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Passionate Opening

Now this is somethng you can blame on the Jews.

Mel Gibson’s gamble on “The Passion of the Christ” paid off enormously, riding a storm of religious debate to a $117.5 million haul in its first five days, according to studio estimates Sunday.

“The Passion,” which debuted on Ash Wednesday, rocketed to the No. 1 box-office slot for the weekend with $76.2 million from Friday to Sunday. It was the seventh-best three-day opening ever, behind “Spider-Man” at $114.8 million and such Hollywood franchises as “The Matrix Reloaded” and the first two “Harry Potter” movies.

“The Passion” put up the second-best five-day figures for a movie opening on Wednesday, behind last year’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at $124.1 million and ahead of “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” at $105.6 million.

The first movie released in 2004 to cross the $100 million mark, “The Passion” easily passed the weekend’s No. 2 flick, “50 First Dates” at $88.7 million, as the year’s top-grossing film.

Once considered a niche film that would appeal mainly to conservative Christians, the bloody chronicle of Christ’s crucifixion swelled to blockbuster proportions as Gibson rallied church groups to support it and accusations of anti-Semitism brought mainstream attention.

If Mel did, in fact, hate Jews, he should love us now.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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