(NewsNation) — “The Chosen,” a series about the life of Jesus Christ, has captured the eyes of 400 million people.

It’s so popular that it’s currently coming in at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes and has raised more money than any other crowd-funded media project in history.

A total of 19,000 people donated about $10 million to get the first season of “The Chosen” made.

How did it get so popular?

Perhaps part of the reason: A recent smear campaign against the show that included defaced billboards and advertisements on social media telling people not to watch it, which left people both confused and intrigued.

As it turns out, the smear campaign was faked. It was part of an advertising strategy, Dallas Jenkins, the director of “The Chosen,” explained.

“I had to do a little bit of sincere apologizing because I think we missed the boat with our core fans. But the reaction from non-viewers, from people who are just discovering the show because of the campaign, has been actually extraordinary,” Jenkins said Monday night during an appearance on “Banfield.”

“People have been saying, ‘I wasn’t gonna watch the show, but now I am,'” Jenkins added.

Seasons one and two are streaming now, and the third season is fully funded and set to begin production soon.