"The Chosen" Appeals to Fans for More Financial Support
The creator of the hit streaming series about the life of Christ asks for help to bring the show to its stated goal of one-billion viewers.
Among the many things The Chosen does well is raising money, having brought in $10 million from supporters for season one, which turned it into the all-time crowdfunding champion among media projects. And since creator/director Dallas Jenkins and his partners decided to make the show free to watch, they have funded it primarily via a hugely successful - and voluntary - pay-it-forward program. How successful? It brought in approximately $18 million to make the coming third season.
The show, which stars Jonathan Roumie as Jesus, should start filming season three on April 25th, according to Jenkins, who last night conducted a livestream event to update followers. Somewhat surprisingly, he also spent a considerable amount of time asking for more donations through that pay-it-forward scheme.
As justification, the committed Christian first said he and his writing partners wrote 40 more pages for this coming season than they did for season two - nearly equaling a full episode more and thus necessitating 15 extra days of shooting - and don't really want to cut anything; that will obviously be more expensive to produce. He then referenced possible delays once filming begins at a new studio facility in Texas because not all of the construction is yet complete, meaning even more money might need to be spent to cover costs of a hiatus in production.
Jenkins was quite transparent, saying that only about five percent of the show's viewers actually contribute via pay-it-forward, adding that that is in some ways "a good thing," because "people who can't afford it all over the world get to see it still for free." Another part of the impetus for more funding - he never named a specific figure - is to help expand the program's global footprint by additional marketing abroad and translating it into ever more foreign languages (there are scores already).
He also revealed that straight off the top, 25% of all pay-it-forward funds go for marketing purposes to Angel Studios, a Mormon-owned company that is also the show's distributor. Based in Utah, that outfit has been involved from the beginning and was instrumental in making the original crowdfunding campaign such a huge success.
The director thanked all the fans who contribute already and added that he is "not begging," but rather wants them to "know the situation" so they "can choose to do with that what (they) will." Though the show has thus far eschewed advertising, Jenkins mentioned they could find themselves "in a situation where eventually we take ads" in an effort to reach the goal of helping "a billion people to know and see the authentic Jesus."
Interestingly, he did not reference what came of all the money made from the theatrical release of last year's Christmas special - north of $13 million - or from streaming service deals or domestic and international TV agreements. While Christian Film Blog has never seen a total number of the show's revenue/income, by our own estimates, it must be in the neighborhood of $45 million: not a huge amount by network TV standards for three 8-episode seasons, but it is still a very significant sum of money.
If you'd like to watch the entire livestream - it is quite long at more than two hours - you can do so below. Most of these financial issues are handled in the first 20 minutes, with the balance of time being split between interviews Jenkins conducts with cast members and the production team, who update the status of the new set and sound stage under construction right now in Texas.