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THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FILM EVER MADE DIDN'T COME FROM HOLLYWOOD

Stats are based on figures released on April 01, 2001

4,299,437,883 people have viewed the film since 1979

Move over Hollywood! The most watched film in the history of the world, seen by over four billion people in 236 countries, shown on television in 167 countries, and translated into 654 languages with a new translation coming out every 7 days has nothing to do with the Hollywood system. This incredible global success story is the JESUS FILM, the most popular movie ever made in the history of film production.

The JESUS Film was produced in 1979 and has been seen by over four billion viewers (4,299,437,883 people to be exact)! The film was produced as a global project to reach nearly every language spoken . With the global market in mind, the scriptwriters were careful to not give the script a North American slant but keep it culturally relevant to the 638 people groups around the world they hoped to reach.

One of the main keys to success has been the unheard of magnitude of the cooperation of over 680 mission agencies in propagating and supporting the film world wide.

However, the real power in the film lies in the fact that this is God's story, the most powerful story on earth and every human being yearns to know the story of God and their purpose for being on earth. This film has struck a global chord. Hollywood tries to duplicate it continually through its themes, plots, and subplots. But the JESUS Film is the authentic original.

The movie's potent appeal to people in developing countries is that for many they are watching a movie for the first time. They hear it in their own language from actors with no accents. All actors used in dubbing the audio are indigenous speakers. The venue is also an attraction. Often the 16mm film is shown in an outdoor theater especially set up for the presentation that draws many seeking a break from the mundane.

In every country, the approach has to be on two fronts. India provides a good example of how the producers reach a country. In India they reached 100 million people with telecasts airing on Easter of 1997 utilizing all the regional network stations. But there are more people in India without television than with it, so that is why 16mm films in that particular country is such an important medium. Also, through distribution of video cassettes they reach another 500 million.

In the Soviet Union project coordinators went from district to district through the country supplying video cassettes in the schools.

On the boards are their two latest tools: dramatic radio broadcast and audio cassettes. They have prepared six half-hour radio programs called the Story of Jesus and a 90 minute audio cassette of the Story of Jesus that can be played in people's cars. They hope to reach 700 million through radio and 400 million through the audio cassettes.

In the year 2000, The JESUS Film was in the mother tongue of 96% of the world's population. The other four percent can be reached through a trade language used in their country. They are currently targeting 1,154 distinct translations for languages of 75,000 speakers or more. They currently have 638 translations, with more in process. A new one is completed about every seven days.

The JESUS Film is now on the internet and on DVD CD-ROM interactive It is now available on every major format.

With the most successful missionary outreaches believing that the Gospel should become indigenous to every people, one questions the choice of the actor in the film being a very western looking Jesus. Paul Eshleman, in an interview with the U.S. Center for World Mission answers that concern:

"So far, we have not found it to be a problem because such a large percentage of the world still lives in a first century culture. They are still fishing, farming and wearing very basic clothing. When they see JESUS in many parts of the world, they think it could have been filmed in the next village. Even though you're portraying a Jesus with lighter skin, they still identify with him because of what he is doing, where he is walking, the background with sheep and goats, the fishing scenes, etc. There has simply been no problem with identification. I was in India watching a showing and an old man who looked like Ghandi, maybe 80 years old said, "I could identify with Jesus. Whenever he traveled around he never had a suitcase. He only had a bag, so I think he could understand poor people like me.

"But the greatest help is that Jesus is speaking their language perfectly. They are blown away by Jesus speaking their language fluently. Nobody has ever taken the time to learn their language so perfectly. Out of the thousands of film showings that I have been to in 15 years, not one person from another culture has said that they couldn't identify with Jesus, except African Americans in the inner city.

"Follow up on the film is provided by 1600 full teams, which consist of nationals from that country. They also depend on churches sponsoring the film, even if the closest church is 50 miles away. After the film showing, the people from the sponsoring church act as counselors. Someone gives the invitation to come to the light if they want to receive Jesus. Then a string of lights is turned on. Under each of these lights, is a counselor who has been prepared beforehand. The children gather by the screen, the women on the side and the men over a little farther. The counselor gathers them in groups, explains the gospel again and prays with them aloud to confirm their decision to receive Christ. Then it announces to them and the whole crowd that if anyone wants to know more about how to grow in their faith, there will be a new life group that is starting tomorrow night in this house, or that building, or even a church if there is one nearby. Then a teaching elder from the sponsoring church comes every week and teaches this class which eventually becomes a daughter church. Our whole emphasis is to do this kind of evangelism which leads to church planting among all of the unreached people in every geographical area."

SEE THIS FILM
REAL VIDEO: THE JESUS FILM

A short film on the life of Christ -12 minutes
Watch the whole life of Christ -83 minutes

 

JESUS Film Statistics

As of APRIL 01/2001

The Jesus Film Has been recorded into 654 languages world wide.

It has been shown in 236 countries.

It has been shown on television in 167 countries.

4,299,437,883 people have viewed the film since 1979 (This includes multiple viewings)

139,624,796 people have indecated decisions for Christ as a result of the film.

These are the stats they have been able to track. The real numbers are higher.