Brazilian Jewish-themed film set to reach record-high box office

Marcy Oster

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — A Brazilian film based on the Biblical story of Moses released is expected to become the national production with the highest-ever box office.

“Os Dez Mandamentos,” a literal translation to Portuguese of “The Ten Commandments,” is expected to outnumber the 11 million viewers of Elite Troop 2 in theaters in 2010. Pre-sales alone have reached 2.4 million tickets, which is much more than most Brazilian blockbusters achieve after several weeks of screening.

The movie opens in theaters in Brazil on Thursday.

The nearly two-hour biblical epic brings to the big screen a summary of the successful primetime TV soap opera of the same name that aired in 176 daily episodes in 2015. Set in ancient Egypt and loosely based on the story of Moses, “Os Dez Mandamentos,” features characters based on biblical figures, while others are invented.

Both film and soap opera were produced by Brazil’s second most-watched TV channel, Record, which is owned by the founder of one of Brazil’s main Pentecostal churches, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.

Pastors have been orienting their church-goers to head to the movies to beef up the box office. The soap opera alone drew 144 million spectators on TV every day in the country with the largest Catholic population in the world.

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