'The Passion of the Christ' DVD: Mel Gibson movie is an R-rated hit in North America
With the not inconsiderable assistance from Christian churches and organizations across the United States, The Passion of the Christ DVD – rated R – has sold 4.1 million copies after only one day in U.S. stores. That's certainly an impressive figure, though hardly a record-breaking one.
Pixar's animated 2003 blockbuster Finding Nemo easily retains the record for one-day DVD sales, with approximately 8 million copies sold within 24 hours, while Sam Raimi's Spider-Man (2002), starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, holds the record for live-action movies: 7 million copies gone from the shelves after one day.
On the big screen, The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson's biblical movie starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus Christ, is thus far the second highest-grossing 2004 release at the North American box office. With $370 million to date, Gibson's Jesus biopic is trailing only DreamWorks Animation's kiddie flick Shrek 2, featuring the voices of Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, and Antonio Banderas, and which has earned nearly $437 million.
(Controversial) R-rated, non-English-language bestselling DVD
In any case, Finding Nemo and Spider-Man haven't prevented Fox Home Entertainment from heralding The Passion of the Christ DVD as both the best-selling R-rated DVD release and the best-selling non-English-language film of all time – at least in the U.S. (Mel Gibson opted to shoot The Passion of the Christ in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin.)
As for the controversy, at the time of its theatrical release both The Passion of the Christ and director Gibson were criticized by a number of Jewish organizations because of the film's depiction of Jews as the ones responsible for Jesus' death. Some feared that the movie might lead to a resurgence of anti-Semitism.
'The Passion of the Christ' movie cast
In addition to Jim Caviezel as Jesus, the cast of The Passion of the Christ includes Monica Bellucci as Magdalen, Maia Morgenstern as Mary, Christo Jivkov as John, Francesco De Vito as Peter, Luca Lionello as Judas, and Hristo Shopov (a.k.a. Hristo Naumov Shopov) as Pontius Pilate.
In addition to Mattia Sbragia, Toni Bertorelli, Claudia Gerini, Fabio Sartor, Giacinto Ferro, and Aleksander Mincer (a.k.a. Olek Mincer).
Image of Jim Caviezel as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ: Icon Productions.