The Christian filmmaker behind the hit revival movie thinks a similar movement could spread through America and around the globe.
Having beaten all expectations with more than $52 million in domestic ticket revenue, Jesus Revolution is now rolling out internationally. As we previously reported, the film debuted last week in both New Zealand and Australia, placing seventh and ninth, respectively, at the box office on opening night.
In Australia, the movie released in 160 theaters, which is double the usual footprint for a faith-based film in that country and is the most venues ever, according to The Canberra Declaration. That Christian organization recently interviewed Jon Erwin about the film, which tells the true story of America's last great revival from the 1960s and early 1970s. The co-writer/co-director - who is half of the Erwin Brothers' duo together with his elder sibling Andrew (a producer on this movie) - admitted to an ulterior motive for making the picture.
"This was a very selfish exercise for me, because I just wanted to feel what revival felt like. We felt it while we were making the film, especially while we were doing the baptisms."
Those events were filmed at the same place where they originally took place: at Pirate's Cove in Southern California. Now pastor Greg Laurie was a teenager at the time and among those baptized there. The film is based partially on a book he wrote, also entitled Jesus Revolution, and his character is portrayed by lead actor Joel Courtney.
Erwin says his goal in filmmaking is "first and foremost...to entertain the audience," but as a committed Believer, that is not the end of what he hopes to bring to moviegoers.
"Once we've done that, I really do feel like the right story can change your life. And that's one of the reasons why we love true stories, because when you watch a true story of transformation, you instantly begin to think, 'Maybe this could happen to me.'"
The Alabama native adds that in the case of the revival portrayed in the movie, "If it happened then, it can happen now." With the recent wave of revival events at American colleges, Erwin - who attended the one where it first began in February at Asbury University in Kentucky - thinks it may be coming soon on a grand scale.
"I really do feel like we could be on the verge of another Jesus Revolution today: not only in America, but around the world. And, indeed, the Jesus Revolution of the 70s spread to the globe. So, that's my hope and that's my prayer."
Jesus Revolution is now playing in fewer than 100 locations in the U.S. as it winds down its theatrical release. It is, however, available for purchase in digital format and on DVD and Blu-ray. The film will continue to release in theaters over the coming months internationally, including in the United Kingdom, where it will debut on June 9th.