Left Behind was first released Oct. 31 on video and aggressively promoted within conservative Christian circles.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Left Behind sold 2.5 million video copies, “making it 2000’s best selling independent video.”
Cloud Ten, the production company, offered two movie theater passes with the purchase of the video and hoped the purchasers would give the tickets to friends, driving up theater attendance.
After introducing the movie at special events in conservative evangelical churches, Cloud Ten reportedly solicited churches to raise thousands of dollars to book the movie at their local theaters.
“We’re asking churches to put up millions of dollars collectively for this thing,” said Peter Lalonde, who heads Cloud Ten, on Entertainment Weekly’s Web site.
Eonline.com reported that Cloud Ten “received a financial boost from 600 ‘sponsors,’ who plunked down $3,000 a piece to help the marketing push. (After the movie opens, sponsors are promised their money back, plus 7.5 percent of the distributor’s share of the revenue.)”
Promoting Left Behind, Baptist Press indicated special showings had been held at First Baptist Church, Franklin, Tenn., and Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas. Future showings at First Baptist Churches in Atlanta, Ga., and Houston, Texas, were noted.