The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 22, 2014

Rich Brown: Webb City theater owners eager to screen 'Son of God'

WEBB CITY, Mo. — Scott and Nancy Hutson have always been excited about getting Christian films to show at their Route 66 Movie Theater in Webb City, but excitement might be an understatement when it comes to the one opening Friday at their theater and also nationwide.

"Son of God," a 20th Century Fox-distributed version of the highly successful "Bible" miniseries that enjoyed a five-week run on the History Channel, will be one of several Bible-based movies released this year.

Among those are "Noah," starring Russell Crowe on March 28 and "Exodus," starring Christian Bale as Moses, on Dec. 12.

"Son of God" will focus just on the story of Jesus Christ from the "Bible" miniseries, which averaged 11.4 million viewers and became the top-selling miniseries on DVD of all time.

As of last week, two area churches, Carterville Christian and Faith Tabernacle in Joplin, had already purchased group tickets for "Son of God," which will run at designated times through March 9.

Hutson said the film should help people to see Jesus in a different venue outside the church walls. Not only is it a film that nationally-known pastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen calls the best Jesus movie he has ever seen, it is something more.

Hutson, director of advancement for Life of Hope Ministries as well as a chaplain with International Fellowship of Chaplains, said it is also a great tool for evangelizing and outreach.

"We mailed a newsletter out to churches all around our area using the thought process that this is a great opportunity not just to bring church people but to bring their friends to a movie about the son of God and witness to them," she said.

Hutson said she and her husband discuss what movies to show at their theater with their movie agent in Kansas City. The agent has his own newsletter that gives reviews and provides information about what is going on in the industry.

"He did an article a couple of months ago about how faith-based movies are making a comeback," she said. "He said that faith-based movies will be a big thing this year."

Religious organizations throughout the nation have been buying out screens and distributing tickets to groups of thousands of people for what production company Lightworkers Media is referring to as "theater takeovers."

Mega-church pastor Rick Warren is buying out screens in eight different theaters throughout Orange County, Calif., for the showing of "Son of God." He said that of all the films he has seen about Jesus in the past 50 years, this is the best. Hutson added that there is no more powerful way to experience the story of Jesus than on the big screen.

"Son of God," which stars Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado as Jesus, not only promises to feature powerful performances, exotic locales and tremendous visual effects but also a memorable orchestral score from Oscar-winner Hans Zimmer.

The film goes from Jesus' humble birth through his teachings, crucifixion and ultimate resurrection. It marks the first motion picture about Christ's life since "Passion of the Christ," released 10 years ago.

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