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‘The Chosen’ Season 5 Starts Production in April, as Season 4 Prepares to Hit Broadcast and Streaming After Theatrical Run (EXCLUSIVE)

Hit faith-based drama “The Chosen,” which just launched its fourth season in theaters via a partnership with Fathom Events, is already prepping the start of production for Season 5 next month. Variety has confirmed that cameras will begin rolling on “The Chosen” Season 5 in Utah starting April 11; the series will shoot there for six weeks before shifting to the show’s home base in Texas for the remainder of the production.

“The Chosen” has been mapped out as a seven-season series; for Season 5, the show will pick up where Season 4 left off, during Holy Week before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Back for Season 5 are the full “The Chosen” cast, including Jonathan Roumie as Jesus.

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Also returning is exec producer Dallas Jenkins, who directs and also writes with Ryan Swanson and Tyler Thompson. “The Chosen” also continues to be a fully independent production, with global distribution rights handled by Lionsgate.

“The response to Season 4 has been overwhelming so far, which provides a nice lift for us as we head into filming,” Jenkins told Variety. “Of course, we’re about to try to portray the most famous week in the history of humans, so the euphoria from the previous season never lasts long. The entire Season 6 will cover one day, so covering one week in Season 5 feels luxurious.”

Jenkins added that he’s most excited to get to work on the set for the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus gets betrayed and arrested. “No one’s ever seen what we’ve got planned for that sequence,” he said.

“The Chosen” Season 4 opened last month No. 2 at the domestic box office, with $8.6 million after just six days in theaters. Timed to Holy Week, the show’s theatrical run was recently extended from Thursday, March 28 to March 30 (with the season’s eight episodes spread out over three days), and the first two episodes have also been made also available for screenings at churches via a grant from the Come and See Foundation.

“The Chosen” is also being released theatrical worldwide in 30 additional territories — most recently in Brazil, where Season 4 premiered in Sao Paulo last week, followed by a release on more than 1,100 screens in the country (marking 1/3rd of all screens in Brazil).

“One of the things we’re doing differently this year is releasing all of the episodes in theater,” said Kyle Young, the exec VP of distribution and marketing for “The Chosen.” “It’s innovative, it’s disruptive. Last year, we did a little bit of that with Season 3. It has been a wonderful experience for fans to watch it in community together, laughing at the jokes and being able to cry together.”

“The Chosen” started in 2017 as a partnership between Jenkins and Angel Studios, originally financed through crowdfunding. The show was originally distributed mostly on “The Chosen” app, but last year the show greatly expanded its distribution footprint to third-party outlets like The CW on broadcast. And its windows were shortened, so “The Chosen” hit streaming services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Peacock soon after its premiere on the app.

“One of the things that we did differently with Season 3 was we expanded our partnership with streaming platforms and with broadcasters,” Young said. “Prior to 2023, we were really an app-first model where Seasons 1 and 2 were maybe in the app for a year or a year and a half before they released anywhere else. With Season 3, we shortened that significantly. And last year, the audience grew so significantly. Part of the goal at ‘The Chosen’ is to get the show in front of as many people as possible. It took the first four years of the series to reach 100 million people. And then in the last 15 months, we’ve reached another 100 million people.”

Beyond theatrical, Season 4 distribution will next go to “The Chosen” app, followed by home video and third-party broadcast and streamer outlets. The CW has not yet confirmed if it plans to pick up the new season, having previously aired the first three seasons last summer and fall. The series grew throughout its run on the network, ending with 719,000 viewers on Christmas Eve for the Season 3 finale, making it the most-watched telecast on Sunday night that season.

Young said there’s no timetable yet for when Season 4 might premiere on broadcast and streaming. And beyond that, he says “The Chosen” team is exploring whether to switch to making “The Chosen” exclusive to one outlet.

“That is something we’re exploring,” he said. “As we’ve adapted our distribution model, we can see that there’s huge appetite for the show on partner platforms. But a non-exclusive licensed series is not going to get a lot of promotion on the platform, because they don’t own it, and it’s on other people’s platforms. We’ll see where we go. But part of the promise of ‘The Chosen’ is that there always be some kind of free component via ‘The Chosen’ app. So, working through all the things is complex.”

Young said the success of “The Chosen” this past year even took his team by surprise. “There’s a much higher awareness of the series now,” he said. “Some of our research shows that something like almost 50 million Americans have now sampled the show. And there’s a huge amount of retention, as they watch subsequent episodes and even the full three seasons. And of course, I would say that with this director, the producers, the writers, this show is really good. The real secret here is that people really love the show.”

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