One Jesus movie vacated its release date, so now another Jesus movie is moving in.
Last week, Timur Bekmambetov’s adaptation of Ben-Hur got bumped from its original release date in February to a new one in August. So today, Sony Pictures announced that Risen — which tells the story of a Roman soldier who goes looking for the missing body of Jesus — is getting bumped from January 22 to February 19, 2016.
That’s one week before Ben-Hur was going to open, and it’s very similar to the release dates for earlier Jesus movies like The Passion of the Christ (February 25, 2004) and Son of God (February 28, 2014). January has traditionally been something of a dumping ground for new releases with low prospects, so the fact that Risen is now being released in February is an auspicious sign, box-office-wise.
The other films currently getting wide releases on February 19 are the Jesse Owens biopic Race, the horror film Viral and the Naomi Watts thriller Shut In.
Risen will now be opening two weeks after Hail, Caesar!, the Coen brothers comedy that includes a parody of 1950s Jesus movies, and three weeks before The Young Messiah. It will also open five weeks before Easter on the western calendar.