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Passion’ Debuts on DVD in August
LOS ANGELES – Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” will be released on DVD on Aug. 31. The actor-director’s company, Icon Productions, announced Monday that it has partnered with 20th Century Fox for the home-video distribution.
Gibson’s company couldn’t persuade any of the major Hollywood studios, including Fox, to distribute the movie, which was released in theaters on Feb. 25, Ash Wednesday on the Roman Catholic calendar.
It became the year’s biggest blockbuster so far, earning a place among the top 10 highest-grossing movies of all time with more than $368 million at the North American box office.
Although Fox passed on the theatrical distribution of the film, the studio exercised its “first look deal” with Gibson’s company that put it at the head of the line among those who wanted to distribute the DVD.
Asked if the movie’s box-office success was a motivator for Fox’s DVD interest, Steve Feldstein, spokesman for Fox Home Entertainment, would only say: “We enjoy a strong relationship with Mel Gibson and everybody at Icon.”
Besides the film’s violent content, some Jewish organizations objected to the movie, starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus, fearing it would spark a rise in anti-Semitism by blaming ancient Jewish people for killing Christ.
Filmed in Aramaic and Latin, the movie will be presented with English subtitles on VHS and English and Spanish subtitles on DVD.
Feldstein said there will not be any extra features.
“For the consumers and fans of the film, it’s going to simply be the film,” he said Monday.
As to whether another version would be released in the future with extra features such as behind-the-scenes footage and commentary audio tracks, Feldstein said: “I wouldn’t rule it out.”