Mel Gibson is eager to release his controversial epic The Passion OF THE CHRIST every Easter, because he's convinced church-goers will always flock to see it.

The Hollywood actor-turned-director believes his violent depiction of the final 12 hours of Jesus Christ's life will become vital to the meaning of Easter, just like uplifting movie MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET has become the flagship film of Christmas.

Gibson has asked bosses at NEWMARKET FILMS to start negotiating with the multiplex movie theatres for the first re-run next year (04).

A business aide says, "There's no reason The Passion can't be to Easter what Miracle On 34th Street has been to Christmas.

"More than 10 years after it's release in 1947, crowds were still pilling into movie theatres to see Miracle, Mel is positive the same will be true of THE PASSION."

The Passion Of The Christ is on course to be one of the highest grossing films ever.

28/03/2004 14:44