'Passion of the Christ' Outperforms 'Da Vinci Code'

May 30th, 2006 7:53 AM
Mary Claire Kendall writes in Human Events that the "Da Vinci Code," despite all the media hype, has not performed as well as Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ." "Passion" made it into the list of top ten all-time grossing films, while "Da Vinci Code" will not. "Passion" also had a fourth of the production budget of "Da Vinci."

"The Da Vinci Code" made $102,481,037 in the first week. But says Kendall:

Now, $102.48 million is not exactly chump change. But, when you consider Ron Howard risked $125 million of Sony’s money making the film and another $125 million marketing the film, it’s underwhelming.

The comparison to The Passion of the Christ, dramatically depicting the last three days of Christ’s life on earth—faithful to the Gospels—is illustrative.

The Passion’s first week U.S. take was $144.6 million—a figure all the more impressive considering that it cost less than one-fourth (i.e., $30 million) what The Code cost to make and significantly less to market—much of the buzz generated under the radar screen among Christian communities across America, who, viewing the film, then sent out multitudinous e-mails to friends and family, encouraging them to see it. As with The Code, while The Passion’s impending release generated much free media, unlike The Code, that media was largely negative—not exactly a harbinger of a runaway hit. But, The Passion stands firm at No. 10 on the list of top grossing films.

But then Hollywood should know what Cecil B. DeMille, producer of The Ten Commandments, knew: Blasphemy doesn’t pay. For even now, this Memorial Day, The Da Vinci Code, IMDb reports, has now fallen to No. 2, behind X Men: The Last Stand and has grossed, as of Day 8, $145.5 million in U.S. sales, which falls well behind the compared films when, at the same point, sales all exceeded $150 million—most hovering around $200 million.