Questions, struggle, pain, fear, and an overwhelming commitment to follow Jesus through it all: welcome to “The Chosen” season three.
The first two episodes of the third season of “The Chosen,” named “Homecoming” and “Two by Two,” hit the big screen on Friday, kicking off a five-day theatrical release in more than 2,000 theaters worldwide. The Angel Studios production is a dramatic narrative of the ministry of Jesus and his disciples. Season one first premiered in 2019, and season two in 2021, both on streaming services.
The latest release of “The Chosen” marks the first time one of its seasons has premiered in theaters, and judging by its performance, it won’t be the last.
Box Office Mojo reports the two episodes made $3,484,674 on opening day, well on the way to hitting an estimated $10 million during opening weekend, according to Deadline. Friday ticket sales came in just behind the comedy horror thriller “The Menu” and outpaced sales for Warner Brothers’ film “Black Adam,” Universal Pictures’ “Ticket to Paradise,” and the just released “She Said,” a film about the #MeToo movement.
“’The Chosen’ is capturing the imagination of moviegoers around the country,” Neal Harmon, CEO of Angel Studios, said in a statement Sunday. Harmon added that “a strong showing [is] anticipated on Sunday night” that will likely exceed Friday’s box office sales.
“The Chosen” began as an entirely crowd-funded series, with season one becoming the “highest crowd-funded entertainment project of all time,” according to the show’s website. Episodes from the first two seasons have gained more than 420 million views.
Director and creator of “The Chosen” Dallas Jenkins told The Daily Signal during a recent podcast interview that filming season three was “the most challenging” thing he has done in his career, a sentiment he shares with viewers before the lights dim at the theater.
“It’s been a crawl to the finish line to get here,” Jenkins said during a video introduction of episodes one and two.
The challenge and struggle the director says he faced in filming amid COVID-19, supply shortages, and extreme weather conditions feel appropriate, however, after viewing the season’s start.
The shows latest seasons dives headfirst into the struggles and difficult questions the disciples likely wrestled with as they followed Jesus. Despite the challenges looking different in some cases, the hardships are ones most Christians still struggle with today – earning the show five stars for relatability.
Fans of “The Chosen” will remember that season two ended with Jesus beginning to deliver the Sermon on the Mount, his disciples looking on among the crowd of thousands listening to Christ’s words. The latest season picks up at this same moment, and viewers watch as the words, today found in Matthew 5-7, pierce the hearts of the disciples, addressing their own sins and hurt. The way the disciples listen to their teacher, and then the actions they take to put Jesus’ words into practice following the sermon, drives home the fact that the show is just as much, if not more, about the followers of Jesus as it is about the Messiah himself.
The humanity of the disciples, their insecurities and shortcomings, is used both as comic relief and to give viewers the opportunity to find themselves in the pages of Scripture now brought to life through the show.
The emphasis on the human nature of the disciples is not new, but season three takes it a step further.
Season three attempts to answer the “WHY GOD” question.
Jenkins says the apostles are asking questions like, “‘Why are bad things still happening? Why are we still being oppressed by Rome?’ In the case of Simon, ‘Why is my marriage still struggling?’ Little James who’s handicapped, ‘Why am I still handicapped?’”
The disciples are asking questions, and Jesus is answering, he is present with them in their struggle, and yet many of the hardships remain.
Jenkins’ decision to display the reality of the challenge of following Jesus, right alongside the joy and love of doing so, is both risky and refreshing. The director chose to ask questions in season three neither he nor the cast can fully answer, except with the word of Christ’s promise and invitation found in Matthew 11, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
The narrative storytelling and production quality remain just as high in the show’s new season, which was mainly filmed in Midlothian, Texas, about 25 miles south of Dallas. The talent of Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus; Shahar Isaac, who portrays Simon Peter; and Elizabeth Tabish, who plays Mary Magdalene, is a refreshing reminder that Christian television can be just as good, if not better, than Hollywood series like “The Lord of the Rings” or “Yellowstone.”
Fans can binge the first two seasons of “The Chosen,” which has been translated into more than 50 languages, for free through “The Chosen” app. Episodes one and two of season three are playing in select theaters through Thanksgiving.
This article was updated Sunday to include the quote from Neal Harmon.
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