Mel Gibson's controversial movie The Passion Of The Christ will get a big opening on 2,000 screens across America next month (FEB04), following an unexpected flood of ticket requests.

Bosses at NEWMARKET FILMS, the movie's distributors, say even church groups have been ordering large blocks of tickets for the film - which charts the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ.

BOB BERNEY, the company's president, says, "I knew it would start building and building, but now it's like a tsunami.

"We've had a flood of calls. People call and say, 'I want 10,000 tickets."

One multiplex in Plano, Texas, is planning to reserve all 20 of its screens for the movie and will start showing the film at 6.30 am on it's opening day, 25 February.

The film has attracted controversy amid fears it would ignite tension between Christian and Jewish groups.

16/01/2004 17:10