Monday, April 12, 2004

Passion of the Christ Success in Holy Week

Thanks to David Mackinder for the link to this article from today's (now for me yesterday's) New York Times:

Holy Week Pilgrims Flock to 'Passion'
Attendance grew steadily through the week and reached its highest on Good Friday, the commemoration of the Crucifixion, said Bob Berney, the president of the movie's distributor, Newmarket Films.

"Every night since Palm Sunday the numbers have gone up," he said on Friday. "It's a very rare movie that returns to No. 1 in its seventh week."

"The Passion" earned an estimated $17 million on 3,240 screens, Mr. Berney said, up 61 percent from the previous weekend. Since opening it has grossed $354.8 million in the United States, Mr. Berney said, making it the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time . . . . .

. . . . . "It was a campaign-style marketing plan," Mr. Berney said. "Bush conservatives were the target audience, but it spread beyond that."

When Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks released "The Prince of Egypt" in 1998, he took a different approach. He spent four years building support among Jews and Christians alike for that animated family film about Moses, which earned $101 million. "Mel embraced controversy," Mr. Katzenberg said. "I avoided it and built consensus." . . . . .

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