Monday, May 3, 2010

The Ten Most Impressive Box Office Runs of 2000s (No. 2)

The Passion of the Christ (2004)

  - The biggest R-rated film ever with $370.3m, 31.7% better than the second place holder The Matrix Reloaded
  - The biggest opening weekend ever in winter (Dec - Feb) with $83.8m even though it launched on a Wednesday

  - The best opening weekend for a R-rated non-sequel, 18.3% higher than the current runner-up 300
  - 3.92 multiplier

Predictions Comparison (5-day opening):
  - BOG: $67m; Brandom Gray - $78m; BOM Derby - $78m

The Passion of the Christ was not the first nor the last film to be surrounded by controversy upon its release, neither was it the first movie based on the best-selling book of all time, the Bible. Nonetheless, somehow someway, it towered above all other comparable films and became the biggest R-rated movie of all time, period.  Six years later, it still stands as the only R-rated film to break $300m.  Then the fact that it was released in February and had no summer or holiday help makes all the achievements even more amazing.

There was no doubt the film was picking up steam heading into its release, as Gibson's interpretation of Jesus Christ's final 12 hours was not only dominating the air wave, but also headlining many major publications.  Gibson was also a hot commodity following a string of successes for the films he starred in, in particular Signs and What Women Want.  People following box office began to realize its breakout potential and had gradually increased their expectations from a sub-$20m opening from Wednesday to Sunday to $40m, then $60m, and finally to the $65-80m range.  Still, questions persisted on what the ceiling was for a subtitled R-rated film with no stars among the cast.  It gave a resounding answer by blowing past even the most optimistic predictions and grossing more over the weekend than many thought it would do in the first five days (its 5-day total ended up being $125.2m).

The stunning opening figure alone would have been enough for a top 6 placement on the list, but it also exhibited terrific legs, even though question was initially raised again on how many times viewers were willing to sit through such a film.  After the opening frame, It had 4 consecutive weekend drops between 35.1% and 39.7% before picking up a notch to decline only 15.8% on its 6th weekend.  Then with the help of Easter, it reclaimed the title with an huge 43.5% jump.  It had 48 straight days of $1m+ gross and 51 days overall, all of which were between February and April, when the midweek business is nowhere near the strongest.  Such body of work is unlikely to be duplicated any time soon.


  1. Greek wedding for No.1??

  2. Of course! Greek Wedding had the most ridiculous box-office run I've seen in the past ten years. Talk about legs!