By midday Tuesday, its first day in stores, Mel Gibson's movie sold 2.4 million copies

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated September 01, 2004 08:00 AM

The sales were divine for the DVD of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which went on sale Tuesday and sold 2.4 million copies by midday, reports the Associated Press.

“We think a lot of the consumers will be going in after work to pick it up,” said Steve Feldstein, spokesman for FOX Home Entertainment, which is distributing the disc. The DVD contains few extras – prompting industry observers to predict that there will be a special, enhanced edition that will go on sale later, such as a Spanish-language version.

The film opened last Ash Wednesday amid great controversy fueled by a carefully crafted publicity campaign. Starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus, The Passion earned more than $370 million at the North American box office, making it the second-most popular movie of the year behind Shrek 2.

With sales of 8 million, the computer-animated flick Finding Nemo holds the record for one-day DVD sales.

As Scott Hettrick, editor in chief of DVD Exclusive magazine tells AP of the Passion launch: “This is really good, but it’s really hard to do an apple-to-apple comparison. It’s been less than a handful of movies that have done first-day sales reporting.”

Hettrick added that The Passion appears to be on its way to match the sales of such other Hollywood blockbusters as Spider-Man and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which ended up selling between 15 million and 18 million DVDs.