A movie with a Greek cinematographer netted an extraordinary amount at the box office over the weekend, with The Chosen’s Christmas special grabbing what some reports are calling an “extraordinary” $9 million in the run-up to Christmas.
“Christmas With the Chosen: The Messengers,” directed by Dallas Jenkins, with cinematography by Akis Konstantinopoulos, attracted impressive crowds all over the United States for its unique combination of gospel music and a Christmas special showing the drama of the birth of Jesus in Nazareth.
Forbes reports that the feature-length version of the popular streaming show presented in theaters from December 1 through 10 by Fathom Events, garnered what they called “miraculous” box office receipts this past weekend.
The Chosen actors Jonathan Roumie, George Xanthis, Stelios Savante also have Greek roots
For now, until the next season comes out, its army of dedicated fans are lapping up The Chosen’s Christmas special and the Gospel performances that are part of the theater experience, as presented in cinemas that are managed by Fathom Events.
The crowdfunding for the streamed series has been the most successful to date for any project; viewers, who can watch the series for free on its app or online, are encouraged to “pay it forward” so that others can view it — and so that new seasons can be funded.
The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season series based on the true stories of the gospels of Jesus Christ.
The first two seasons of the show have been viewed a total of 160 million times.
The series portrays Jesus in the eyes of those that met and followed him, including Mary Magdalene, who battled demons to do so; Simon/Peter, a strong-willed fisherman whose personal faults are so like many of our own, and Matthew, a tax collector who was shunned by his family and community.
The cinematography is notable for its hand-held shots that portray the real-life difficulties, uncertainty and upheaval that was part of the lives of Jesus and his followers.
Cinematographer Akis Konstantakopoulos an award-winning cinematographer who has lensed more than 20 feature films in eight countries. Born in 1984 in Thessaloniki, he is a graduate of Harvard University and the American Film Institute (AFI), and is a protege of the Oscar-nominated cinematographer Phedon Papamichael.
After moving to the US at the age of 18, he received his MFA in Cinematography from the American Film Institute and his BA in Film Production from Harvard College. He is a member of the GSC (Greek Society of Cinematographers).
Jonathan Roumie, who portrays Jesus in the series, also has Greek roots since his father is a Greek man from Egypt. He has modeled the accent he uses in the show after his father’s soft Egyptian dialect.
Other Greeks who have major parts to play in The Chosen’s Christmas special and the ongoing series are Australian actor George Xanthis, who grew up in Sydney, who portrays John, and Stelios Savante, who portrayed Moses in an early episode.