What's the highest-grossing R-rated movie in U.S. history? If you instantly thought Deadpool, then no chimichangas for you! No, it's Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, which earned $611M, $370M of which was banked right here. Not bad for a movie that was in Aramaic and was basically two blood-soaked hours of women wailing and Jesus in utmost agony. Fun stuff.
Of course that wasn't the end of Jesus' story, and now THR reports Gibson is ready to tell the rest of it. He'll reportedly rejoin with screenwriter Randall Wallace on a sequel that will center on the resurrection. In theory, the film wouldn't need to be an exercise in torture porn the way its Oscar-nominated predecessor was. The film took a ton of heat with many claiming it was anti-Semitic, charges that only grew years later when Gibson was caught making derogatory comments about Jews.
Those comments saw Gibson's career hit a tailspin that he's only just beginning to recover from. He's taken a couple of bad guy roles in films such as Machete Kills and The Expendables 3, but his big comeback will be later this year when he debuts WWII film, Hacksaw Ridge, his first directorial effort since 2006's Apocalypto.
The reunion with Wallace, who he worked with on Braveheart and We Were Soldiers, makes sense for a number of reasons. The main one is Wallace's background as a religion major, and his connections with the faith-based movie audience. He recently wrote and directed hit film Heaven Is for Real, which earned more than $100M. Here's what Wallace had to say about his reasons for taking on a 'Passion' sequel...
"I always wanted to tell this story. The Passion is the beginning and there's a lot more story to tell...The evangelical community considers The Passion the biggest movie ever out of Hollywood, and they kept telling us that they think a sequel will be even bigger."
Gibson and Wallace are only in the script phase so this may be a long ways off, but when it's ready expect the studios come circling. Presumably Jim Caviezel would reprise the lead role, because it would be weird for Christ to rise up looking like a different dude. Then again we're talking about a guy rising from the grave so all bets are off in terms of what is believable and what isn't.
Watching 'Passion' was one of the most uncomfortable moviegoing experiences of my life, surrounded by people who were in tears while I sat stone-faced and a little bored. I'm not looking forward to going through that again but this should be a happier story, right? More laughs fewer ugly cries?