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The hottest ticket in town

One of the most highly anticipated movies of the year opens Wednesday. Area churches are booking entire theatres to see Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, but what if you're not going with a church group?
/ Source: WTHR-TV

Even before the The Passion of the Christ, more than 2,000 years before in fact, bible scripture quotes Jesus as saying "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto me," words that hold true even at the box office where this week's translation means ticket sales.

"People just really want to see this movie," says Pastor Derek Duncan of East 91st Street Christian Church.

Just before 12 o'clock at one Indianapolis theater, and patrons were in and out within minutes. Keep in mind, none of the day's showings even began before noon.

Joyce Crawford was "buying advance tickets for The Passion of Christ."

It's been labeled anti-Semitic. Then again, revered as a powerful modern tool for Christians. The Passion of The Christ is anticipated to draw even bigger crowds than record holding blockbusters like Star Wars and Titanic.

"It's a very hot commodity. We had a long list of people who wanted tickets, but didn't get tickets."

Ron Carrell says, "As soon as we can see it (is out), we'll probably take a look at it."

"It will be sold out because of the controversy around it," says Patrice Guynn.

Controversial, political and divisive; inspirational, moving and graphic; and it's not even out yet. But that doesn't mean people aren't seeing it before its Ash Wednesday release.

Duncan adds, "This particular prescreening event has captured people's attention in ways we never expected."

Several pastors, like Duncan, agree that more powerful than the pulpit is the big screen. "We bought 2,400 tickets and within a seven or eight-day span they were gone. We never dreamed the tickets would go so quickly.

"Because we're so visual and because we like to see visual images instead of reading, this first introduction could be very powerful."

Several churches have rented out screens for Monday and Tuesday nights. That's several thousand viewers.

Also inside the theaters, at least one of the churches has arranged for security, medics and counselors to be on hand.

But again, if you're not going with a church, many theaters have added show times for the first few weeks, so tickets are still available.