Lionsgate and Kingdom Story Company have won a competitive bidding war for an adaptation of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.” The film, to be based on Barbara Robinson’s popular book, will be penned and directed by Dallas Jenkins, the creator, director and producer of “The Chosen.”
“The Best Christmas Pageant,” which has sold over seven million copies since its publication in 1972, centers on the Herdmans – apparently the very worst kids in the history of the world. However, they end up taking over their town’s local Christmas pageant. Possible spoilers – it just might accidentally teach the community the true meaning of Christmas.
Kingdom Story’s Kevin Downes, Daryl Lefever, Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin will produce alongside McDaniel and Thomas. Jenkins will executive produce alongside Molen, Mark Kendell, and Tony Young. Production begins next month in Canada. The film will debut theatrically over the 2024 holiday season.
Jenkins today released a video detailing 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.
Kingdom’s most recent release, Lionsgate’s “Jesus Revolution,” took in a solid $54 million worldwide against a budget of $15 million. Their next team-up, “No Ordinary Angels,” stars two-time Oscar winner Hillary Swank and “Reacher” star Alan Ritchson. It will open theatrically on Feb. 23, 2024. “Unsung Hero,” starring King + Country’s Joel Smallbone and Daisy Betts, will open 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, CW, and Amazon, where it has been a top ten series since the launch of its third season earlier this year. The fourth season will debut next February.
“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 Lionsgate president of Production Erin Westerman. “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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