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The Passion breaks BO records

March 02, 2004 10:41 IST

A still from The Passion Of The ChristContinuing its miraculous hold over the box-office, Mel Gibson's intense and graphically violent The Passion Of The Christ grossed $76 million over the weekend, taking its five-day gross to $117 million.

The film, which is rewriting many records and drawing the kind of crowds summer blockbusters do, may become the highest grossing foreign-language film in North America in the next three days, beating the $128 million record of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

The Gibson film, which was made in the ancient languages of Aramaic and Latin, is subtitled in English. It was shunned by major Hollywood distributors amid the allegation it suggested that the entire Jewish community was responsible for the crucifixion of Christ. Gibson, who financed the $35 million film himself and had it released through the small distributor Newmarket Films, will recover his investment and advertising costs by the end of next week.

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For Newmarket, it was a terrific week by any reckoning. No film released by the boutique firm has grossed over $30 million in North America. Its biggest success so far, the tough and violent Monster that fetched the Best Actress Oscar for Charlize Theron, has grossed about $26 million. With the Oscar, the film could add another $10 million.  

With the sustained energy shown by the Gibson film, box-office analysts now think that The Passion Of The Christ will easily sail past $200 million within the next four weeks. Its American gross could be in the vicinity of $250 million. 

A still from Broken Lizard's Club DreadAmong the three newcomers that opened on Friday, Jay Chandrasekhar's comedy Broken Lizard's Club Dread, which aimed at young viewers, was at 10th place on the chart, but with a disappointing $3 million. Early tracking  suggested the movie could gross at least $6 million in its first weekend.

Most reviewers were unkind to Broken Lizard's Club Dread that mixed horror and humour. Chandrasekhar and his four buddies, who also wrote the script, have key roles in the film. Made for less than $15 million, it could have a better life on video.

The Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore comedy 50 First Dates enjoyed yet another good week. At second place, it grossed $12.5 million and may pass the $100 million mark in ten days.

The suspense thriller Twisted, starring Ashley Judd, Samuel L Jackson and Andy Garcia, was one of the more poorly reviewed films in recent weeks. But it opened to okayish numbers at the third position on the chart, followed by the comedy, Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen, another film that was aimed at teens but was declared dead on arrival last week.

Twisted revolves around a police officer (Judd), whose father was a serial killer. The young officer, now investigating a murder, finds herself at the centre of her own investigation when her past lovers start dying.

The film 'walks like a thriller and talks like a thriller, but it squawks like a turkey,' wrote Chicago Sun-Times' Roger Ebert, while in the rival Chicago Tribune, Michael Wilmington called it 'a barren movie full of new-style cliches.'

In Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt complained the movie was a 'routine police thriller which is done in by unlikely characters and preposterous plot twists.'

A still from DIrty Dancing: Havana NightsAnother big disappointment was the new film Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, a kind of prequel to the sensationally successful Dirty Dancing that is over two decades old. The hope that nostalgic old timers and curious young people will flock to the film just did not materialise. It opened at the fifth place with poor numbers, followed by the hit Miracle, the hockey drama that has revived Kurt Russell's career.

Yet another dud, Eurotrip was at seventh position, followed by the disappointing comedy Welcome To Mooseport, one of the more embarrassing flops in Gene Hackman's career.

The weak performances of many recent comedies have worked in the favour of Barbershop 2 which, at ninth position, has grossed about $58 million.

The box office this week:



Weekend gross


of weeks


The Passion Of The Christ

$76 million 


5 days


50 First Dates

$12.5 million (less 40% from the previous weekend)





$9 million




Confessions Of A Teenage Drama Queen

$6million (less 35% from the previous weekend) 




Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights

$5.9 million





$4.4 million (less 44% from the previous weekend)  





$4 million (less 39% from the previous weekend)




Welcome To Mooseport

$3.3 million (less 50% from the previous weekend)




Barbershop 2

$3 million (plus 51% from the previous weekend)




Club Dread

$3 million



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Arthur J Pais