Passion sells 2.4m copies on DVD

Mel Gibson's Biblical movie The Passion of the Christ has sold 2.4 million copies in the US by midday on its first day of release on DVD.

Starring Jim Caviezel, the film made $610m at the global box office after its cinema release in February.

Some Jewish groups claimed the film was anti-Semitic in blaming ancient Jewish people for killing Christ.

Animated film Finding Nemo holds the US record for one-day DVD sales, selling around eight million copies on release.

A spokesman for distributor Fox Home Entertainment said initial demand for copies of The Passion on DVD and video cassette was 20% greater than predicted.

Scott Hettrick, editor in chief of US trade magazine DVD Exclusive, said The Passion was expected to sell as well as Spider-Man and The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which sold up to 18 million copies on DVD in the US.

Fox sent promotional material to more than 260,000 churches in the US.

Mr Hettrick said some retailers were sending 50 Passion DVDs at a time to church groups.

"It almost appears there's a strong segment of the market that wants to own this in the same way that they want to own the Bible," he said.

Having sold 2.4m copies by noon on the first day of its American release, The Passion of The Christ now appears on track to break records for DVD sales - the first record likely to go is Finding Nemo's mark of 8m DVDs sold on the first day of release.

Industry analysts are expecting to receive figures for the first full day of sales late on Wednesday.

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