Alcon Entertainment has acquired HILLSONG -- LET HOPE RISE for worldwide release by Warner Bros. Pictures, it was announced today by Alcon principals Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson.
The full-length feature documentary, directed by Michael John Warren (Jay-Z's Fade to Black), chronicles the spectacular rise to prominence of the Australia-based Christian worship band Hillsong UNITED. Matthew Weaver of MediaWeaver Entertainment and Jonathan Bock of Grace Hill Media are producing. B. Wayne Hughes, Jr. and Greg Campbell of Cantinas Entertainment, which is financing the feature, are executive producing. Warner Bros. Pictures will release the film on April 3, 2015.
The movie will present the band's remarkable journey from a youth group band at Hillsong Church to worldwide sensation, routinely performing sold-out stadium concerts and selling more than 16 million albums all over the world.
In a joint statement, Kosove and Johnson said, "In terms of reach, Hillsong UNITED is one of the biggest bands out there, Christian or otherwise. But at their core, they're just a group of unassuming individuals impacting the world with their music. We're thrilled to be part of bringing their extraordinary story to the big screen."
Led by Joel Houston, son of Hillsong Church founders Brian and Bobbie Houston, all of Hillsong UNITED's 11-member band are volunteers or employees of the church. Their songs are so popular is it estimated that on any given Sunday, more than 30 million churchgoers around the world are singing one of Hillsong's worship songs.
"With songs like 'Mighty to Save,' 'Oceans,' 'Hosanna' and 'From the Inside Out,' anyone who regularly attends a church knows Hillsong's music by heart. That's how influential they've become," Bock said. "And yet despite the fame and adulation, they're still just a simple worship band trying to do what tens of thousands of other worship bands try to do every week -- glorify God through their music. How they balance that is a fascinating and surprising story."
The filmmakers will follow the band as it completes its current tour and prepares to record its next album. The film will marry live concert footage with a narrative structure.
"It's a little weird and a lot humbling to have a movie made about us," Joel Houston said. "But we didn't say 'yes' to this to draw attention to ourselves. It's our hope that by sharing an up-close and unvarnished look inside our music and lives, we can shatter pre-conceived notions of what it means to follow Jesus in today's modern world."
Hillsong Church spans 12 global locations with more than 100,000 weekly attendees, including thriving congregations in New York and Los Angeles. In addition to its music efforts, Hillsong sponsors worldwide ministry work -- examples include feeding and educating children in the slums of India, building housing for those living with AIDS in Africa and rescuing victims of human trafficking around the globe -- outreaches paid for in part through proceeds from Hillsong UNITED music and merchandise sales.