Japan ‘Passion’ passable

Gibson's pic opens below expectations

“The Passion of the Christ” commanded a respectable $2.5 million in its first three days in Japan, its final major market.

That’s at the lower end of expectations, as some execs in Tokyo had predicted that Mel Gibson’s religious drama would gross $15 million to $20 million overall in Japan.

Crucifixion saga’s preem trailed “The Haunted Mansion,” which drew $6.7 million Saturday through Monday, hoisting its 10-day territory total to $15.6 million, benefiting from the Golden Week holidays.

“Christ does not mean a lot for the Japanese audience, but the story of a brave man who sacrifices himself for his beliefs would be appealing,” one rival distrib in Japan opined last month.

Icon reported Tuesday that “Passion” fetched an estimated $5.2 million last weekend, upping its international cume to $212.3 million, the highest-grossing title released abroad this year. Italy is the top market, with $24.2 million, followed by the U.K.’s $19 million.

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