Mel’s Mega-Millions March 10, 2004 - The Hollywood Reporter Magazine After 'Passion,' no need for Gibson to work again By Martin A. Grove "Passion" power: Before Newmarket Films' mega-blockbuster launch of Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," insiders were speculating that the controversial film might hurt Gibson's acting career. Although some wondered if he'd ever work again, as it turns out the real question is whether Gibson will ever need to work again given "Passion's" divine profits... If "Passion" were to generate $400 million domestically, that could translate into $100 million or more of profits to Gibson and Icon... Needless to say, that's just the tip of the iceberg. If a film grosses $400 million domestically, it could easily do twice that internationally. It could, of course, even do more. "Titanic," for instance, did about $1 billion abroad compared to about $600 million in the U.S. and Canada. "Passion" is likely to do extremely well in parts of the world like Latin America and South America... ...Icon's international profits should be very considerable. If we're looking at $100 million in domestic profits, it's not unreasonable to figure $200-250 million (and possibly more) in international profits... ...If we're looking at $400 million in domestic theatrical grosses, we could be looking at $400 million more in DVD and home video sales... ..."Passion" could end up with 60 to 70 percent of the gross from DVD and video sales. If that number is $400 million, that could generate somewhere around $200 million more for Gibson... And that, by the way, isn't the end of the line. There are, of course, revenue streams from the film's soundtrack album and also from related merchandising deals that could be done in the future, perhaps as tie-ins with church groups worldwide. Moreover, because "Passion" is, in Hollywood genre terms, a period piece costume drama, it will never become dated. There's no reason it can't be re-released theatrically every year for decades to come. Gibson's film could become permanently linked with how Christians observe the Easter season... Hollywood distributors see the film helping their business by perhaps reawakening interest in movies in people who aren't regular moviegoers... ...It's widely believed that Gibson's initial audience for "Passion" was largely people who usually don't go to see films. This core audience, driven by Christian evangelical leaders, made seeing "Passion" their top priority. The fervor they exhibited for seeing it as early as possible in its run brings to mind the same frenzy that accompanies the opening of new "Star Wars" episodes or the latest comic book driven summer popcorn movies... ...the Christian Right immediately put it on the blockbuster charts... ...While it's true that many of the Bible's most familiar stories have been mined by Hollywood in the past, producers who now address the same material the way Gibson's done in his R rated "Passion" could find themselves satisfying the moviegoing appetite of this newly emerging audience.