Jesus Christ, Box Office Star?


With The Gospel According to Mel due to open Feb. 25, the controversy over The Passion of the Christ should heat up hotter than a lake of fire over the next week.

The Sunday Cincinnati Enquirer included this useful summary of Jesus pics over the past three or four decades, most of which were box office and critical sins. The Enquirer also ran this interesting story on the grassroots selling of the movie. Will The Passion be a Christian version of Battlefield Earth, the Scientology-friendly flick bolstered by the participation of Vinnie Barbarino as an outer-space alien? Who knows (well, He knows, of course)?

But while picking my son and a friend up after they caught the feel-good Cold War epic Miracle yesterday, I chatted briefly with the manager of the local theater here in small-town USA (i.e., Oxford, Ohio). He told me that for weeks now, he's been getting something 20 phone calls a day about The Passion and tons of church groups have been buying tickets in bulk. It's like nothing he's seen before, all of which suggests that The Passion will open huge.