Chris Lange, FISM News
Building on its remarkable success in the U.S., the “Jesus Revolution” movie is now showing in international markets.
The film’s co-director, Jon Erwin, recently told Christian Headlines that the hit film chronicling the hippie “Jesus Movement” of the ‘60s and ‘70s has been released in Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Singapore and will soon launch in Latin America and the U.K.
“Entertainment is America’s second-largest export behind agriculture,” Erwin said. “So when you make something popular in the U.S., and when an audience really champions it, they send it around the world. And so a lot of Christians might not realize that as we support a film here, it enables a global release.”
The Lionsgate film grossed more than $52 million domestically over its eight-week run, earning more than $15 million in its opening weekend. The success of the film earned Erwin his fourth A+ CinemaScore rating, setting a movie industry record. “Jesus Revolution” was released on digital platforms in April.
Erwin, who co-directed the film with Brent McCorkle, credited its success, in large part, to individuals and churches who donated to a crowdfunding campaign to help market “Jesus Revolution” and bought extra tickets to give away to friends and family members.
“A lot of people ask, are we just preaching to the choir? We found it’s actually the choir that launches the product,” he said, adding that faith-based films can serve as a powerful tool in sharing the Gospel in places where people don’t have access to Christ-honoring entertainment.
“The whole reason we made the movie was [that] if God did it before it, God can do it again,” Erwin continued. “The world needs a Jesus revolution, perhaps now more than any other time in my lifetime.”
Audiences who “champion” films like “Jesus Revolution” may not realize that they play a major role in bringing the Gospel message to other nations that don’t have access to faith-based entertainment, according to Erwin.
“So really, if a big movie becomes successful, and you saw it in America, 10 other people are gonna see it around the world because of you. And I think that’s not something that people understand,” he said, adding: “It’s really cool.”
“Jesus Revolution,” a Lionsgate film, focuses on an unlikely friendship between three men credited with sparking the nationwide Christian revival of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s that became known as the “Jesus Movement,” a phrase coined by Time Magazine.
The revival that began in California and spread across the nation came in the midst of one of the most tumultuous periods in American history – one marked by the Vietnam War, student protests, the sexual revolution, and the nascent Civil Rights movement. In their restless pursuit of life’s meaning and “free love,” many young boomers were drawn to the message of unconditional love found in the Bible and personified in Jesus.
“Jesus Revolution” stars Jonathan Roumie (“The Chosen”), Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier, ” “Cheers”), Joel Courtney, Kimberly Williams-Paisley (“Father of the Bride”), and Anna Grace Barlow.
Erwin and his brother, Andrew Erwin, founded Kingdom Story Company, an American film and television studio in partnership with Lionsgate, the Christian film production company behind the Box office hit “I Can Only Imagine” and other popular faith-based films.
ARE WE WITNESSING ANOTHER ‘JESUS MOVEMENT’?
FISM reported earlier this month that more than 4,000 people publicly proclaimed their salvation through Christ in an unprecedented mass baptism that took place at Pirate’s Cove, a Jesus Movement landmark depicted in “Jesus Revolution.” “Baptize SoCal” was a collaborative effort undertaken by Oceans Church in Irvine, California, and hundreds of other houses of worship. Roughly 8,000 people were in attendance.
The historic event took place less than three months after a group of students at Asbury University in Wilmington, Kentucky, spontaneously extended a mandatory church service that precipitated the weeks-long revival known as “Asbury Outpouring.” The non-stop worship service swept across college campuses throughout the U.S. and spread to places as far away as Singapore and Australia. It was some 50 years ago that another group of students at Asbury also sparked a revival that played a significant role in the Jesus Movement.