'The Young Messiah' producer Chris Columbus says faith-based films have huge audience potential

In a career spanning over three decades, Chris Columbus has written “The Goonies” and “Gremlins,” directed the “Home Alone” movies, and produced “The Night at the Museum” flicks, among many others. So his latest movie, the faith-based film “The Young Messiah” based on the best-selling Anne Rice book “Christ the Lord,” would seem on the surface at least a bit of a departure.

“If you look at my work, the stuff I’ve done, it’s kind of all over the place. Different genres whether it’s comedy or fantasy, drama," Columbus told FOX411. "We just fell in love with this story.”

The Hollywood heavyweight said “there’s a huge audience out there for faith based movies” like “The Young Messiah,” which takes viewers through the seventh year of Jesus’ life as he and his family leave Egypt for Nazareth. While the movie may not do "Home Alone" numbers, Columbus didn't expect "Home Alone" to become a smash hit, either.

“'Home Alone' was probably the biggest surprise of my life, probably ‘til the day I die be the biggest surprise, because we opened in 900 or so theaters back then," Columbus said. "Now people open in 3,300 theaters, but we opened and we were number one, but we maintained that for I don’t know if it was 12 or 14 weeks, but I was surprised every Monday morning when I woke up. We’re still number one. That was the biggest shock of all time."

Before Columbus’ blockbusters hits, he trained at the foot of the master, Steven Spielberg, the man he considers his “graduate course in filmmaking,” writing “Gremlins” and “Goonies.” But Columbus soon figured out that the Hollywood lifestyle wasn't for him.

"I didn’t want to be around the culture of movies, and make my entire life about that," he said. "I wanted to move back to New York at the time, raise my family here and really keep them out of the Hollywood lifestyle. I thought I would have longevity as an artist if I could do that.”

"The Young Messiah" hits theaters March 11, 2016.