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Eevin

Passion of the Christ

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A foreign language, 2-hour film about Jesus bleeding to death on the cross made $117m on opening weekend. It went on to gross $515m domestic (these figures all adjusted for inflation, incidentally). I point to this film whenever I hear that faith-based films have a very limited audience.

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=passionofthechrist.htm&adjust_yr=2017&p=.htm

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Just now, cannastop said:

You have to admit that this movie is very different from most "faith-based" movies.

Hence my point - there is a sizable audience for films that break from the mold, instead of fitting inside the same cookie-cutter "Jesus saves through crappy dialogue and nonexistent character development" box.

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On 2/3/2017 at 7:59 PM, Eevin said:

A foreign language, 2-hour film about Jesus bleeding to death on the cross made $117m on opening weekend. It went on to gross $515m domestic (these figures all adjusted for inflation, incidentally). I point to this film whenever I hear that faith-based films have a very limited audience.

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=passionofthechrist.htm&adjust_yr=2017&p=.htm

 

Mel Gibson is a tremendous filmmaker. IMO,  "Passion" and "Apocalypto" are two of the best movies of the past 15 years.  "Passion" was beautiful in its brutality, it was gut-wrenching, and the gutsiest movie of 2004. Should have been "Best Picture".  And no, I'm not particularly religious. 

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This was likely one the most high profile box office runs of all time in North America

 

The box office success of this movie generated a lot  of interest in the box office and a lot of new users and vistors to BOM 

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Mel Gibson did talk about it a little bit in that long interview:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HjZVx6xK4k

 

How no studio would get close to it and how a lot of bad talk in the trades about that movie before it's release and then all you could hear was the sound of money being made after it released.

 

There is at least 3 different exceptional aspect to that giant world run

 

1) death language element

2) non commercial/gruesome element

3) Very limited studios involvement, all the way through distribution in most market totally independent movie.

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Good Friday is as appropriate a time as any to bump this thread, no?

 

This is, without a doubt, the craziest box office run I have ever seen. Ever. Like, almost as crazy as the movie itself - and given that the movie feels like Mel Gibson's delirious fever dream of suffering and extreme violence with some subtle misogyny (that devil) and not-at-all subtle antisemitism sprinkled on top, that's really saying something.

 

The media coverage surrounding every stage of this movie's existence was wild. The original narrative was that this was a vanity project that was doomed to fail because of its content and approach (there weren't originally going to be subtitles), and Gibson spun all that coverage brilliantly. Even before the controversy over its violence and messaging erupted, it was already a big talking point in media circles because of how utterly bizarre it sounded. Like just about everyone else, I didn't think it stood a chance of being a success when I first heard about it, and then the mystique surrounding it just continued to grow and grow and grow, and Gibson played it perfectly. Between the hoopla over the violence, the strong criticisms and defenses over Gibson's approach and how much of his worldview was present in the movie, the disputed papal endorsement, and advance word of early screenings to church groups being too much for some viewers to handle, it exploded into a must-see event.

 

I expected it to be big by the time it opened, but it's easy to forget just how massive it was. The five-day opening was the biggest Wednesday-to-Sunday gross ever at the time, beating a record Return of the King had set just months earlier, and it came within $8 million of The Matrix Reloaded's R-rated weekend record; it would have opened over $100 million if it had bowed on Friday, which only Spider-Man had done at that point (though Reloaded definitely would have gotten there with a Friday opening too, and Return of the King probably would have as well). Its next few weekend holds were fairly impressive, but it was then insane to see the film return to #1 over Easter weekend three weeks after Dawn of the Dead knocked it off the top spot.

 

I was in 7th grade at a parochial K-8 Catholic school at the time, and my hometown was (and still is) super-conservative, so it really felt like this movie dominated all pop culture discussion for the first four months of 2004 (except for the week or so after Nipplegate). I didn't see it during its run, but there were families at my school that went (which was deserving of a good "what the hell?" reaction), so all the teachers had guidebooks on how to discuss the movie with any students who had seen it and were absolutely traumatized by it having trouble processing the gravity of it. :lol: I also remember my church going to a screening on a weeknight in the third week of release or thereabouts where the cinema sold out the screening before everyone in the group could get tickets, and several of the adults were wide-eyed and horror-struck when asked about the movie the next Sunday. My pastor - who made no secret whatsoever of her liberal stance on most issues - despised it. So did my 8th grade religion teacher that next fall, who assured us that she would not show the film in class under any circumstances. Honestly, for better or worse, I can't think of a movie since this one that has gotten as many people in my life talking, and it seemed like almost everyone had a really strong opinion about it one way or the other - it was either this monumentally amazing film that every single person in the world needed to see, or despicable dreck that never should have seen the light of day. Yet, weirdly enough, it feels like it didn't leave much of a footprint. I feel like box office forums and religion classrooms are the only places it still comes up today.

 

I also still can't believe that it's still the highest-grossing R-rated domestic grosser after all these years. I was certain that American Sniper was going to blow past it after that jaw-dropping second weekend hold, but it lost too much steam over Super Bowl weekend and ended up falling $20 million short.

Edited by Webslinger
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On 4/11/2020 at 3:13 AM, Webslinger said:

Yet, weirdly enough, it feels like it didn't leave much of a footprint. I feel like box office forums and religion classrooms are the only places it still comes up today.

I think this has more to do with a movie about Jesus not being prime subject for pop culture ubiquity. In my country it was just a big controversial hit nowhere near the juggernaut it was in America, and it still plays every Easter and is one of the definitive Jesus depictions most people remember. The other 2 are Zefirelli's tv show from the 70s and Scorsese's Last Temptation who most people still haven't seen but are aware of the controversies surrounding it. Maybe this is as culturally relevant a movie about Jesus can get. It's not like we were ever gonna get a buzzfeed article ranking the torture methods used in the movie.

 

I also think it kind of solidified Gibson as a big actor turned director which wasn't the case back then despite him already having won a directing oscar. Gibson circa 2003 was a big movie star that also directed a movie that time and won all the oscars. I think today he is much more respected as a dinstict director even amongst critics despite half of them hating Passion of the Christ and him ruining his public image several times over the last 15 years. He doesn't have Clint's status but I think he's definately as respected as Redford and Beatty, maybe more than both of them.

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On 4/10/2020 at 8:13 PM, Webslinger said:

Yet, weirdly enough, it feels like it didn't leave much of a footprint. I feel like box office forums and religion classrooms are the only places it still comes up today.

It is not a movie that was particularly popular among people that define mainstream-pop culture footprint, but still if we look at similar type of success:

 

148 2011 Fast Five $630,163,454 $210,031,325 $420,132,129
149 2007 Ratatouille $626,549,695 $206,445,654 $420,104,041
150 2008 Hancock $624,234,272 $227,946,274 $396,287,998
151 2018 Ant-Man and the Wasp $623,144,660 $216,648,740 $406,495,920
152 2004 The Passion of the Christ $622,341,120 $370,782,930 $251,558,190
153 2010 Iron Man 2 $621,156,389 $312,433,331 $308,723,058
154 2012 Life of Pi $620,912,003 $124,987,022 $495,924,981
155 1997 The Lost World: Jurassic Park $618,638,999 $229,086,679 $389,552,320
156 2008 Mamma Mia! $615,514,762 $144,130,063 $471,384,699
157 2017 Logan $615,461,394 $226,277,068 $389,184,326
158 2014 How to Train Your Dragon 2 $614,586,270 $177,002,924 $437,583,346
159 2005 War of the Worlds $606,836,535 $234,280,354 $372,556,181
160 2017 Transformers: The Last Knight $602,893,340 $130,168,683 $472,724,657
161 2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa $599,680,774 $180,174,880 $419,505,894

 

I think it is fair to say that it is above average, I doubt much of those movie will get more talk 15 year's after their release than Passion, will see if the sequel ever get released if it will refresh it.

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