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The Passion of the Christ

Hollywood Flashback:
When Mel Gibson's 'Passion' Turned Christ's Blood Into Gold
"Gibson's self-financed film even received a thumbs-up from Pope John Paul II. The pontiff saw a prerelease DVD in his Vatican apartment, and his five-word assessment was, 'It is as it was.' (Passion was less popular with Jewish groups, who felt blame for Christ's crucifixion was placed on them rather than the Romans.) But it was with a worldwide audience that the film found its real popularity. It's safe to say that no subtitled, $30 million film done entirely in Aramaic and Latin ever again will gross $612 million worldwide.


'Because of the language and subtitles, other distributors thought it would be an art house film,' says Amazon's Bob Berney, who in 2004 headed Newmarket Films. 'We saw it as Mel's Braveheart Jesus. On the day it opened, there was a multiplex in Plano, Texas, that had it on all 23 screens that sold out starting at 6 a.m. The studios could not believe independently distributed films could have that kind of success. In many ways, it changed the business.' Passion topped the U.S. box office for three weeks after its Ash Wednesday release (and came close to recouping its $30 million production cost on that day alone) before being dethroned by the zombie resurrection film Dawn of the Dead."         ~The Hollywood Reporter (2016)