“The Trump Prophecy,” a movie that follows a retired Florida firefighter as God tells him in 2011 that Trump will be president, is making its big screen debut across the United States this week.
Liberty University and ReelWorks Studios in Charlotte, North Carolina, produced the film, and it’s playing in about 1,200 theaters countrywide, according to a Liberty University news release. A trailer for the film says it’s “based on an incredible true story.”
The first showing of the film was on Tuesday, Oct. 2, and a final showing is on Thursday, Oct. 4. Moviegoers can find a theater near them on the film’s website.
Producer Rick Eldridge of ReelWorks said the movie’s reception so far has surpassed his expectations. There were 18,000 tickets sold in pre-sales, Eldridge said on Wednesday, and the movie “probably more than doubled that in our screen counts for last night.”
“We had quite a few screenings across the country that were sold out,” Eldridge said in a phone interview. “Most of our theaters are full.”
Filmed in Virginia, the movie is based on a book that tells the story of Mark Taylor, a real-life retired firefighter in Florida who said he was up late and struggling to sleep in April 2011 when he turned on C-SPAN and saw Donald Trump.
That’s when Taylor had a premonition, he said.
“You are hearing the voice of the next president,” God told him.
The movie’s producers describe the film as “an inspirational message” that highlights “the vast beauty and greatness” of the country, as well as “its electoral process.”
But the project stirred up controversy at Liberty University, the Christian school in Virginia that produced the film and that included students in the film-making process. There was even a petition that called for the movie to be canceled.
“We should be very wary of modern-day prophets,” said the petition, which garnered more than 2,000 signatures. “Mark Taylor has claimed God told him that electing Trump will save the world which is unbiblical at best and heretical at worst.”
Filmmakers of “The Trump Prophecy” pushed back.
“The reality is, anything related to Trump is kind of controversial,” said Stephan Schultze, the movie’s director, according to the Liberty Champion, the school’s newspaper. “I don’t think our students really had an issue — they were gung-ho and excited to make a feature film.”
Taylor’s book about God speaking to him and foretelling Trump’s electoral victory includes controversial pronouncements that were excluded from the film — including predictions that Trump will reveal cancer and Alzheimer’s cures previously hidden by drugmakers, and that former President Barack Obama will face treason charges, Fox News reported.
The filmmakers said in June that Facebook was blocking ads for the project on the grounds the movie is “political.”
“We’re not doing political ads, but that’s what we’re being accused [of],” Eldridge said at the time, according to Fox.
Liberty University said the project gave dozens of students at the school a chance to work with a professional film crew before graduating.
“There is no better learning experience in cinema than actually doing the craft of creating it,” Schultze, the movie’s director and the executive director of the school’s cinematic arts program, said in a statement. “It was an amazing gift that Rick Eldridge provided to our students.”
Eldridge said that based on the response on Tuesday, the filmmakers may consider encore showings. But Eldridge said he’s waiting until Thursday’s showings to make any final decision.
Eldridge also said he heard reports of the audience sticking around at “quite a few locations” after the film ended.
“Many people stayed around and held hands and prayed,” Eldridge said. “Nobody prompted them to do that, but they did.”