‘Fatima’ Movie Finally Comes to Theaters This Friday

More than a year after COVID-19 put the damper on Fatima’s nationwide debut, the film will open as it was always intended to, on the big screen, at AMC Theatres nationwide

Jorge Lamelas, Alejandra Howard and Stephanie Gil star in ‘Fatima.’
Jorge Lamelas, Alejandra Howard and Stephanie Gil star in ‘Fatima.’ (photo: Claudio Iannone / ©2020 PictureHouse/All Rights Reserved)

Fatima the movie opens nationwide on big screens May 7. Bob Berney of Picturehouse sees this as a big moment for the film, and especially for moviegoers.

Finally, 13 months after COVID-19 put the damper on Fatima’s nationwide debut, the film will open as it was always intended to — on the big screen in movie theaters. Fatima will be shown exclusively in AMC movie theaters across the country beginning this Friday, May 7, in time for Mother’s Day and the upcoming 104th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions on May 13. With more than 380 AMC Theatres around the country, the chain is also offering Fatima at their “Fan Fave” price of $5 per ticket.

Bob Berney, CEO of Picturehouse, the distributor of Fatima, was enthusiastic about the opening speaking with the Register about this rerelease for the big screen. His wife Jeanne Berney is the company’s COO. Both are practicing Catholics. Berney was instrumental in acquiring, marketing and distributing acclaimed films such as The Passion of the Christ.

How did finally bringing Fatima to theaters come to fruition? Berney said it’s “been such an unusual year, and we’re so glad it’s finally happening. Lots of churches are starting to open, and people going out more.”

The route has been “very unusual,” he said. When they were “originally going to release the film last year in April, just as COVID hit, we had gone to Kansas City to show the film to lot of executives there. They had invited lots of people from the local diocese and a lot of Catholic representatives to the screening. They responded well to the film.” 

AMC also liked the film. Then the pandemic hit. AMC closed along with other theaters. Some started worrying that the theater company would go out of business.

But recently AMC got in touch with the Berneys. “When they called and said, ‘We’d like to give it another try,’ that was completely unusual,” Berney said. As AMC’s theaters began to open, “there was still demand for this film. People were writing them about it.” With all those positive factors, the people at AMC “were willing to experiment. I truly believe that they love the film and believe in the message. They pushed to have such an important Catholic film to be rereleased in theaters,” Berney explained.

He sees that “it’s also unusual it has happened because COVID accelerated all the changes in the industry, particularly regarding the windows of time between [when a movie appears in] theaters and then home entertainment.”

With the various changes going on, “AMC was willing to experiment,” Berney said, as he emphasized, “All the people there really responded well to the film, and they thought the film was important. Being theater people they also appreciated the artistic merits of the film which was meant to be seen on the big theater screen. The director Marco Pontecorvo is also director of photography, and has a wonderful visual eye and style.”

There was much more to the decision to go to the big screen. “I think AMC also felt — and we did too,” that you can now “also to see it with people, friends and family” where you can “feel the emotion in the room more than watching it at home.”

But feeling the emotion is not the only reason for this banner release for the big screen. “It is sort of a celebration of hope and faith, and it’s always better to do that together with a community,” Berney believes.

Indeed, Fatima is the ideal movie for Catholics who are seeking hope during the pandemic. Berney believes, “To experience the movie and the message that it brings is really needed. It’s been such a dark year, and as things open up you do start to feel hope in the United States. And the film, the message of hope and peace is really timely, especially when you think that this story really happened around the time of the first pandemic [the influenza in 1917-18] making it relevant and timely.”

Berney reminded that Lucia’s two cousins, Francisco and Jacinta, both saints now, actually died of that flu and its complications. He thinks, “When you see by the end of the movie the Miracle of the Sun, it brings a really hopeful feeling and experience that, in the theater with other people, is really contagious.”

On a personal level, he and his wife Jeanne’s Catholic faith has also been impacted by the movie. He mentioned how hearing and knowing an aunt and cousins and the love she had for Mary was one way he related to the story. Then too, he said, “My wife Jeanne and I went to Fatima for the first time last January right before COVID. It was amazing to experience it in person. You could see the scope and size of it.”

There, they were able to screen Fatima for the staff. “We showed it to the shrine,” he said, “and they really loved it. They appreciated the creativity to the story.”

There is no disappointment about all the roadblocks that happened for the Fatima film “even though all this took place during COVID and lockdowns,” he said. “I think in a way it brought us closer to the story and closer to really trying to understand the reality of the story and the times, and relating to it now. It made us closer to our faith. A lot of times we could not go to church locally. But [personally] it also brought us in contact with so many other churches and dioceses and Catholics around the country. That was a great experience to reach out and talk about faith and hope with other people at this time.”

Again looking at the positive, Berney finds, “One of the good things about the lockdown is you had time to reflect and think about faith and your lives instead of being busy 24-7. The silver lining in all this … was reflecting on our personal faith.”

His hopes for Fatima for the big screen? “I know this is sort of unprecedented and experimental,” he said of the rerelease, “but I do think because of this feeling people have in trying to get out, people will try to see it, maybe with just friends and families.” He points out that people, church groups, can reserve a whole theater for themselves. He reminded, “AMC is also doing a ‘Fan Favor’ of $5. It’s a real reasonable price to get people to say. ‘Let’s try it.’”

Another personal hope he has is that “people can get to see the film on the big screen to see the artistry in the best way and reflect on the message of peace and hope,” he emphasized. “I am excited and feel it will have a real impact.” Why? “You can get together with family and friends. You can talk about the meaning of the movie. It spurs conversation. People can talk about their faith,” remember when they first heard about Fatima, and see hope renewed.

Find showtimes and tickets to this must-see film at AMC Theatres’ at FatimatheMovie.com.

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