EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company have nabbed The Best Christmas Pageant ever which The Chosen creator/producer/director Dallas Jenkins will direct and adapt from Barbara Robinson’s comedic family book and play. Cameras roll next month in Canada for a 2024 holiday theatrical release.
Jenkins pursued a 15-year journey to secure the rights to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, rights which have been stewarded by Darin McDaniel, Chet Thomas, and Gerald R. Molen. The book has sold over 7M copies since it was published in 1972.
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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever centers on the Herdmans – absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. But this Christmas, they’re taking over their local church Pageant – and they just might unwittingly teach a shocked community the true meaning of Christmas.
The pic will be produced by Kingdom Story’s Kevin Downes, Daryl Lefever, Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin alongside Darin McDaniel and Chet Thomas. Jenkins will executive produce with Gerald R. Molen, Mark Kendell and Tony Young. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever will begin production next month in Canada and is planned for a holiday release in 2024.
The production builds on the strong partnership between Kingdom and Lionsgate; companies’ most recent movie, Jesus Revolution, grossing over $50M back in the spring. Their next film, Ordinary Angels, starring Hilary Swank and Alan Ritchson, is set for release Feb. 23, 2024, followed by Unsung Hero, starring for King + Country’s Joel Smallbone and Daisy Betts set for release April 26, 2024.
Lionsgate acquired the global television distribution rights to The Chosen earlier this year and has already secured licensing deals for the series with Peacock, The CW, and Amazon, where it has been a top 10 series since the launch of Season 3 earlier this year. The highly anticipated fourth season will debut next February.
Jenkins today released a video in which he tells fans the full story of his commitment to the project, why it means so much to him, and how he got to be the one to make the movie:
“This is a dream come true and the movie I’ve most wanted to make my whole career. And I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone other than Lionsgate and Kingdom, who make great movies while supporting filmmakers,” says Jenkins.
“With the incredible response to Jesus Revolution, we are thrilled to continue working with our partners at Lionsgate to bring trusted and inspiring content to screen. With Ordinary Angels and Unsung Hero releasing at the top of the year, we’re delighted to partner with Dallas Jenkins on The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, rounding out the year with a holiday film we’re confident will become a new family favorite,” added Downes.
“The passion and vision Dallas has for this story is infectious – and to show him how we believe in the project as much as he does, we turned the Lionsgate restaurant into a holiday wonderland for him,” said Erin Westerman, Lionsgate’s president of Production. “We believe he will deliver a holiday perennial that will be fun for the whole family next holiday season.”
Chelsea Kujawa and Jon Humphrey will oversee the project for Lionsgate. Phil Strina negotiated the deal on behalf of the studio. Jenkins is repped in the deal by attorney Ken Meyer and UTA.
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