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The Passion of the Christ to open in 2,000 US screens



Story by: Jack Foley

AFTER months of speculation and internet hype, Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, is to be released in America, on a colossal 2,000 screens.

The controversial movie is to be released independently on February 25, and, in a major coup for the project, will be seen on as many screens as a major studio film.

The film has been dogged by controversy ever since Gibson announced that he intended to make it in Latin and Aramaic, with no subtitles, and then provoked a backlash from Jewish groups, who feared it could spark anti-Semitism, by suggesting Jews were directly to blame for Christ's death.

It even landed in trouble with Vatican officials, who were not allowed to see it until Gibson was ready. But they now maintain that the film sticks closely to Biblical texts, and Pope John Paul, who watched the film in December (2003), apparently told his Polish secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz, that ‘it is as it was’. The film chronicles the last 12 hours of Christ’s life in unflinching, bloody detail.

The film will be distributed, jointly, by Icon Productions and independent movie specialist Newmarket Films.

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