‘Passion’ hits Selma’s shelves

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Times-Journal Writer

“The Passion of the Christ”, one of the most top grossing and controversial films this year, arrived on the shelves of Selma’s movie retail and rental stores Tuesday with far less fanfare than expected.

Employees with Selma’s two movie rental stores-Blockbuster and Movie Gallery-say there were no lines or crowds scrambling for copies as displays were being set up.

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In fact employees say, so far, there has surprisingly little interest at all.

But this could change once word gets out that the film is available for home viewing, says Movie Gallery employee Brenda Wilson.

“We are definitely expecting a large interest in this movie,” Wilson said.

Movie Gallery has 29 DVDs and nine VHS copies of “The Passion of the Christ” for rent. The store also currently has 14 DVD copies and two VHS available for sale.

Blockbuster manager Terrance Woods said he expects rentals to pick up this weekend with Labor Day giving rentes more chance to see the movie.

“I expected it to be a lot more traffic,” Woods said. “A lot of people haven’t been showing too much reaction.”

Woods said he did have one customer buy three copies, but so far the movie hasn’t been flying off of Selma’s shelves.

The lack of first day response is surprising considering the film earned $83,848,082 in its

opening weekend and a total $370,274,604 in box office receipts by the end of its theater run on July 29, making it the second most profitable movie this year behind “Shrek 2”.

Wilson said so far only a couple of the DVD copies have been checked out, and none have been sold in Movie Gallery

In “The Passion of the Christ”, James Caviezel portrays Jesus Christ in his final hours, from the Garden of Olives and the Last Supper to the Crucifixion.

The movie, funded out of Gibson’s own pockets, sparked controversy as some claimed it was anti-Semitic and too violent.

Yet the controversy only sparked more interest in “The Passion of the Christ”, causing it to become one of the most talked about and written about films this year.

With the film now available for home viewing, its popularity and profit margin are sure to continue growing.