Story by: Jack Foley
MEL Gibsons 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 Christs life in graphic detail, ever since
its release, and despite being greeted by protesters outside certain
Jewish groups continue to accuse the movie of inspiring anti-Semitism,
even though many holy figures have supported the films 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
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 worlds spotlight, at a time when mans inhumanity
to man has seldom seemed so pertinent.