Christ the Lord gets an Easter 2016 release date

christthelordoutofegyptChrist the Lord now has a release date. Focus Features has announced that its adaptation of Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, the Anne Rice novel about the early years of Jesus, will come to theatres on March 23, 2016.

That’s almost four weeks after the release date for Timur Bekmambetov’s remake of Ben-Hur.

It also happens to be the Wednesday before Good Friday on the Western calendar. So, like this year’s Heaven Is for Real and next year’s Hillsong United documentary, Christ the Lord will tie in to the Easter weekend but give the holiday itself a bit of breathing room.

The film is being directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh from a script he co-wrote with his wife Betty. No actors have been hired yet, but the filming is set to take place at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome and in Matera, a southern Italian town that has appeared in other Bible movies such as The Gospel according to St. Matthew (1964), King David (1985), The Passion of the Christ (2004) and The Nativity Story (2006).

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Our first look at Moses’ wife in Exodus: Gods and Kings

Exodus: Gods and Kings was shot partly in Spain, and María Valverde, the actress who plays Moses’ wife Sephora, is Spanish herself, so it makes sense that our first look at the character comes now courtesy of the Spanish magazine Fotogramas.

The photo here (click on it for a slightly larger version) popped up on Imgur, but I have not seen the actual article anywhere yet, so I don’t know what secrets from the set the actress may have spilled.

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The tallest man in Canada is playing Goliath in a new movie

The makers of David and Goliath, which recently finished shooting in London and North Africa, issued a press release Tuesday announcing that the part of Goliath is being played in their film by Jerry Sokoloski, who happens to be the tallest man in Canada.

Estimates vary as to how tall, exactly, Sokoloski is. When he visited the Canadian TV show Breakfast Television several years ago, they measured him at 7’4”, but he said he had been measured “between that height and up to seven feet, 5.5 inches.” The David and Goliath press release says he’s even taller, at 7’8”.

As I mentioned in an earlier post on this film, estimates also vary as to how tall the biblical Goliath was. Most of the earliest manuscripts say he was about 6’9”, but the Masoretic text used by most English translations gives his height as 9’9”. So Sokoloski is either too tall for the part or too short.

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Box-office update: Persecuted is another “faith-based” dud

The “faith-based” genre produced another dud this past weekend. Persecuted — in which an evangelist is framed for murder by a corrupt politician, thereby unleashing “an unprecedented era of persecution” — opened to a measly $851,391 on 736 screens this week.

The film ranked #19 at the box office. Four of the films that ranked above it actually played on fewer screens (Think Like a Man Too, Edge of Tomorrow, Chef and especially Boyhood), and the film’s $1,157 per-screen average was the second-lowest in the top 25.

This comes just five weeks after the once-hyped Alone Yet Not Alone opened to $534,626 — on only 103 screens! — before sputtering out with less than a million bucks altogether. (The film had earned $887,851 as of July 2, and presumably not much more since then.)

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Hillsong United documentary tweaks its Easter release date

Apparently it just occurred to someone involved with the upcoming Hillsong United concert movie that releasing a “faith-based” film on Good Friday — a day when many people are remembering the death of Jesus with solemn church services and the like — might not have been the wisest thing. Or maybe they’re just trying to get out of the path of Fast & Furious 7 and the Nicholas Sparks romance The Longest Ride, which are also set to come out that day. In any case, Deadline reports that the release date has been moved back from April 3 to April 1, i.e. the Wednesday before the Easter weekend. In this, the film is following in the footsteps of Heaven Is for Real, which was released on the Wednesday before Easter this year.

Moses holds a sword to Ramses’ throat and soldiers hold spears galore in new Exodus: Gods and Kings photos

At least fourteen photos and three posters were released this month during the run-up to the first trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings. Now, thanks to a website called Pissed Off Geek, we have at least three more images for our collections.

The most striking, to me, is this shot of Moses holding a sword to Ramses’ throat, which was hinted at in the trailer but is much more explicit in this photo. And look at how much taller Moses is! I can’t think of another movie about the Exodus that made Moses so much more physically imposing, even threatening, than the Pharaoh he confronts. Even Charlton Heston, for all his statuesque poses, was content to proclaim things, point his fingers, and let God and his miracles take care of the rest. (And the Pharaoh opposing him was played by Yul Brynner, who was no slouch in the alpha-male department himself.)

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