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Gibson to release Passion "lite" for Easter

Mel Gibson will release a new, low-violence version of his highly successful The Passion of the Christ movie next month, according to the movie industry newspaper Daily Variety.

Gibson is said to be trimming five to six minutes of violent scenes ahead of the film's March 11 reappearance on screens in the United States.

The original film raked in $A603.54 million in its North American run that began on Ash Wednesday one year ago.

But Gibson noted that many people had avoided the film because of its grisly portrayal of Jesus Christ being tortured by Roman soldiers.

"There has been quite a demand by the religious community to bring [the film] back for Easter," Bruce Davey, Gibson's partner at Icon Productions, told Variety.

"And there has been a lot of discussion about the violence. Mel wanted to try and accommodate those people by making a version that is softer and gentler.

The film, The Passion Recut, will be beamed onto 500 to 750 screens by distributor Newmarket Films, Variety said, adding that the new versions would not be subject to an audience age restriction.

"There are no new scenes, and the cuts are limited to the more violent aspects of the film, if that's the right term. The scourging scene in particular has been substantially adjusted," Mr Davey said.

Gibson softens 'Passion' for Easter release (ABC/AFP 11/2/05)

The Passion of The Christ
Archdiocese of Sydney - The Passion website
The Australian Passion Network
Andrew Hamilton SJ: The Final Word ('Gore and sweat is the point' - Eureka Street)

Pell says Gibson film will heighten Good Friday observance (CathNews 8/4/04)
Philippine bishops fear imitation of Christ's crucifixion (CathNews 7/4/04)
Pope meets with 'Passion' star Caviezel (CathNews 17/3/04)
NZ Church petition censors to shift ground on The Passion (CathNews 11/3/04)
US Bishops' mixed assessment of The Passion (CathNews 27/2/04)
Pell defends violence of The Passion (CathNews 26/2/04)

A Less Violent Passion (Christianity Today 14/2/05)
Mel Gibson tones down his 'Passion' (ANI/Yahoo 14/2/05)
Less Gore, No Rating for a New 'Passion' (New York Times 14/2/05)
Gibson Recuts 'Passion,' Drains Bloodier Scenes (Zap2It 11/2/05)
Less violence for 'Passion' (Yahoo/New York Post 11/2/05)
Gibson's 'Passion' Nominated for Epiphany Prize (Zap2It 4/2/05)

15 Feb 2005