"The Passion" chronicles the last twelve hours in the life of Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ), including his betrayal by Judas, his trial, and his execution by the Roman Army circa 29 to 36 CE. (The exact year is unknown and a matter of active theological debate.) The screen play was based on a blending of the accounts from the four canonical Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, with extra-biblical sources. It was released to thousands of movie theatres across North America on Ash Wednesday, 2004-FEB-25. This is the first day of Lent, which extends each year until Easter Sunday. In 2004, Easter falls on the same day in both the Western Christian denominations and Eastern Orthodox churches: APR-11.
Mel Gibson co-wrote, directed, and co-produced the "The Passion." Author Benedict Fitzgerald was also involved in the writing of the screenplay. Gibson also financed the $25 million movie through his company, Icon Productions. "Hollywood's major studios all passed on offers to distribute the film; New Market [Films] agreed to [d]istribute it for a fee, as it did the sleeper hit 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'." 1
The movie gross on its first day of showing was very close to the cost of the movie itself. It subsequently grossed US $111,500,000 during its first five days of viewing in the United States. The Passion of The Christ was less popular, on a per-capita basis, in Canada, where it grossed only US $ 6 million. (The population of Canada is one tenth that of the U.S. so some observers were expecting on the order of $11 million gross). It was the most popular movie in North America during the weekend following its introduction.
The movie has probably created more controversy than any other movie in recent years:
Over time, we expect that the movie will have a major affect on Christians' beliefs. Their grasp of the details of his arrest, trial, flogging, crucifixion and death will probably be based more on the movie than on the Gospels themselves. The visions of two Catholic nuns: St. Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) and St. Mary of Agreda (1602-1665), whose visions formed such a major part of the movie, will have a profound affect on Christians' understanding of the events leading up to Jesus' execution.
The passion - lite version:
According to Bruce Davey., Mel Gibson's partner at Icon Productions, "There has been quite a demand by the religious community to bring [the film] back for Easter. And there has been a lot of discussion about the violence. Mel wanted to try and accommodate those people by making a version that is softer and gentler." A slightly less violent version of the movie is being produced with five to six minutes deleted from the most violent scenes -- particularly that of the scourging. This edition will not have an age restriction in many jurisdictions. It is expected to run in from 500 to 750 theatres. 4
Topics covered in this section:
Books related to "The Passion of The Christ," and the movie sound track:
Related essays in this web site:
Order the movie:
Amazon.com found the following books that deal with the passion of Christ and/or the movie:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Copyright © 2004 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious