BX church leaders spread their message through group viewing of 'Passion' movie

(02/28/04) CO-OP CITY - Mel Gibson's controversial new film "The Passion of the Christ" has been showing in theaters since Ash Wednesday. Church officials and religious groups across the country have been helping to fill movie seats through advance ticket sales.

Members of the Glory of Christ Church in the Bronx were able to fill nearly 800 seats at the AMC Movie Theaters at Bay Plaza. Church leaders also ran a television a commercial promoting the movie and inviting people to come see the film with them in a two-week ad campaign. Some movie critics say it is part of a unique marketing tool to sell tickets, but church members say it helps them to spread their message.

About six groups in all joined the Glory of Christ Church leaders and parishioners to watch the movie. They have been part of sell-out crowds. In fact, theater officials say they have sold out most "Passion" shows since the movie's debut last Wednesday.

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