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The Passion lands number one spot at UK Box Office



Story by: Jack Foley

ZOMBIES proved no match for Christ’s suffering at the UK box office at the weekend, as Mel Gibson’s violent epic, The Passion of the Christ, stormed to the number one spot at the UK and Ireland box office.

The film, which depicts the final 12 hours in Christ’s life, enjoyed weekend takings of £2.01m - a three-day figure which marks the highest-ever opening for a subtitled film.

Zombie thriller remake, Dawn Of The Dead (which toppled Mel’s movie in America, after being released some weeks later), entered the film charts at number two, with takings of £1.94m, while TV remake, Starksy and Hutch, fell to third place.

The UK success of the film should help to keep The Passion of the Christ on course to overtake Titanic as the most successful film of all-time, and has helped to revive box office fortunes in what has proved to be a fairly tepid year, so far.

In America, its success has helped to push Winter box office takings to their highest-ever level, as ticket sales for the period were more than $1.78bn (£1bn), a 15% rise compared to last year.

Had it not been for The Passion, however, estimates put the figures five per cent down on 2003.

The film has subsequently taken more than $302m (£167.7m) in the US alone, making a mockery of news reports, at the time that it was announced, that it would never find a distributor.

It has also prompted a murder confession from a Texan man, who killed his girlfriend, who said that the film had him feel remorse.

And it has been blamed for the death of at least two people, who died while watching it.

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