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The Passion of The Christ enjoys seventh highest Friday to Sunday takings in US cinema history



Story by: Jack Foley

MEL Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ has enjoyed the seventh-highest Friday to Sunday takings in US cinema history, marking a significant personal triumph for the under-fire director.

The controversial film, which continues to inspire passions both for and against it, went straight to the top of the US box office charts, with an estimated $76.2m (£40.7m) initial take.

Since opening on Ash Wednesday (February 25, 2004), the film has grossed $117.5m (£62.7m), which marks a box office high for a Wednesday release, beaten only by Oscar winner, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

People have been flocking to see the film, which depicts the final 12 hours of Christ’s life in graphic detail, ever since its release, and despite being greeted by protesters outside certain venues.

Jewish groups continue to accuse the movie of inspiring anti-Semitism, even though many holy figures have supported the film’s portrayal of the most famous half-day in history.

Yet audiences have mostly been moved to tears, with many confessing to finding it extremely moving.

However, one of the early headlines surrounding opening day events, reported that a 50-year-old woman had died from a suspected heart attack, while watching the crucifixion sequence.

The Passion of the Christ opens in the UK on March 26 but has already been seen by many critics in the UK, who are divided over its merits.

Some have accused it of being a hate-filled piece of work, which is overly violent and borderline pornographic, while others have welcomed its role in bringing the topic of religion back into the world’s spotlight, at a time when man’s inhumanity to man has seldom seemed so pertinent.

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