Source: The New York Times
On February 5, 2004 The New York Times reported, "Three weeks before the release of 'The Passion of the Christ,' a graphic portrayal of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus, Christians nationwide are busy preparing to use it in an immense grass-roots evangelistic campaign.
Mr. Gibson, who produced, directed and largely financed the film, has tried to stoke their enthusiasm by screening it the past two months for at least 10,000 pastors and leaders of Christian ministries and media. Many emerged proclaiming it a searing, life-changing experience.
Now those leaders are buying blocks of tickets, encouraging church members to invite their "unsaved" friends and co-workers and producing television commercials that start with scenes from the movie and finish with a pitch for their churches."