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Passionofchrist-logo.svg“The Passion of the Christ” is the highest-grossing R-rated film ever shown in North America. Recently, a sequel was announced, and Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus in the original “The Passion,” said that he expects the movie to be “the biggest film in history.”

“There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience,” Caviezel said. “It’s great. Stay tuned.”

Not much is known about the movie so far, but it has been confirmed that Mel Gibson is directing and that Jim Caviezel will appear in the film. Gibson and Caviezel have also stated that the film will deal at least in part with the resurrection of Christ, but it does not sound like the movie will focus on Christ’s resurrection in the same way “The Passion” focused on Jesus’ death.

“I won’t tell you how [Gibson’s] going to go about it,” Caviezel said, “But I’ll tell you this much, the film he’s going to do is going to be the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”

Gibson was similarly cagy about the film’s storyline. “The Resurrection. Big Subject,” Gibson said. “We’re trying to craft this in a way that’s cinematically compelling and enlightening so that it shines new light, if possible, without creating some weird thing.”

The original “The Passion of the Christ” covered the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life and redefined the faith-based film industry.  When Gibson originally came up with the project, he had a great deal of difficulty getting a production company to sign off on the film. Eventually, he financed it himself. The gamble paid off as the film drew in hordes of Christian viewers. Influential evangelical leaders such as Billy Graham and Rober Schuller endorsed the film, as did famous Christian author Max Lucado.

“The Passion” opened on Ash Wednesday, and some churches rented entire theaters. This was done both to help the film succeed and to ensure that their congregation could view the movie. Christians from all walks of life developed almost a sense of obligation to see the movie, and their attitude shows in box office success of “The Passion.”

Gibson’s new film, however, will be entering a very different world than its 2004 predecessor. The sequel, tentatively titled “The Resurrection,” will be competing with other faith-based films and premiering at a time when “evangelical” is correlated with a certain political point of view. It is likely, however, that “The Resurrection” will make at least a decent showing at the box office. “The Passion” was too well received by Christians for the truly massive Christian population not to give its sequel at least a cursory viewing. What remains to be seen is if “The Resurrection” will have as much of an impact on viewers as its powerful prequel.

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