'Son of God': Fox's Big Push to Reach Hispanics With the 'First Latin Jesus'

The studio has set up one of the most extensive outreach campaigns ever to U.S. Latinos to promote the Mark Burnett-produced film.

This story first appeared in the Feb. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

On Feb. 28, 20th Century Fox's Son of God will open with one of the most extensive outreach campaigns to U.S. Hispanics. Fox is delivering 3,000 dual-track digital copies to theaters that can show the Mark Burnett-produced Jesus film in English or Spanish, and many in heavily Latino areas have committed to play it with dubbing by Mexican actors Eduardo Verastegui, Adriana Barraza and Blanca Soto.

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Fox also enlisted entertainment marketing consultants Arenas to promote the film to Latinos, 10.9 million of whom went to the movies 12 times annually in the U.S. in 2012 -- up from 8.4 million in 2011, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. The Son of God outreach includes a 22-minute TV special about the making of the film that will air Feb. 22 on Telemundo. Earlier in February, Arenas reps also attended two L.A. conferences where they showed 50,000 Spanish-speaking women of faith a trailer, a video endorsement of the movie from Archbishop Jose Gomez and a testimonial from Diogo Morgado, the Catholic actor who plays Jesus.

"There's a high level of Christianity in the Hispanic community, many of whom don't normally go to the movies but want to see Son of God," says Fox domestic distribution chief Chris Aronson. Burnett notes the campaign has been helped by the fact that Morgado, who is Portuguese, "is the first Latin Jesus in an English film." 

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com