The director and creator of the hit Bible-based series The Chosen says the upcoming theatrical release is an opportunity to "reach more people" for Jesus.
The movie, titled simply The Chosen, will include episodes one and two of Season 3. It launches in theaters on Nov. 18.
The crowdfunded streaming series became a worldwide sensation through a unique model that allows fans to watch it, for free, on The Chosen app. (Season 3 will debut on the app in December.)
It tells the story of Jesus and the disciples.
"Putting it in a different context – a theater as opposed to a home – allows it to just reach more people [for Jesus]," Dallas Jenkins, the director and creator, told Christian Headlines Tuesday, before the film's premiere at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
A theatrical release, Jenkins added, expands the series' reach. Movie buffs who have never heard of The Chosen, for example, now will have the opportunity to learn about it, he said.
"And I think that's what really excites people – to see something show up on the box office list where you wouldn't normally expect it – [that] makes people go 'hmm,'" he said.
Fans cheered and clapped during key moments of the Tuesday premiere. At the end of the film, they stood and applauded.
"I think our community, especially, loves gathering. I mean, we are a very fan-centric show. [Fans] take pictures when they run into each other in airports because they're wearing the same shirt," he said. "It's really unique in that way. So the opportunity to gather for something like this, I think, is really important.
"To see it on the big screen is also something really cool because the themes of Season 3 especially are really significant. And I think it demands a little bit more of a bigger stage."
Meanwhile, Jenkins said his own personal faith has grown while making the series.
"Working on this project has, I think, more than any other time in my life, reminded me of the personal nature of Jesus' relationship with us," he said. "When Jesus calls Matthew, when Jesus calls Simon, when Jesus calls Nathaniel, how does He do it? It's always personal."
"… He is the God of the person, and so realizing that He has a personal relationship with me has really been the thing that's most impacted me during this process."
The series has attracted more than 400 million views worldwide and an estimated 94 million viewers.
Photo courtesy: ©Angel Studios/The Chosen
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.