82]

According to Peter Gray of The AU Review, watching the series will likely be enjoyed by audience members who are religious. In his review, he comments on the limits of a crowd-funded budget when it comes to the set, costumes, and quality of acting.[83]

Writing in Film Threat, Alan Ng called the series "smart and insightful to a contemporary audience".[84] Ng points out that Jenkins has made a small budget project appear big, while also remaining authentic. He calls the acting "good to exceptional", something that is not all that common in faith-based films.[84] Other Christian commentators have also praised the series for its production value, noting that it raises the bar for other faith-based productions.[4]

The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 100 percent of critics have given season 1 a positive review based on nine reviews, with an average rating of 7.80/10.[85]

Viewership edit

Producers estimate that the first 16 episodes had been viewed 312 million times as of November 2021.[3] According to Sandy Padula, an independent consultant hired by the producers, over 108 million people globally had watched at least part of one episode of The Chosen as of November 2022.[4]

Awards and accolades edit

Episode 8 from season 1 ("I Am He") earned two Movieguide Award nominations in 2020: the Epiphany Prize for Inspiring Television Program for the series and the Grace Prize, Television for Jonathan Roumie, the actor who portrays Jesus.[86]

In 2021, the series went on to win the K-Love Fan Awards' Best Film/Television Impact category;[87] and in 2022, the Dove Awards' Inspirational Film/Series of the Year[88][89] and the Museum of the Bible's Pillar Award.[90]

Media information edit

Marketing edit

Jenkins and VidAngel initially focused on social media to promote their idea for the show by releasing the short film The Shepherd on Facebook.[1] After the first season of the show was released, they began to utilize their pay-it-forward model to assist with promotion. In addition, Jenkins has built a large following of fans by regularly hosting livestream events and "viewing parties." The production company employs a dedicated social media staff as well as a dedicated video team for "behind-the-scenes" coverage that is used in social media promotion. According to Jenkins, their success is based on direct communication with viewers.[3]

Promotional trailers are also developed to appeal to specific denominations.[22]

In 2022, as part of the producers' Easter marketing campaign, 48 of the 70 billboards for the show nationwide were changed to appear as though they had been defaced or vandalized with phrases like "The Chosen is boring" and "Chosensux.com". The URL directed users to a website called "The Chosen Is Not Good", which depicted Satan as a character trying to get people not to watch the show. As a result of the campaign, many fans of the show were concerned that the defacement was real and, in April, Dallas Jenkins issued an apology to fans for having not mentioned anything about the campaign.[91]

Merchandising edit

To complement its crowd-sourced fundraising model, The Chosen generates revenue through merchandise sales including T-shirts, hats, books, and DVDs.[7] In addition to offering general merchandise, The Chosen has partnered with Christian publishers such as David C. Cook and Broadstreet Publishing to produce companion study guides, devotionals, and Bible study materials.[5][92][93] The show is also being adapted into a series of graphic novels by Corvus Comics.[94]

Soundtracks for seasons 1, 2 and 3 have been released. Songwriter Dan Haseltine believes there will be additional projects by other artists influenced and inspired by the series.[43]

Companion Bible study materials edit

To complement the show's content, Dallas Jenkins, his wife Amanda, and Douglas Huffman have released companion Bible studies that follow the show.[95] Huffman, a professor of New Testament at Biola University, also serves as a consultant to the show.[26] The first study, from David C. Cook publishers, was released January 21, 2021.[95] In addition to a book, the study includes digital resources, video clips, teacher guides, and promotional materials.[95]

Books edit

Dallas Jenkins's father, Left Behind author Jerry B. Jenkins, has contributed a novelization of each of the show's first two seasons.[96][97] An additional third novel is planned.[98] Jenkins has collaborated in the past with his father on Hometown Legend and Midnight Clear, a full-length feature film based on one of his father's short stories.[98]

The elder Jenkins notes that this is atypical, since TV shows or movies are usually based on a novel, but that in this case it is the other way around, with the novel being based on the show in what he refers to as "a backward deconstruction".[97] He notes that the biggest challenge in this approach is adding detail to the story that is not part of the Biblical account.[97]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Carpenter, Chris (December 28, 2018). "New TV Series The Chosen a Modern Day 'Five Loaves and Two Fish' Story". CBN. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Moore, Evan F. (March 18, 2020). "'The Chosen': Elgin filmmaker wants people to 'Binge Jesus' on an app". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Jurgensen, John (November 27, 2021). "Fans Pour Funding—and Faith—Into a Hit Drama About Jesus". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 5, 2022 – via www.wsj.com.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Graham, Ruth (November 25, 2022). "Jesus Christ, Streaming Star". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 8, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d Rabey, Steve (December 11, 2022). "Come and See Foundation hopes to reach a billion people with "The Chosen"". Colorado Springs Gazette. Retrieved December 14, 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Carpenter, Chris. "Authenticity of Scripture Paramount to 'The Chosen's' Success". CBN News. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c d Wixom, Cassidy (May 26, 2021). "'The Chosen' resonates with believers who see authenticity in its characters". The Daily Universe. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  8. ^ Carr, Kimberly (July 24, 2020). "'The Chosen' Officially Greenlights Production of Season Two". CBN News. Retrieved June 10, 2022.
  9. ^ Beach, Kylie (August 31, 2021). "Dallas Jenkins gives us a sneak peek at The Chosen Season Three". Eternity News. Retrieved June 27, 2022.
  10. ^ Toone, Trent (October 18, 2022). "'The Chosen': Watch the gripping new trailer for Season 3 with a message from show's creator". Deseret News. Retrieved October 26, 2022.
  11. ^ Hipes, Patrick (July 29, 2015). "WWE Studios Grabs Hold Of Faith-Based Pic 'The Resurrection Of Gavin Stone'". Deadline. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  12. ^ "Christian Filmmaker Dallas Jenkins: For the Love of Story". CBN.com - The Christian Broadcasting Network. March 22, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
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