UP TV PRESENTS
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST
Special One-Night Television Event Marks 10-Year
Anniversary of Watershed Film
LOS ANGELES – March 14, 2014 –The Passion of the Christ, Mel Gibson’s blockbuster retelling of Jesus’ final hours, will make its commercial television premiere on the UP television network at 9 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. PDT on Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014. Ten years after it captivated the world and made box office history, an edited-for-television version of the powerful, provocative, three-time Oscar®-nominated and People’s Choice winner The Passion of the Christ will air with limited commercial interruption on UP, presented as part of the faith-friendly network’s two-week celebration of Easter.
“UP is proud to present this powerful, groundbreaking cinematic portrayal of Christ’s death and resurrection as the centerpiece of our extensive Easter programming,” said Charley Humbard, president and CEO, UP. “The Passion of the Christ is a story of unconditional love—the love of a Mother for her son and the love of a Son for his Heavenly Father and for all mankind. This film depicts the story that is at the very heart of Christianity. It truly epitomizes our holiday theme: ‘Easter Lives Here!’”
The release of The Passion of the Christ coincided with the founding of UP a decade ago. Today the network is one of the largest producers of faith-friendly films with 40 original films to its credit and 20 additional original films scheduled for 2015.
First released theatrically during Lent, 2004, The Passion of the Christ took in $612 million at the worldwide box office, becoming the highest grossing independent film of all time. The film remains the highest-grossing religious film in history. Since then, it has never aired on a commercial network. Directed by Mel Gibson (Braveheart, Apocalypto) from a script by Gibson and Benedict Fitzgerald, the film stars Jim Caviezel (The Prisoner, “Person of Interest”) as Jesus and Monica Bellucci (The Matrix Reloaded, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice) as Mary Magdalene.
Spoken entirely in reconstructed Aramaic and Latin with subtitles, The Passion of the Christ focuses on the last 12 hours of Jesus of Nazareth’s life. The film begins in the Garden of Olives where Jesus has gone to pray after the Last Supper. Jesus must resist the temptations of Satan. Betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus is then arrested and taken within the city walls of Jerusalem where leaders of the Pharisees confront him with accusations of blasphemy and his trial results in a condemnation to death.
In addition to becoming a Holy Week touch point for Christians worldwide, the film has been lauded by numerous major film critics. USA Today’s Claudia Puig wrote at the time, “Gibson has made a stunning film, beautifully photographed in contrasting dark and golden hues by Caleb Deschanel,” adding, “Caviezel plays Jesus with magnetism, dignity and humility.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Phil Kloer described it as a “movie so singular, so intense, so overwhelming that it simply has to be experienced” and James Berardinelli of ReelViews described it as “a gripping, powerful motion picture—arguably the most forceful depiction of Jesus’ death ever to be committed to film.” Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times commented, “I was moved by the depth of feeling, by the skill of the actors and technicians, by their desire to see this project through no matter what,” while Richard Roeper of TV’s “Ebert & Roeper” called it “the most powerful, important and by far the most graphic interpretation of Christ’s final hours ever put on film.”
Filmed in Italy and produced and distributed independently by Gibson and his company, Icon Productions, The Passion of the Christ instantly created a new market for faith-based and faith-friendly films and has inspired filmmakers around the world ever since. A decade later in 2014, the epic films Son of God, Noah and Exodus will all be released theatrically by major Hollywood studios.
The Passion of the Christ received a host of industry and critical awards and was voted “the most pro-Catholic film of all time” by readers of Faith & Family magazine and the National Catholic Register newspaper. It received more votes from readers than the next three films on the list combined: The Sound of Music (1965), A Man for All Seasons (1966) and The Song of Bernadette (1943). In June 2006, Entertainment Weekly named The Passion of the Christ #1 on its list of “The 25 Most Controversial Movies of All Time.”
UP, America’s favorite network for uplifting entertainment is a 24-hour television network that provides high-quality, diverse, family-friendly programming, including original and premiere movies, theatricals, drama and comedy series, music and holiday specials. UP can be seen in 67 million homes in high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) on cable systems including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Charter and Cox Communications as well as DIRECTV (Channel 338), DISH Network (Channel 188) and Verizon FIOS (Channel 224). As part of its mission to entertain and uplift, the network’s pro-social initiative “Uplift Someone” reminds and inspires people to do simple acts of kindness. UP is also a service provider to its sister network ASPiRE. Based in Atlanta, UP is a division of UP Entertainment, LLC, which also offers gMovies, the first faith-friendly streaming movie service.
About Allied Faith & Family
Allied Faith & Family’s mission is to encourage and assist the entertainment community in promoting life-affirming messages that touch the heart and uplift the human spirit. We exist to build bridges between the faith and entertainment worlds and advance media that entertains, enlightens, inspires and endures.