"I've seen most of the films produced about Jesus in the past 50 years, and "Son of God" is the best, "Rick Warren said, according to an article in the Christian Post. Saddleback Church pastor and bestselling author, Warren has bought out screens in at least eight different theaters in Orange County, Calif.
Warren further 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 show up."
Warren plans to use the movie as teaching tool for small groups. After receiving permission from movie producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, Warren created a curriculum for a six-week study for small groups called "Son of God: The Life of Jesus in You." Saddleback Church is hosting a series of sermons to go along with the study which began with the movie's release and ends on Easter.
Other churches and groups distributing tickets for a so-called "Theater Take-Over" include:
Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Tex., who is distributing 8,000 tickets donated by an anonymous donor; Jerry Falwell, Jr., of Liberty University which has more than 12,000 students; Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch which has 18 campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles with over four million members and Miles McPherson of the Rock Church with weekly attendance of more than 10,000 in San Diego, Calif.
Warren sees the movie as a "rare opportunity to bring the story of Christ into our mainstream culture."
He further said," We want to see Jesus in mvoie theaters where sight and sound can open up our senses and let the grace come in. The message of the Gospel deserves to be on the big screen....and this is our chance to see it there."
Downey, who starred on "Touched by an Angel", for several successful seasons, is playing the role of Mary, mother of Jesus, in the film. Her husband Mark Burnett, co-produced the hit History Channel television series "The Bible" with his wife. Downey also played the role of Mary in the television hit.
Burnett and Downey said, "Our hope is that the story and message of Jesus Christ will reach tens of millions of people nationwide."
Cardinal Donald Wuerf commissoned discussion guides and videos to be made for Catholic churches and schools.
The film debuted on 3,000 screens across the U.S. on Feb. 28. The promoters of the film said "Son of God" took over several multiplexes nationwide on Thursday, Feb. 27.
The movie made about $26,000,000 the first weekend which left it second on the box office list. The excellent start bodes well for its future as early figures often determine how long theaters across the country will show it, according to film expert Diane Howard.
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