While the miniature Pride flag on the set of “The Chosen” has certainly earned headlines, there’s another detail about the series sparking questions: its partnership with a leading Hollywood studio.
In mid-May, the Bible-based show inked a distribution deal with Lionsgate, the major film distributor behind “Jesus Revolution,” the latest movie from Christian filmmakers Jon and Andrew Erwin.
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Dallas Jenkins, creator and executive producer of “The Chosen,” recently explained in a livestream video the agreement with Lionsgate, as well as where that leaves Angel Studios, the distributor behind the forthcoming biopic “Sound of Freedom” and the original distributor — and continuing licensee — of “The Chosen,” now entering its fourth season.
“We have entered into an agreement with [Lionsgate], that they are the exclusive third-party distributor of ‘The Chosen,’” explained Jenkins, who went on to note the series will remain available on platforms other than the show’s in-house app, like Netflix, Peacock, Amazon Prime, and the Angel App.
Deals with those streaming partners — as well as dozens of others — were inked by Angel Studios, according to Neal Harmon, the media company’s cofounder and CEO.
In a statement to CBN’s Faithwire, he said, “To date, Angel Studios has helped ‘The Chosen’ reach over 120 million people worldwide in 174 countries, and licensed it to over 100 streaming platforms and distributors in 27 countries. … We’re glad Lionsgate is now coming on board as another partner joining in our shared mission to reach one billion people with ‘The Chosen.’”
Moving forward, as part of the new agreement, Jenkins explained, “Lionsgate is now the distributor responsible for getting [the show] out” to future third-party platforms and networks.
For example, as a result of the Lionsgate deal, “The Chosen” is set to air on The CW beginning in July.
However, because the series originated with Angel Studios, viewers will continue to see the Utah-based production company’s name in the opening credits of each episode and it will remain on the Angel App moving forward, as Angel Studios maintains perpetual rights to the show.
It should also be noted that, as promised from the beginning, Jenkins said all episodes of “The Chosen” will ultimately be available for free to all viewers, both on “The Chosen” App and the Angel App, though, more recently, that has come after theatrical releases of certain episodes.
Brad Pelo, president of “The Chosen,” recently spoke with CBN’s Faithwire about the show’s changing relationship with Angel Studios and its nascent partnership with Lionsgate.
“We were blessed in the early days to have Angel Studios as a partner,” he said. “These were some genius marketing guys who partnered with Dallas and crowdfunded the show, began to introduce it to the market in just beautiful ways. We’re ever-grateful for what they helped us create.”
“The Chosen” was the second original series from Angel Studios, following “Dry Bar Comedy.” The media company stated in late May it will retain “global exclusive rights in the first window for all existing and future seasons.”
Amid the show’s continuing success, however, Pelo asserted it has “outgrown” Angel Studios in terms of expanding distribution opportunities, echoing Jenkins’ words in his livestream, where he said Lionsgate has access “to certain audiences that we can’t get to,” adding, “They have experience and connections that we don’t have.”
Speaking from the set of “The Chosen” in Midlothian, Texas, Pelo further clarified to CBN that — prior to the Lionsgate agreement — Angel Studios “used to be a distributor, used to have the ability to bring a license to third parties, but they no longer do.” That role will now fall to Lionsgate.
Katherine Warnock, vice president of original content for “The Chosen,” described the Angel App as similar to a streaming platform like Netflix or Hulu — except Angel Studios’ content is free of charge — and no longer connected to “The Chosen” App.
“We are one of their shows that they have licensed and can offer,” she said of Angel Studios, reiterating Pelo’s comments. “It is no longer that they have the rights to distribute it, so that’s the difference between [the Angel App and ‘The Chosen’ App].”
Filming is currently underway for the fourth season of “The Chosen,” expected to debut in 2024.
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