In this month's faith & family news: Pure Flix shows off new content to the National Religious Broadcasters Convention; The Chosen adds a new distributor; and a nun of the Old West gets her story told.
Pure Flix and Great American Media Show Off Their Slate
On the heels of news that faith & family streamer Pure Flix would be merging with Great American Media -- the company behind the fast-growing Great American Family channel and its sister channels -- the duo came to Orlando to show off a new programming slate to assembled religious broadcasters.
“Great American Media is thrilled to be at NRB alongside Pure Flix to unveil a compelling content slate featuring stories that will entertain and inspire audiences of all ages. We are looking forward to combining our business after the merger closes,” said Bill Abbott, President and CEO of Great American Media.
Pure Flix previously announced the company will merge with Great American Media’s portfolio of family-friendly cable and FAST (free ad-supporting streaming TV) channels to serve the large and underserved faith and family market.
The Religion News link above has all the details, but here are some highlights:
- A new movie for Father's Day on June 16, called God's Country Song, in which a man rediscovers his faith and reconnects with his father. It features 15 original songs, performed by Justin Gaston, Coffey Anderson and others.
- A new, seven-episode original series called Revelation Road: The Series, starring David A.R. White, Brian Bosworth, Andrea Logan and Bruce Marchiano, exploring notions of the end times.
- An announcement of a fifth film in the God's Not Dead franchise, beginning production in July. David A.R. White, Dean Can, Ray Wise and Isaiah Washington reprise their roles in the film, slated for theaters in Spring 2024.
Other upcoming films feature T.C. Stallings, Ashley Bratcher, John Schneider, Vivica A. Fox, Lucas Black and Sarah Drew.
The Chosen Adds Lionsgate as a Distributor
As The Chosen becomes more popular worldwide, more expensive to produce and generates more revenue, new entities are getting a piece of the action.
The hit Gospels-based show was originally crowdfunded through Angel Studios, and distributed through the Angel Studios app.
As previously reported, the nonprofit Come and See Foundation was established to support tax-deductible donations, language translations, and distribution.
That partnership with The Chosen allowed for the creation of a new app, and now the show is available through both that app and the one from Angel Studios.
The show's first two seasons (the third just concluded) are also available through Peacock and Amazon Prime Video, and the first season is on Netflix. It's also available through various European services.
Select episodes of the show, usually with musical productions attached, have also raked in $35M in theaters.
Now, studio Lionsgate -- already home to the Erwin Bros.' faith-based Kingdom Story Company (Jesus Revolution) -- has acquired the sub-licensing distribution rights to The Chosen.
But that definitely doesn't mean it has acquired the show completely.
The Come and See Foundation will retain and manage licensing rights for all activities within the non-profit sector. After any theatrical release, the Angel Studios app and “The Chosen” app have global exclusive rights in the first window for all existing and future seasons. Angel Studios has perpetual rights, and has exclusive perpetual rights to NFTs.
Angel Studios issued a clarification after versions of this announcement were made in various publications.
In part, it said:
After any theatrical release, the Angel Studios app and The Chosen app have global exclusive rights in the first window for all existing and future seasons.
Lionsgate only has sub-licensing distribution rights worldwide, after Angel’s exclusive window.
Angel Studios has perpetual rights to The Chosen, exclusive perpetual rights to The Chosen NFTs, and The Chosen will always be an Angel Original.
The new agreement between The Chosen and Angel Studios allows for worldwide sublicensing of The Chosen to be handled by a 3rd party. Lionsgate will now represent sublicensing worldwide outside of the global exclusive release window in the Angel Studios app and The Chosen app. This is an agreement between The Chosen and Lionsgate directly.
Simply put, following any theatrical releases, the apps belonging to Angel Studios and The Chosen will have an exclusive global release window for new episodes.
Outside that window, Lionsgate will handle licensing the show to other entities.
As the show grows, this is no doubt becoming a massive financial and legal task, one which major studio Lionsgate is probably better equipped to handle.
As series creator Dallas Jenkins said to Variety:
“Lionsgate is perfect for us,” said Jenkins. “They’re strong and experienced in the areas we’re not, but they also understand what’s unique about us and will protect that. We’ll continue to do what we do best unabated, and they’ll expand our efforts with their tremendous distribution team.”
Here's a video update on production of the upcoming fourth season, again starring Catholic actor (and FTP pal) Jonathan Roumie as Jesus:
A Wild West Nun at Cannes
On May 20, 2023, At the End of the Santa Fe Trail screened at the Festival de Cannes Marchė du Film in France.
Directed by Tomas Sanchez, it tells the fact-based story of Sister of Charity of Cincinnati Maria Rosa Segale, better known as Sister Blandina.
From the official site of the Sisters of Charity:
Sister Blandina, played by New Mexico actress Alma Sisneros, was a young nun sent by the Catholic Church to the western territories in 1872.
At a time when lawlessness and brutality were in the norm; surrounded by cowboys, Native Americans, outlaws, and new immigrants from all over the world, Sister Blandina displayed courage, tough-mindedness, an unyielding spirit and a deep and inspiring religious faith and belief that everyone deserves God’s mercy and charity.
One of the Wild West figures Sister Blandina encountered was baptized Catholic outlaw William H. Bonney, a k a Billy the Kid (subject of a recent Epix series).
The film was first released last December, and only time will tell if it's picked up for distribution.
Click here for the official website.
Image: Logos courtesy of Pure Flix, Great American Family and The Chosen INC
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Content Manager at Family Theater Productions.