Money Talks, Bullshit Walks

‘Passion’ Fills Movie Theaters On Blockbuster Opening Day (

The movie has confounded Hollywood’s traditional belief that religious movies don’t make money. The depiction of Jesus’s brutal betrayal, punishment and death, debuted in very wide release at 3,006 theaters throughout North America, earning an estimated $7,837 per theater. That is not far below “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King’s” $9,303. “Return of the King” holds the record for a Wednesday opener, $34.5 million.

“Passion” also generated $3 million from prepaid special screenings on Monday and Tuesday, which brings the current gross to $26.5 million.

Speaking as a longtime writer and produced screenwriter, let me tell you a little secret: Despite the supposed threats against Gibson emanating from certain Hollywood quarters, if this flick does anything like the now-predicted gross (which would stick 50-75 million dollars in Gibson’s personal pockets), not only will Mel Gibson have no trouble finding work, he’ll have to fend it off with a club.

And ten bloody religious Christian epics will be greenlighted immediately by everybody from Disney to Sony, with Spielberg being the biggest name to dive into the “First In Line To Be Second” pool.

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


Money Talks, Bullshit Walks — 6 Comments

  1. Leaving aside the inspirational aspects of the thing (which, being a Catholic, I’m reluctant to do, but still…), Gibson’s movie could be considered an exploration of a market niche previously unaddressed by Hollywood. If things work out as well as they appear destined to, he won’t be the last to probe that niche. However, it’s acutely sensitive to sincerity. A lot of producers will wish they’d stuck to shoot-em-ups and glorifications of heroic abortionists.

  2. I believe Mr. Porreto may be correct regarding the untapped market. I have a friend who produces Christian rock videos. My friend is not particularly religious. He does it because there is a market for his video production skills. I think the success of the Gibson film will lead to more than a slew of wanna-be films. I think it will expose the potential market for Christian oriented products in general. I believe Mr. Porreto is also correct that the market may be tough to navigate for the proto-typical cynical marketing executive. But if carefully exploited, the market has huge potential.

    Jim English

  3. Also a long time denizen of H’wood and I would like to point something out: Gibson made this movie from the depths of his soul; he had total belief in what he was doing. If you will go back to the movie “Rocky”, Stallone mortgaged everything he had and both producers hocked everything as did their wives. The same is true of Titanic, another gut feel movie. You cannot duplicate this in corporate board rooms.

    The Passion of The Christ is not a corporate make money movie. Period. Forces (God, Bacchus, Apollo??? I lean to Diana.) combined beautifully to favor this release. The Super Bowl fiasco, the totally corrupt Hollywood output, MTV, and the attacks on both Catholics and Christians just pissed people off.

    Take a look at what is up for the awards. Pictures about next to nothing. And don’t forget the Spellman factor, so named after the long late Cardinal of New York, who used to ban movies only to see them record huge grosses. The attacks on both movie and Gibson, particularly by Jews in the business who should know better and the usual secular liberals who seem to just hate everyone who attends church, helped make this a movie that “they” didn’t want people to see. So we all went just to show “them”. Grosses: 143 mil through Saturday. It did $53 mil on Saturday alone.

  4. Given that the film was distributed by an independent agency, it may not be playing in as many theatres as a typical release would. It could actually be doing much better, on a revenue-per-theatre basis, than the other blockbusters it’s being compared to.

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