×

‘Pope Francis: A Man of His Word’ to Get Nationwide U.S. Release (EXCLUSIVE)

Focus Features is deploying a nationwide U.S. distribution strategy for “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word,” the Wim Wenders-directed documentary that launched in Cannes on Sunday as a special screening.

The film’s North American release May 18 has been set at roughly 300 screens thanks to a marketing strategy that largely relies on outreach to churches and religious groups. The strategy is similar to the one used by Newmarket Film Group in 2004 for Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” which grossed $370 million in the U.S.

Wenders, the maker of “Wings of Desire” and documentaries such as “Buena Vista Social Club” and “Pina,” was given unprecedented access to Pope Francis over a two-year period for “A Man of His Word.” The film revolves around a long dialogue with the pontiff, who answers questions about the chief global challenges facing the world today.

“We got this very exclusive time with the pope speaking directly to the cameras,” said Lisa Bunnell, Focus Features’ president of distribution. “As soon as we had the film, we knew there was obviously [going to be] a lot of interest from religious groups. … We felt it was something that needed to go nationwide.”

Bunnell said that she worked on launching Gibson’s “Passion” in 2004 when she was with Loews Cineplex Entertainment and that her marketing approach for the Pope Francis documentary is “very similar.” Focus has been doing outreach in the U.S. for months, “giving access to the movie privately for group sales” and drawing a lot of interest from younger people, she said.

“Cannes is the icing on the cake” for the film in terms of marketing, Bunnell said.

Outside the U.S., Focus is planning to release “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word” in Germany on June 14. Other international markets will follow later in the summer.

More Film

  • 'Top Gun: Maverick' Trailer: Tom Cruise

    Tom Cruise Drops First Trailer for 'Top Gun: Maverick' at Comic-Con (Watch)

    Tom Cruise made a surprise appearance at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday to hype the forthcoming “Top Gun: Maverick” and receive mass adoration from Hall H. “I felt it was my responsibility to deliver for you,” Cruise told the crowd, tugging local heartstrings by reminiscing on the original “Top Gun” shoot in Downtown San Diego. [...]

  • Tribeca Film Institute

    Tribeca Film Institute, Pond5 Announce Latest Indie Film Grantees (EXCLUSIVE)

    Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) and Pond5 have once again teamed up to offer microgrants to indie filmmakers and artists. The grants, which go as high as $7,500, are intended to help storytellers during “in-between” phases of their projects, such as research, festival travel or community screenings. They’re the kind of unexpected costs that can lead [...]

  • On-Location Filming Slides 3.9% in Los

    On-Location Filming Slides 3.9% in Los Angeles in Second Quarter

    Held down by a lack of soundstage space, total on-location filming in greater Los Angeles declined 3.9% in the second quarter to 8,632 shoot days, permitting agency FilmLA reported Thursday. “Although our latest report reveals a decline in filming on location, local production facilities tell us that they are operating at capacity,” said FilmLA president [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    U.S. Box Office, Movie Admissions, Ticket Price Fall in Second Quarter

    U.S. movie admissions slid 2.5% in the second quarter of 2019 to 347.8 million, with box office receipts declining 3.8% to $3.22 billion on the heels of a record-setting year, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) reported Thursday. The overall ticket price for the quarter slipped 1.3%, or 12 cents, to $9.26, compared to [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate

    'Terminator: Dark Fate' Will Definitely Be R-Rated, Tim Miller Reveals at Comic-Con

    “Terminator: Dark Fate” is not just a reboot of a beloved franchise, it’s a return to hardcore form that will receive an R rating from the MPAA. Announced at San Diego Comic Con’s opening Hall H panel on Thursday, the move is a departure from the PG-13 status of recent reboot attempts like “Terminator: Genisys” [...]

  • In Search

    Rushlake Takes World Rights for Two Acclaimed African Docs (EXCLUSIVE)

    DURBAN–Cologne-based Rushlake Media has acquired world sales rights for “The Sound of Masks,” by Portuguese filmmaker Sara Gouveia, and “In Search,” by Kenyan director Beryl Magoko. The announcement was made Thursday at the Durban Intl. Film Festival, where both documentaries are screening. Rushlake’s Philipp Hoffmann says the two films will bolster the company’s growing slate [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content