Scott Brown
March 21, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

”I HOPE YOU LIKE IT,” SAYS Mel Gibson on the Passion Recut website. ”I like it.” He’s talking about the less ”horrific” version of The Passion of the Christ, as Gibson terms his unrated, five-to-six-minute shorter cut for more delicate audiences (slightly less flaying, slightly less nailing). The re-edit, poised to become a Lenten perennial, pulled in just $223,789 on 957 screens — or about $234 per screen. Could it be the audience is taking a pass on Passion, having already spent $611 million worldwide for the original and more than $245 million for the DVD? Or is this simply controversy withdrawal? Easter weekend (which distributor Newmarket awaits with bated breath) will bring the final revelation.

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