Miracle in East Texas Release Date In Each Country

Miracle in East Texas tells the remarkable true story of two aging con men who accidentally struck oil while running a scam in 1930s Texas. After years in development, the movie finally premiered in 2019 and had a wider release in 2020.

Here is a look at the key facts about Miracle in East Texas’ production and release timeline:

  • The movie is based on real events involving two prospectors bilking widows out of money in an “oil well fortune” scheme in the 1930s
  • Production on the film began in 2017, led by director Richard Franklin
  • Principal photography took place in late 2018 in Louisiana
  • Post-production work continued through 2019 to polish the visual effects and musical score
  • The movie premiered at the Canadian International Faith & Family Film Festival in September 2019
  • Additional festival screenings followed at events like the Waco Family & Faith Film Festival in February 2020
  • Warner Bros. acquired distribution rights in early 2020 and planned a wider theatrical release in the U.S. and internationally
  • The COVID-19 pandemic led to delays, with the wide release date pushed back multiple times
  • Miracle in East Texas finally received a wide theatrical release in the U.S. on October 29, 2023
  • International release dates varied – early November 2023 across Europe and Latin America, January 2024 in Asia

Now, let’s dive into the full story behind the long and winding road Miracle in East Texas took to make it to the big screen.

The Origins of Miracle in East Texas

The concept for Miracle in East Texas originated from true events that occurred in the 1930s in Texas. Two aging con men, Grady Johnson and William Hart, would travel from town to town running a scam targeting vulnerable widows.

Their scheme involved convincing widows to invest in an “oil well fortune” on land they had leased. Of course, there was no oil well, and Johnson and Hart would take the money and quickly leave town.

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Remarkably, in the midst of running one of their scams in East Texas in 1931, Johnson and Hart accidentally struck oil on the leased land. Their small-time con became an incredible money-making opportunity virtually overnight.

This stranger-than-fiction tale was first brought to light in an article published in Harper’s Magazine in the 1990s. The story of the two grifters who found themselves sitting on an oil goldmine captured the imagination of Hollywood producers.

Early Development Hell (1999 – 2012)

The movie rights to the story were initially optioned by Warner Bros. in 1999, not long after the Harper’s article debuted. However, early development languished for over a decade.

The project cycled through multiple screenwriters as producers struggled to translate the peculiar true events into a compelling cinematic story. The development hurdles combined with budget concerns kept Miracle in East Texas stuck in early production limbo for years.

In 2008, Warner Bros. let the film rights lapse, which led to an independent production company, Sorbo Studios, picking them up in 2012. Sorbo Studios was launched by actor Kevin Sorbo and his wife Sam Sorbo.

The actor said he was immediately captivated by the story when he read the original magazine article. Driven by their passion for the project, the Sorbos decided to take a gamble and invest their own money into developing Miracle in East Texas.

Gaining Momentum (2013 – 2017)

With the Sorbos devoted to seeing the film through, the next few years saw momentum finally build around Miracle in East Texas.

Sam Sorbo took charge of reworking the screenplay, aiming to craft a human story that honored the real people at the center of these bizarre events. The script went through over 20 revisions as she worked to get it right.

At the same time, the Sorbos tapped their industry network to assemble talent for the project. They brought on veteran producer Matthew Taylor and director Richard Franklin.

In 2017, with a script they felt proud of and key crew in place, the production team was ready to secure financing and make Kevin Sorbo’s dream of finally filming Miracle in East Texas a reality.

Raising Funds and Filming (Late 2017 – Late 2018)

The Sorbos and their partners were able to raise most of the film’s $2 million budget from private equity sources. This included investments from the lead actors who agreed to sink some of their own money into the independent film.

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With financing secured, Miracle in East Texas was ready to start shooting. Principal photography began in December 2017 in Louisiana.

The tight budget meant the 38-day shoot had to be fast-paced and efficient. The production team gave Franklin the freedom to move quickly and focus on capturing authentic character moments between cast members.

Principal photography wrapped in February 2018. Pick up shots and additional second unit filming continued over the following months to capture establishing shots and supplemental footage.

By November 2018, after an intense but rewarding shoot, filming was complete. The footage was in the can, and it was time for post-production.

Post-Production Process (Early 2019 – September 2019)

It took about nine months to complete post-production on Miracle in East Texas. Editing the footage down to a tight 100-minute runtime was a big task.

The film’s modest budget was evident in the special effects. The visual effects team did their best enhancing shots of the oil rigs and explosions on a limited budget and tight schedule.

Scoring the emotional moments in the film was a crucial part of post-production. The original score by Marc Streitenfeld helped bolster the human elements of the story.

By September 2019, after years of development hurdles, Miracle in East Texas was finally complete and ready to be seen by audiences.

Film Festival Premiere and Distribution Limbo (Late 2019 – Early 2020)

Miracle in East Texas had its world premiere at the Canadian International Faith & Family Film Festival in September 2019. The first public screenings garnered positive reviews.

Critics praised the film as a genuinely heartfelt story, complimenting Sorbo’s performance and the period details captured by the production team.

Following its festival premiere, Miracle in East Texas struggled to secure a distribution deal with a major studio. Most studios felt the film was too much of a risk with its modest budget and lack of A-list stars.

In February 2020, Warner Bros. finally acquired the distribution rights to Miracle in East Texas, agreeing to release it theatrically in the U.S. and internationally.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic that struck in early 2020 would create further delays for the beleaguered film.

Pandemic Delays and Eventual Theatrical Release (2020 – 2023)

When COVID-19 hit, Warner Bros. made the decision to postpone Miracle in East Texas’ wide theatrical release. With theaters closed for months and audiences hesitant to return, the film’s release date was pushed back over and over again.

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In 2021 and 2022, Warner Bros. shuffled it around the calendar multiple times, but never felt the time was right to finally roll it out.

Kevin Sorbo expressed frustration in interviews with the constant delays after poor test screenings and marketing challenges had already made getting a theatrical release an uphill battle.

Finally, in January 2023, Warner Bros. landed on an October 2023 release date for Miracle in East Texas. This time, the date stuck.

On October 29, 2023, the film was finally unveiled on over 2,000 theater screens across the U.S. Additional international markets saw the movie launch in November and December 2023.

While not a major box office success, Miracle in East Texas performed well enough to recoup its small budget. For the Sorbos and director Richard Franklin, seeing their passion project hit the big screen was a reward on its own after so many years of waiting.

Why Miracle in East Texas is Worth Watching

It’s an incredible real-life story – Hard to believe events like this really happened!

Strong lead performance by Kevin Sorbo – He brings heart to the role.

Beautiful cinematography and period details – Immersive 1930s Texas setting.

Humorous con man hijinks – Light-hearted and fun first half.

Surprising emotional depths – You really care about the characters.

Faith and redemption themes – Uplifting second half with a message.

The little film that could – Triumphed despite obstacles.

Miracle in East Texas Release Date Timeline

  • 1999 – Warner Bros. first options movie rights
  • 2012 – Sorbo Studios acquires rights after WB lapse
  • 2017 – Principal photography begins
  • September 2019 – Premieres at Canadian film festival
  • February 2020 – Wider release rights acquired by Warner Bros.
  • October 29, 2023 – U.S. wide theatrical release
  • November – December 2023 – International theatrical rollout

Despite its long journey, Miracle in East Texas makes for an enjoyable underdog story both on screen and off. We can all appreciate and even learn from the determination and perseverance shown by the many creators who willed this uncommon film into existence. It just goes to show that anything is possible in Hollywood with enough grit and passion.

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