By KATE JOHNSON
Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” was released in 2004 and earned a whopping $600 million on a budget of $30 million. It was the highest grossing R-rated film in North America, according to FOX News.
Fourteen years later, Gibson is working hard on the sequel. Little has been revealed about the sequel, but actor Jim Caviezel, 49, will be reprising his role as Jesus.
Caviezel told USA Today, “I won’t tell you how [Gibson is] going about it…. But I’ll tell you this much, the film he’s going to do is going to be the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”
“Passion of the Christ” ended with the Crucifixion and Gibson confirmed in late 2016 that the sequel will focus on the Resurrection, according to the Huffington Post.
Gibson told USA Today, “The Resurrection. Big subject. Oh, my God. We’re trying to craft this in a way that’s cinematically compelling and enlightening so that it shines a new light, if possible, without creating some weird thing.”
“Passion of the Christ” was protested by Jewish and interfaith groups. The film was criticized for fueling antisemitism because it portrayed the Jewish people as responsible for the death of Jesus.
Most major news networks covering the sequel have not mentioned the negative opinions and protesting of the first film, but it was joked about on “The Weekend Update” for “Saturday Night Live.” Most coverage continues to be centered around the hype surrounding the film.
Gibson is no stranger to controversy himself. In 2006, two years after the release of “Passion of the Christ,” Gibson gained a lot of negative publicity across all major news media outlets after he was caught making anti-Semitic remarks during an arrest.
Gibson later apologized for his remarks. As time passes, it will be interesting to see how the upcoming sequel will be received by the public and covered by the press in light of this controversy.
Controversial or not, the sequel is highly anticipated, especially after Caviezel’s claims that “[the film] is going to be the biggest film in history.”
The actor also told USA Today, “There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience . . . It’s great. Stay tuned.”
Furthering the suspense around the film, Randall Wallace, the screenwriter of “Passion of the Christ,” told the Hollywood Reporter, “The Passion is the beginning and there’s a lot more of the story to tell.”
In an interview on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Gibson indicated that the sequel may not be in theaters until 2019 or 2020. As time progresses, given the continued popularity of “Passion of the Christ” and the publicity that the Resurrection sequel is already garnering, I am predicting another major blockbuster.