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Conquest (1983) Body Double (1984) Mighty Aphrodite (1995) Prince Of Darkness (1987) Romancing The Stone 1 (1984) Tenant, The (1976)

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2004.03.15 - The Passion Of The Christ marches on

The Passion of the Christ held on to its top position at the box office during its third weekend with almost $32 million. Its total now reaches $264 million domestically, beating My Big Fat Greek Wedding which had held until now the record for independent movies with $241 million during its run in the US theaters.

As a result, several top Hollywood producers interviewed in the New York Times (you need to register to read articles posted on the site, but it's free otherwise) have predicted that this enormous success will inspire a wave of bible-based movies. However, all is not so easy. The movie is not just about the Crucifixion. It is also a masterful exercize in marketting, a political religious statement driven by Mel Gibson's intense conservative Catholicism. Jeff Robinov, the president of production at Warner Brothers, said: "I wouldn't know how to duplicate this". Michael Nozik, the producer of Quiz Show and the recently released Motorcycle Diaries, a film about Che Guevara, said "You can't deny when a movie makes that kind of money that the audience has spoken to the filmmaking community. But it's a frightening comment. I would not think of making a religious movie that speaks to this aspect of the audience. I don't know how you speak to that audience as a filmmaker. But as a businessman you have to go, `God, there's something there.'"

Nevertheless, conservative film critic Michael Medved observed in USA Today: "For many years, some lonely dissenters (including this writer) have argued that leading studios could improve their bottom lines by ending their frequent bashing of Christian symbols and substance and launching new efforts to tap into the nation's resurgent religiosity. Gibson has put that theory into triumphal practice, and other idealistic movie moguls already have prepared to follow his lead".

Whether you like this movie or not, you cannot help but be impressed, or scared depending on your point of view, by its public success. One cannot help but relate this american (so far) popular phenomenon with the global rise in religiousness across the globe, which unfortunately, expresses itself too often in extremesism and violence, rather than humbleness and peace. At the very least, it proves once again that Films are the central and dominant form of Art today in our modern societies. Their influence is global, and deep. Here at RatingMovies.ComŽ, we are following the developments around this big story on a daily basis. By all measures, The Passion of the Christ is the biggest movie of the year so far. As a reminder, do note that The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King, the biggest fare of 2004, has grossed $370 million so far.

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