|Studios work to bring Jesus back to the big screen|
|Written by Eric Tiansay|
|Tuesday, 12 March 2013 08:30 AM EDT|
Several competing Jesus movie projects are in the works, including one from the grandson of the "Left Behind" series co-author Tim LaHaye.
"It's been nine years since Mel Gibson's crucifixion drama, The Passion of The Christ, grossed $612 million worldwide," The Hollywood Reporter observed. "Now, after several false starts, competing producers are attempting a natural follow-up about Christ's resurrection."
The "inside track" might belong to Tim LaHaye Productions, run by Randy LaHaye, grandson of Tim LaHaye, the trade publication of the entertainment industry reported.
Seven years ago, the Tim LaHaye reportedly had a deal with Sony's Screen Gems to produce The Resurrection from a screenplay by Lionel Chetwynd, but the movie was scrapped when Ben Feingold, Sony's then-president of home entertainment, was ousted in 2006.
Since then, Randy LaHaye has raised $20 million through private equity, and he plans to shoot the Chetwynd script next year for release around Easter 2015, The Hollywood Reporter reported.
"Our goal is to shoot some of it in Israel, where Jesus walked and the disciples spoke to one another," Randy LaHaye said.
Meanwhile, American Trademark Pictures, which has $30 million to produce and $45 million from FilmCrest—the company that provided the initial funding for The Passion of The Christ—plans to release The Resurrection of the Christ. The title, though, could change to Golgotha, a reference to the place where Jesus was crucified, and the movie could be the first installment in a trilogy.
"Ours is a Ridley Scott, Gladiator approach told from the perspective of the Romans," Producer Bill McKay told The Hollywood Reporter.
A nonprofit called In Jesus' Name Productions is working on The Messiah, a film exploring "the events surrounding Jesus' death, resurrection and Pentecost." Slated for a 2015 release, the movie is from Executive Producer David Wood, who is seeking to raise $25 million through a crowd-funding campaign that asks 1 million Christians to give $25 apiece to become "spiritual producers."
"All the resurrection movies use the Bible as source material, but ours will rely more on special effects," Wood said. "We'll even show heaven and hell and see what's going on there."
A non-resurrection film, Mary Mother of Christ, will be executive-produced by pastor and author Joel Osteen and distributed by Lionsgate.