EXCLUSIVE: The Most Reluctant Convert: The Untold Story of C.S. Lewis grossed $1.205 million Wednesday night at special showings in 400+ theaters across North America (a $2,863 per-screen average) and has added more cinemas/runs through Nov. 18.
The biopic, directed by Emmy and BAFTA Award-winning filmmaker Norman Stone, traces the spiritual journey of renowned author of The Chronicles of Narnia, whose books have sold nearly a quarter of a billion copies worldwide. It’s produced by NYC faith-based company Fellowship for Performing Arts in association with 1A Productions and presented by Trafalgar Releasing, a specialist in event cinema distribution.
FPA founder and artistic director Max McLean stars as middle-aged Lewis recalling events that began his journey from vigorous debunker of Christianity to one of the most influential Christian writers of the past century. The film is based on the play C.S. Lewis on Stage: The Most Reluctant Convert that premiered in 2016. Play and film are both taken from Lewis’ memoir, Surprised by Joy, which is licensed from the C.S. Lewis Company.
“When we began working on our distribution of the film, we had a handful of theatres, mostly in major markets, with one showing on one day on November 3,” said McLean. “I am grateful to the tens of thousands of people who came out to fill theaters in almost every major city throughout the country.”
“Trafalgar recognized that Fellowship for Performing Arts had built a large following through our national tours of stage plays based on C. S. Lewis material,” he said. “The Trafalgar team worked with us to tailor a national footprint of cinemas to reach that audience. It worked.”
Nicholas Ralph, star of the PBS Masterpiece hit All Creatures Great and Small, plays Lewis as a young man who heads to the trenches in the Great War before becoming a fellow at Oxford University. And the film introduces Eddie Ray Martin as the childhood Lewis, who loses his mother to cancer and renounces his faith.
It also explores Lewis’ friendships with J.R.R. Tolkien (Tom Glenister, Doc Martin, Vera), Hugo Dyson (David Shields, The Crown, Doctor Who) and Owen Barfield (Hubert Barton, Jekyll & Hyde, Deep Blue Sea).
Shot in and around Oxford, The Most Reluctant Convert will also be presented as a special event November 7 at theaters across the U.K.