EXCLUSIVE: Angel Studios — the studio behind the equity-crowdfunded, faith-based series The Chosen, which has done major business both online and in movie theaters — has today announced its launch of a theatrical division, as well as its appointment of Brandon Purdie as Vice President of Theatrical Distribution.
Purdie joins Angel’s Global Distribution team headed up by SVP Jared Geesey, with plans to help the company continue to disrupt the typical film model by carving out its own network direct to theaters. He comes to Angel Studios with nearly 15 years’ experience running his own distribution outfit, Purdie Distribution, which has overseen the release of titles like the Jason Momoa-narrated documentary Waterman on five-time Olympic medalist Duke Paoa Kahanamoku.
A community-driven movie studio in the vein of Legion M allowing creators to pitch projects on its Angel platform, with “Angel investors” then being able to fund those they’re most passionate about, Angel Studios is best known for its hugely popular episodic series The Chosen — the most heavily backed, crowdfunded series in history, which for its first season collected $10M+ from over 16,000 investors. The Dallas Jenkins show starring Jonathan Roumie as Jesus of Nazareth has most recently taken a trio of Season 3 episodes, along with the holiday special Christmas with The Chosen to theaters. And while it’s also available online via the company’s website and dedicated app, the combined grosses of these theatrical releases put on with Fathom Events totaled $34M. The Chosen has then, in a sense, surpassed the box-office take of such major studio features as Universal’s She Said ( $13.8M), chronicling the New York Times’ takedown of Harvey Weinstein, and Todd Field’s Cate Blanchett drama Tár ($22.1M) for Focus Features, which was recently up for six Academy Awards.
Angel Studios’ next crowdfunded theatrical release is the David Helling film His Only Son, a dramatic retelling of the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac, which is poised to hit around 1800 theaters nationwide on March 31st.
Angel Studios’ SVP of Global Distribution, Geesey told Deadline that the company’s box-office strategy “is the opposite of traditional Hollywood—we know who our fans are, where they are, and if they are interested in attending before opening weekend simply because we’re having an ongoing conversation. This grassroots-driven approach to theatrical led to our surprise success with The Chosen during Christmas 2022, and we’re going to apply that same approach to a whole series of theatrical campaigns, beginning with HIS ONLY SON this Easter.
“That’s why we are tapping the talented Brandon Purdie,” continued Geesey. “Brandon’s well-respected track record of bringing films to theaters and creating box office successes makes him the perfect fit to launch our relationship directly with theatrical exhibitors.”
Purdie added that “no other studio in the history of film or cinema has been more committed to the audience than Angel Studios. Angel now takes that commitment to the big screen and the theatrical window.”
Releasing over 75 independent films in his 22-year film career, Purdie started out at the indie distributor Excel Entertainment, moving from Marketing Director to overseeing the marketing and release of dozens of projects a year in theaters and on DVD, before launching Purdie Distribution in 2009. Other titles he’s previously helped bring to the screen include the family film The Stray starring Michael Cassidy, Sarah Lancaster and Connor Corum; the rugby drama Forever Strong starring Gary Cole, Sean Astin and Neal McDonough; and the WWII pic Saints and Soldiers. Purdie is also a member of the Executive Board of Directors for the Utah-based Zions Indie Film Fest.
Angel Studios’ first projects — The Chosen and the stand-up series Dry Bar Comedy — have earned billions of views around the world. Among other notable projects from the company is the crowdfunded animated series The Wingfeather Saga, based on the bestselling fantasy book series by Andrew Peterson.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.