'The Passion of the Christ' DVD: Mel Gibson R-Rated Bestseller + Naked Men & Oscar Wilde in Toronto

'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).

Naked Men image Kinsey movieMale nudity in 'Kinsey' movie poster.

Toronto Film Festival: Naked men & Oscar Wilde

The 2004 edition of the Toronto Film Festival, to be held Sept. 9–18, will showcase nudity and sex – check out the naked man in the Kinsey poster to the right, and the film's tagline “sex: the measure of all things” – in addition to Oscar Wilde, metaphysics, Bobby Darin, AIDS, Jean-Luc Godard, and temperamental stage actresses along the lines of Bette Davis in All About Eve.

Alfred Kinsey and male sexual behavior

Among the Toronto Film Festival's 100 world premieres is that of Bill Condon's Kinsey, in which Liam Neeson plays controversial sex researcher Alfred Kinsey, whose book Sexual Behavior in the Human Male sparked shock, awe, and moralistic outrage in the post-World War II United States. Also in the Kinsey cast:

  • Academy Award nominee Laura Linney (You Can Count on Me, 2000) as Kinsey's wife, Clara McMillen.
  • Chris O'Donnell (Scent of a Woman, Batman & Robin).
  • Peter Sarsgaard, apparently one of the film's “naked men,” whether physically or psychologically.
  • Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton (Ordinary People, 1980).
  • Two-time Academy Award nominee John Lithgow (The World According to Garp, 1982; Terms of Endearment, 1983).
  • Katharine Hepburn's niece Katharine Houghton (Hepburn's daughter in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner).

TIFF 2004: From Oscar Wilde to Bobby Darin

Also at Toronto 2004:

Jean-Luc Godard, South African movies

Among the 2004 Toronto Film Festival's other highlights are the following:

All in all, the ten-day 2004 Toronto Film Festival will screen 321 features and short films from 61 countries.

* Previous movie versions of Oscar Wilde's classic play include:

See also: Toronto Film Festival 2004 winners.


Toronto Film Festival website.

Kinsey naked man poster: Fox Searchlight.

Image of Jim Caviezel as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ: Icon Productions.

'The Passion of the Christ' DVD: Mel Gibson R-Rated Bestseller + Naked Men & Oscar Wilde in Toronto © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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