Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, reviewed earlier on this site, opened strong this weekend, leading the movie box office race with a take of $14.2 million. That is much less than the opening weekend take of Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which brought in $83.8 million in its first weekend in 2004.
Overall box office was down 25 percent from the same weekend last year, when The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe opened.
However, the relatively strong performance of Gibson’s movie, which has no big stars and is set in the past and spoken in a defunct foreign language translated in subtitles, suggests that his recent run-in with the law and controversial statements made while under the influence of alchohol did not harm the film’s appeal.
In fact, the publicity surrounding the incident and Gibson’s contriteness may actually have spurred some interest in the film, according to an industry analyst quoted by the Associated Press. AP notes that the film’s appeal was fairly broad: "Disney reported that Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’ drew solid crowds across-the-board, with movie-goers equally split between men and women and the core of the audience ranging from 18 to 45."