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February 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The producers of Son of God, which opens this weekend, have eschewed traditional movie marketing and are instead directly targeting churches and other Christian groups — mostly via the Internet. The film has three dedicated websites,, which offers general information about the film and endorsements from more than 100 Christian leaders. It connects to, which provides information to groups on how to promote the movie locally, and, where small groups can promote the movie with posters and leaflets and download event kits. Several larger churches are helping to fund what they call a “theater takeover,” the website Christian Cinema said today (Thursday). “By purchasing thousands of seats, a church can ensure that every single screen in the theater only shows the one film. Tickets are handed out to the church congregation with instructions to bring friends and family who do not attend church, and the local press is invited to highlight the event,” the website said. The relief organization Compassion International has bought 225,000 tickets for screenings in 40 cities including most of the major ones, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Traditional box-office tracking experts concede that they’re unable to predict how such marketing will affect the box office this weekend. “Any time you’re dealing with non-traditional marketing, it throws the tracking for a loop,” analyst Phil Contrino told He’s projecting an opening in the $15 million range. That’s also the number that 20th Century Fox, which is distributing the movie, has come up with. But Fox distribution chief Chris Aronson told The Wrap: “Honestly, because of the faith-based element, we just don’t know, so it wouldn’t shock me if it did $25 million.” Ten years ago Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ leaped to a $125.2 million five-day opening.