Filmmaker Jon Erwin says his father often told him to “dream big, dream bold, dream the impossible.”
Erwin has followed that advice, and earlier this year many of those dreams came true with his hit faith-based movie “I Can Only Imagine,” which grossed $83 million to become the No. 1 movie all time from Roadside Attractions. It even surpassed that studio’s most famous release, the Oscar-winning “Manchester by the Sea” ($47 million).
Erwin now is ready to announce his next projects, which involve a new production company and a series of films that are possible only because of the staggering success of I Can Only Imagine. The company even has the support of a Hollywood studio. Erwin calls it “unprecedented.”
“Hollywood responds to success,” Erwin told Baptist Press. “That is the currency in Hollywood.”
Erwin, his brother Andy and their production partner Kevin Downes have formed a new filmmaking company, Kingdom, which will bring multiple filmmakers together to create a “pipeline of event movies” that proclaim a biblical message and “serve the church,” Erwin told Baptist Press.
He likens it to a “Christian Pixar or a Christian Marvel” studio that is able to work on multiple films at one time, but all with the quality that moviegoers expect from an Erwin-branded movie. Some movies will be directed by the Erwins, while others will employ other veteran or upcoming directors. Lionsgate will distribute them.
Erwin is scheduled to announce Kingdom’s first lineup of films at the National Religious Broadcasters meeting March 26 in Anaheim, Calif. At least one of those will be directed by the Erwins.
“We’re going to be unveiling what I feel is a great leap forward and a vision for what can be accomplished in Hollywood on behalf of Christianity,” Erwin said. “And we’re also going to be unveiling multiple films. It’s going to be real exciting.”
One of the movies is expected to focus on the Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s, according to a Tweet from author and pastor Greg Laurie, who is Erwin’s friend. Erwin told BP he could not confirm the report but did say he had “fallen in love with the story of America’s last great spiritual awakening.”
The vision for Kingdom, Erwin said, began with a desire to impact the culture and spread the Gospel through movies, which he calls “America’s second largest export.” A group effort is needed for faith-movies, Erwin said, because he and his brother are limited in what they can do. A single film takes two to three years to complete.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press, Michael Foust