The new movie Son of God opens Friday, but across the nation there were special showings Thursday night.
In Foothill Ranch, California, Pastor Rick Warren bought out the entire 12 screen Regal Cinema.
The movie takes scenes of the hugely successful TV miniseries "The Bible" and adds new footage for the big screen version. Pastor Warren said it is a lesson for Hollywood. "I hope it will say to all of hollywood, hey man make more of these movies."
Actress Roma Downey and her husband Mark Burnett are the executive producers of Son of God. They've been visiting megachurches like Joel Osteen's to drum up interest in the movie.
Downey said, “We are very excited for this new movie, putting Jesus back on the big screen.”
But early reviews of the movie are mixed. The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “This quite mediocre spawned-from-television feature feels like a Jesus film designed for true believers."
But the Los Angeles Times said. “The epic proportions of the miniseries hold up well on the big screen.”
For many moviegoers at the early screening in California, it was a big thumbs up.
One viewer of the Thursday night screening remarked, "I think everyone is going to be amazed. It turned out really good and i think everyone's really going to love it."
"We will now have to see over the weekend if this film can cross over to mainstream audiences and become a mainstream hit. We are thinking it could do over $20 million maybe closer to $30 million. It's very hard to predict."
Pastor Warren thinks Son of Good is such an important film that he made this surprising statement: “Go Friday go Saturday so Sunday. In fact, I told my members, this is so important, skip church and go to the movie.”