Risen (2016 film)

Risen is a 2016 American biblical drama film directed by Kevin Reynolds and written by Reynolds and Paul Aiello. The film stars Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Peter Firth, and Cliff Curtis, and details a Roman soldier's search for Yeshua's body following his resurrection. Columbia Pictures released the film to theaters in the United States on February 19, 2016. It received mixed reviews and grossed $46 million worldwide.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byKevin Reynolds
Produced by
  • Patrick Aiello
  • Mickey Liddell
  • Pete Shilaimon
Screenplay by
  • Kevin Reynolds
  • Paul Aiello
Story byPaul Aiello
Music byRoque Baños
CinematographyLorenzo Senatore
Edited bySteve Mirkovich
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • February 15, 2016 (2016-02-15) (Dallas)
  • February 19, 2016 (2016-02-19) (United States)
Running time
107 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$20 million[2]
Box office$46.1 million[3]


After crushing a Zealot revolt led by Barabbas, Clavius, a Roman Tribune, is sent by Pontius Pilate to expedite a crucifixion already in progress. Three days later he is appointed to investigate the rumors of a risen Jewish Messiah. Pilate orders him to locate the missing body of Yeshua, one of the crucified men. In doing so, Pilate seeks to quell an imminent uprising in Jerusalem before the Emperor arrives.[4] Failing to secure Yeshua's body, Clavius, with the support of his loyal aide Lucius, attempts to locate and question the disciples of Yeshua and those involved in his crucifixion and burial for clues to his disappearance.

Numerous leads are dug up, and their accounts soon become increasingly miraculous and difficult to believe. Some of the followers, like a prostitute named Mary Magdalene and a man named Bartholomew, seemingly speak only in riddles and refuse to betray any others. Clavius' intense investigation begins to disturb both Romans and Hebrews alike, and Pilate, under pressure from many sides and fearful of Caesar's wrath, becomes increasingly distant and unsupportive. Running out of new leads, Clavius revisits a disgraced Roman soldier, assigned to guard Yeshua's cave tomb, now a drunkard, and vehemently shakes the drunken man out of a lie that he had previously stuck to. The soldier recounts a fantastic story that, on the morning Yeshua disappeared, a blinding flash had appeared, during which the stone and ropes sealing the tomb disintegrated, and a figure appeared, accompanied by a booming voice that sent him and a fellow soldier fleeing in fear. Clavius does not believe him.

During a raid through a Jewish enclave, Clavius unexpectedly discovers a seemingly resurrected Yeshua with his apostles in a solitary abode. Stunned, he calls off the search, barring Lucius and his men from finding Yeshua and the apostles. That night, another Roman raid, led by Lucius and Pilate, attacks the building that Clavius had forbidden them from entering, and finds it empty, save a note from Clavius, who has decided to continue the investigation on his own. Having abandoned Roman polytheism and the god Mars, Clavius, at first distrustful of the group, soon joins Yeshua and his followers on a journey to determine the validity of his mortal rejuvenation, during which he talks to and befriends both Yeshua and the apostle Peter.

Pilate deduces that Clavius has apparently betrayed him, and dispatches a contingent of Roman troops, led by a promoted Lucius, to pursue him and Yeshua. Clavius assists the disciples in evading the Roman search party, and, when caught personally by Lucius, Clavius disarms him, then convinces him to let them pass quietly. Consequently, Clavius witnesses Yeshua's miraculous healing of a leper, and then the ascension of Yeshua into Heaven; after which the Apostles split up to resume their journeys, and Clavius bids farewell to Peter. Later, communicating his travels to a stranger in a remote dwelling, Clavius acknowledges the strangeness of the tale and its veracity, feeling he will never be the same.



The film was shot in Malta and Spain between August and November 2015.[5]


The film held its world premiere on February 15, 2016 at the Highland Park Village Theatre in Dallas, Texas.[6] Columbia Pictures then released it in the United States on February 19, 2016.[7]

Home media

Risen was released on digital media on May 10, 2016 and was followed by a DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD release on May 24, 2016 from AFFIRM Films and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.[8][9] The film debuted in second place on home video sales charts behind Deadpool for the week ending May 29, 2016.[10]


Box office

Risen grossed $36.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $9.2 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $46.1 million, against a production budget of $20 million.[3]

In the United States and Canada, pre-release tracking suggested the film would gross $7–12 million from 2,915 theaters in its opening weekend, ahead of fellow newcomers Race ($4–7 million projection) and The Witch ($5–7 million projection).[2] The film grossed $4 million on its first day and $11.8 million in its opening weekend, finishing third at the box office behind Deadpool ($56.5 million) and Kung Fu Panda 3 ($12.5 million).[11]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 52% based on 119 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Risen benefits from a lighter tone than many faith-based productions, as well as a unique take on the Greatest Story Ever Told and a terrific turn from star Joseph Fiennes."[12] Metacritic reports a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[13]

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two out of four stars, praising the different take on the story as well as the supporting actors, but criticizing Fiennes' stoic performance.[14] Megan Basham of WORLD applauded the film, writing, "It's undeniably one of the higher-quality faith-based films to hit theaters in recent years, with acting, writing, and production values to rival other mainstream releases."[15] Michael Foust of the Christian Examiner gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars and called it "a detective-type story that is inspiring and moving." "Yes, Risen is historical fiction, but it's largely harmonious with the Gospel story, incredibly well-done, and not much different from those Sunday School discussions many of us take part in week to week," Foust wrote.[16]

Audience response

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[17][11]

Customer reviews on Amazon average 4.5/5.[18]


  1. "RISEN (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. January 15, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
  2. "'Deadpool' Still Cool In Weekend 2 With Superhero Set To Pass $200M – Box Office Preview". deadline.com. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  3. "Risen (2016)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  4. Kit, Borys (September 30, 2013). "'Hatfields & McCoys' Director Tackling Jesus in 'Resurrection'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  5. "Filmed in Malta: 'Risen' tells resurrection tale through a sceptic". The Malta Independent. February 20, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  6. HP Village Gets Dose of Hollywood Park Cities People, February 15, 2016
  7. "The Trailer for Risen, Starring Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton". comingsoon.net. April 29, 2015. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  8. "RISEN Debuts on Digital and More in May". Religion News Service. April 25, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  9. Silas Lesnick (May 24, 2016). "May 24: This Week on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD". Comingsoon.net. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  10. Thomas K. Arnold (June 1, 2016). "'Deadpool' Marks Third Week Atop Home-Video Charts". Variety. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
  11. "'Deadpool' Strong With Second Weekend Of $55M; 'Risen' Takes $11.8M, 'Witch' At $8.7M". deadline.com. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  12. "Risen (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  13. "Risen Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 21, 2016.
  14. "'Risen': Biblical semi-epic turns silly at times, grisly at others". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  15. "Epic renewal - WORLD". world.wng.org. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  16. "REVIEW: 'Risen' is Gospel infused historical fiction". www.christianexaminer.com. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  17. "CinemaScore". cinemascore.com via Twitter.
  18. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Risen-DVD-Tom-Felton/dp/B01D4UNEVE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534359314&sr=8-1&keywords=risen+dvd
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