Mel Gibson's controversial The Passion Of The Christ has broken box-office records in Britain, for being the highest grossing subtitled film to open in the country.

The biblical epic took $3,635,600 (GBP2,019,803) on its first weekend (26/27MAR04), a sum which has secured its place in the record books.

The film's takings received an advanced boost after churches filled up cinemas by block-booking free tickets.

Throughout the film, the actors - including Jim Caviezel as Jesus Christ and Monica Bellucci as MARY MAGDALENE - speak in the ancient languages of Aramaic and Latin.

The Passion overtakes previous subtitled record holder Crouching Tiger: HIDDEN DRAGON which took $1,234,800 (GBP686,000) and AMELIE starring AUDREY TAUTOU - which took $1,006,200 (GBP559,000) - both in 2001.

The controversial film - which has sparked accusations its depiction of the final 12 hours of Jesus' life is anti-Semitic - has so far grossed $264.6 million (GBP147 million) in America.

30/03/2004 13:59