Skip to content ↓

Mel Gibson Spreads Passion

Articles Collection cover image

The following article is taken from E Online.

Mel Gibson wants moviegoers to get their fill of The Passion of the Christ.

The Hollywood star’s Icon Productions has announced plans, along with indie distributor Newmarket Films, to release his controversial movie about the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ on 2,000 screens in theaters nationwide on February 25, Ash Wednesday.

The distribution strategy marks the biggest bow ever for a subtitled picture as well as for a movie featuring dialogue in dead languages–Latin and Aramaic.

It was originally thought that The Passion would unspool in a few cities and spread from there via art-houses. But apparently the controversy surrounding its purported anti-Semitism compelled Gibson to go wider. He’s also decided to debut it at multiplexes in the Bible Belt.

In fact, The Passion is scheduled to play on more screens than last month’s Christmas comedy Bad Santa and other major Hollywood releases such as Big Fish.

Icon and Newmarket reps were not available to comment on the distribution plan.

But according to Industry observers, the bold plan hedges on the ability of Gibson & Co. to get the word out at the grassroots level to church groups and other Christian organizations so they can mobilize their members to go out and see it.

“There’s more of a risk of going platform and facing a negative backlash in the big cities,” one anonymous distribution exec told Daily Variety.

The $25 million flick, which was financed, cowritten and directed by Gibson, has come under attack for allegedly reviving the controversial notion that Jews were responsible for Christ’s death, as well as its graphic portrayal of the Crucifixion.

Gibson has repeatedly denied that the film is anti-Semitic and said that it’s his intention “to inspire, not to offend.” He’s also attempted to stem such talk by holding sneak peeks for leaders of both Christian and Jewish faiths as well as religious scholars and fellow industry players, many of whom defended the film.

Pope John Paul II also gave his thumbs up in a well-publicized five-word review, reportedly telling his secretary after watching it on DVD, “It is as it was.”

For Newmarket, The Passion will be the company’s biggest roll-out ever, easily surpassing the 556 screens it had for last summer’s sleeper hit Whale Rider.

Newmarket president Bob Berney told the New York Times that theaters have told him demand to see the film is heating up.

“People call and say, ‘I want 10,000 tickets,’” Berney said.

The Times also reports that one multiplex in Dallas is setting aside all 20 of its screens for Passion and Passion alone.

The trailer for the film is due to hit theaters this Friday.

Gibson evidently knows where his market is, opening the movie across the Bible belt. It is amazing that tens of thousands of tickets are being ordered at once, obviously with large churches placing orders either for their congregations or as outreach opportunities.

I believe almost every article ever written about this movie quotes the Pope as saying “it is as it was.” Interestingly, it has recently been reported by sources within the Vatican that though the Pope saw the movie, he made no comment.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 18)

    A La Carte: The pursuit of (which) happiness? / Don’t hastily choose elders / The evangelistic nature of awe / What you read builds who you are / Till he was strong / A father’s threads of living faith / Logos deals / and more.

  • Lets Hear It For the Second Parents

    Let’s Hear It For the Second Parents

    While today we tend to associate step-parents with divorce, in previous centuries they were almost exclusively associated with death and with either widow- or widowerhood. In an era in which lifespans were shorter and, therefore, a greater number of parents died while their children were still young, there was a distinct and honored role for…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 17)

    A La Carte: Honor good fathers and bad fathers alike? / Don’t give up, dad / How I respond to pride month / 5 myths about the pro-life movement / A seminar on biblical counseling / How do I know if I’m one of the elect? / Kindle deals / and more.

  • The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    Just as Olympic athletes cannot realistically expect to win a gold medal unless they strictly discipline themselves toward victory, Christians cannot hope to prevail in the Christian life unless they take a serious, disciplined approach to it. Yet lurking in the background is always the temptation to hope that we can have the result of…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (June 15)

    A La Carte: Learn to rest in God’s justice / 3 reasons why your small group is not a church / How can I be a godly father? / Gender in the void / Are images of Christ OK? / The getting of wisdom / and more.

  • Making Good Return

    Making Good Return

    I don’t think I am overstating the matter when I say that this has the potential to be one of the most important books you will read. It’s a book that may shape years of your life and transform the way you carry out one of the key roles God assigns to you…