The Passion Nails Opening Day Record

Mel Gibson's THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST exceeded all projections, grabbing a whopping $26,556,573 on Wednesday, nailing the biggest opening day gross for a movie released outside of summer and holiday seasons, even subtracting the $3M from private church group screenings on Monday and Tuesday that were lumped in by indie distributor Newmarket.

Fueled by months of media hype, controversy and religious fervor, PASSION (costing $30M and with vfx by Keith Vanderlaan's Captive Audience Prods.) lands at number three among all Wednesday bows and number nine among all opening days, playing on 4,643 screens at 3,006 theaters. Box office information obtained from boxofficemojo.com.