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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Bible Coming to Big Screens

Written by Kyle Slagley

Earlier this year, beginning in March to be exact, it seemed like everyone was talking about The Bible – The Epic Miniseries that ran every Sunday on the History Channel. The miniseries consisted of ten episodes and History ran two episodes per Sunday—because March contained five Sundays in 2013, the series was perfectly timed so that the final episodes depicting Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection were aired on Easter Sunday, March 31.

The miniseries set viewing records consistently during March, and after reruns, syndications, and translations for foreign airings, over 100 million people viewed the saga. In its first week on DVD and Blu-ray, it sold over half a million copies, making it the fastest-selling TV show on disc since 2008.

Now, the big news concerning the series is that it will be heading to the big screen in an abridged adaptation titled Son of God. Husband-and-wife producing duo Roma Downey (of Touched by an Angel fame) and Mark Burnett (whose production credits include Survivor, The Apprentice, and The Voice), announced earlier this week that the final five episodes of the miniseries would be condensed into a 2.5-hour feature film and would release on February 28, 2014 – the Friday before Ash Wednesday.

Just prior to the miniseries premiere, Downey and Burnett released a novel titled A Story of God and All of Us that debuted at No. 27 on the NY Times Bestseller list. Considering the success of The Bible, it’s unsurprising that NBC has already commissioned a follow-up from Downey and Burnett. Little is known about the project, other than that it will portray the early days of Christianity and will be titled A.D.: Beyond the Bible; there is no known premiere date yet.

The year 2014 is shaping up to be a year of multiple biblical blockbusters, in fact. In addition to Son of God releasing on February 28, a feature film about the Great Flood will also release exactly one month later on March 28.

Noah, starring Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins, has been in development for some time. The storyline is, well, fairly self-explanatory: it’s the story of Noah, his ark, and the Great Flood. The real twist in the coming adaptation, from what I understand, is that far from the grand and majestic Noah we all came to know in Sunday School, Crowe’s Noah will be a much more conflicted man who struggles with survivor’s guilt, making him much more relatable.

With Easter Sunday on April 20 next year, moviegoers will have ample time to see both films before the holiday. For a larger selection of biblical films and adaptations, check out our collection here.

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