The Passion Sells 2.4 Million By Midday

( [email protected] ) Sep 01, 2004 04:49 PM EDT

Yesterday’s release of The Passion Of The Christ saw the sale of 2.4 million units by midday, with total first-day figures, out later today, expected to be substantial.

"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 DVD.

Disney’s "Finding Nemo" holds the record for one-day DVD sales, selling almost 8 million on its first day, but midday sales for the film were unclear.

"This is really good, but it's really hard to do an apple-to-apple comparison," says Scott Hettrick, editor in chief of DVD Exclusive magazine. "It's been less than a handful of movies that have done first-day sales reporting."

The film, starring Jim Caviezel as Jesus Christ, grossed $370 million at U.S. box office and $609.5 million worldwide, making it the highest grossing R rated film of all time and third in this year’s sales behind Spider Man 2 and Shrek 2.

Christians hoping to use the film as a witnessing device contributed greatly to the initial sales figures, as each customer purchased an average of 1.8 copies. The church-going population was the focus of an extensive marketing campaign by Fox, which led to the advanced shipping of over 15 million units.