‘The Passion’ Comes To Retail

Discussion
Aug 31, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

The controversy is still there but so are the sales. Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’ goes on sale in retail stores and online today with predictions the DVD release will outperform its domestic box office sales.

Interestingly, the DVD is being released without any additional special features as has become the norm in this market.

Steve Feldstein, Fox senior vice president, Corporate & Marketing Communications told the Chicago Tribune, “Theatrically, it had such long legs that the Aug. 31 date was the first chance we had to get it out. The most important thing to us and to [Mel Gibson’s production company] Icon was its visual and audio quality being the most pristine possible, and that ate up bit rate on the disc.”

Mr. Feldstein said the marketing of the film on DVD is taking the same approach as the theatrical release. Fox intends to focus on Christians with churches, for example, being offered bulk discounts.

“The churches were a big part of the success of this film,” he said. “The non-secular community that doesn’t normally go to theaters turned out en masse for this film. I think it brought a lot of people into theaters that just hadn’t been there. It’s a large marketplace that’s looking for quality programming.”

The Tribune article says other movie studios are also looking to ride the coattails of Mr. Gibson’s film by bringing films to market today, as well. Universal is releasing ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and the South Park satire, ‘The Passion of the Jew’ from Paramount will also go on sale.

Moderator’s Comment: What special challenges/opportunities does ‘The Passion” represent for retailers selling/renting the DVD?
George Anderson – Moderator

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