Episodes of online series The Chosen could be #2 at the weekend box office

The Menu should be number 2 for the weekend leading up to Thanksgiving, but an early look at the faith-based online series might beat it.

It’s not just Netflix and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. More streaming content seems to be gaining a foothold in theaters ahead of an online premiere. What would be an amazing surprise: The first two episodes of Season 3 of The Chosen (Fathom Events), a faith-based, crowdfunded online episode series, looks poised to hit #2 in theaters this weekend.

Sources with access to opening day ticket sales to date estimate it could make $9 million to $10 million for the weekend. That would put it in a race with Searchlight’s comedy horror The Menu behind the second weekend of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

Creator Dallas Jenkins’ series is available to stream on Peacock, among others, and focuses on the years Jesus spent as an apostle with his disciples. The new season will have eight episodes, which will be available at an undetermined date after the first two are in cinemas.

Fathom and other niche content providers have become more important to theaters beyond one or two day weekday programs (new films, concerts, sporting events, opera, revivals). But the release of the first episodes of an online series with a Friday opening and a week (or longer) screening capability is breaking new ground.

Originally booked for November 18-22, The Chosen is expected to be extended based on early results, though next weekend’s screens are heavily booked, according to Fathom CEO Ray Nutt. It follows last year’s Christmas with the Chosen: The Messengers, which Fathom also distributed. It opened midweek on December 1, with the combined film and a single episode of the series ultimately grossing $13 million, Fathom’s highest grossing to date.

This program ranked #4 over the weekend with gross profits of $9 million for the first five days and nearly $5 million for the first Wednesday and Thursday. Much like this year, much of the gross came from pre-sales, particularly group sales marketed through church groups, and with the large base of viewers following the series online.

Even more impressive is that many of the 2,012 theaters (a record for them and well past Fathom owners AMC, Cinemark, and Regal) have limited shows, with a matinee and evening show at some. However, checking the seating charts shows that it is ahead of almost every other film with a busy schedule.

Aside from theaters, which are grateful for additional programming, this could be seen by other TV, cable, and streaming platforms as a way to give a sneak peek at upcoming shows. And if so, that’ll take a page out of Netflix’s playbook with Glass Onion. It further reinforces the notion that playing in theaters is the best way to get attention for future home theater.

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https://www.indiewire.com/2022/11/the-chosen-weekend-box-office-1234784069/ Episodes of online series The Chosen could be #2 at the weekend box office

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