Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett have been all over the place these past few days promoting the heck out of their biblical movie "Son of God," which opens nationwide on Friday.
It’s 10 years since Mel Gibson stunned the world with his film, "The Passion of the Christ," which turned out to be a monster hit, grossing more than $600 million. Will "Son of God" be a similar blockbuster?
You can’t bet against Downey, a native of Derry best known for her starring role years back in "Touched By an Angel," and Burnett, producer of reality hit after hit including "The Voice" and "Survivor." The couple struck ratings gold last year with their History Channel miniseries "The Bible," the most watched show ever on the network, and "Son of God" is a follow-on to that hit.
Churches all over the country have block-booked theaters for special "Son of God" screenings. Downey and Burnett have traveled from coast to coast speaking to religious groups about the film, so there’s definitely a big built-in audience already, even though the stars of "Son of God" are unknowns. (Downey does play the Virgin Mary, though.)
“We’re excited Jesus is back on the big screen, and we’re going to fill the theaters. I want every other faith leader in America to do the same. Whether you can buy out a whole theater, or just one screen, now is the time to show up,” the mega-pastor Rick Warren told Variety.
The flick also has the seal of approval from Rupert Murdoch, the News Corp/Fox titan who tweeted his support to his nearly 500,000 followers.
“Be sure to see amazing and moving film "Son of God," releasing this Friday. Congrats to Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Very special film,” he wrote on Monday.
The Malibu-based Downey and Burnett aren’t playing the Christian card just for fame and profits. They are deeply religious and aren’t afraid to show it.
“Everybody knows that we are so, so close and we’re happy to be outspoken about our faith and our marriage and our connection,” Burnett told Believe.com. “I think it’s encouraging for lots of people.”
Downey added, “We came together, I believe, for such a time as this. To get to do what we love together, to combine it with what we believe, and to get to do it with the person I love most of all, it’s really been a blessing for us.”