Tuesday, March 02, 2004

From Newsmax.com (Halelujah!!!)

Monday, March 1, 2004
'Passion' Beats 'Return of the King' for Box Office Record

"The Lord of the Rings" is no match for the Lord. Updated figures show Mel Gibson's foreign-language "The Passion of the Christ" with a box office take of $125.2 million, the greatest debut in movie history by a film opening on a Wednesday.

The previous record holder, "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," had $124.1 million.

Oh, how the studio bosses must be gnashing their teeth today after refusing to finance or distribute the movie.

"The total was almost $8 million more than Newmarket first estimated, because far more people turned out Sunday to see Gibson's grisly crucifixion re-creation than originally predicted," the Associated Press reported this afternoon, and the movie "is positioned to get even bigger as the Roman Catholic season of Lent leads up to Easter on April 11."

Bruce Davey, Gibson's partner at Icon Productions, said, "I think we'll see strong bookings leading up to Easter, and I would anticipate Easter would be a huge weekend."

Rob Schwartz of the distributor Newmarket predicted "The Passion" could gross up to $350 million in the United States and Canada alone.

The movie could have reached even more people if the cinemas hadn't been so foolish in limiting the number of the screens. Many showings have sold out. We saw "The Passion" Saturday at a googolplex in West Palm Beach, Fla., where people lined up at the mere two auditoriums that played it - the same number of screens the theater has devoted to such flops as "Gigli."

We checked out the other auditoriums showing such typical Tinseltown trash as "Twisted" and "Club Dread." Hardly anyone was in those theaters.


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