Last Friday I had dinner with some friends, including Melanie, who works as a creative exec over at Mel Gibson's Icon Productions. Since she was an employee of Mr. Mad Max, she asked us to guess how much "The Passion Of The Christ" would ultimately make in the U.S.
Her boyfriend figured it'd make less than $100 million, which I'm assuming didn't score any points with her. Chindy and I guessed around $120 or $150 million. Melanie optimistically put it at least $180 million.
Well as most of you know by now, it's already made a miraculous $125 million. That's a "Star Wars" or "Lord of the Rings" kind of opening, except I don't recall seeing any news about "Passion" fans camping out for days before the first screening while dressed as their favorite New Testament character.
At this rate, it's going to make well over $250 million. And in Hollywood, this can only mean one thing ... a sequel!
However, two studio chiefs are already rumored to have vowed never to work with Mel Gibson again, probably on account of their being Roman. I mean, I can see how the Roman community might get a little nervous about an anti-Roman backlash after the audience witnesses many graphic scenes where Jesus is savagely beaten, tortured, and then crucified by sadistic Roman people.
All kidding aside, I can sort of see how Jewish-Americans can get nervous about this film the same way many Japanese and other Asian-Americans were antsy about "Pearl Harbor." Luckily for us, the movie sucked and nobody went to see it. Can't say the same about "The Passion", though. Of course I haven't seen it yet, so I'll reserve my judgment and other film-related opinions 'til then.