Fahrenheit, Passion the People's Choice

As awards season kicks into high gear, Sunday night brought the People’s Choice Awards, with the controversial Fahrenheit 9/11 from Michael Moore and The Passion of the Christ from Mel Gibson taking top honors in the film division – as favorite movie and favorite movie drama, respectively.

Accepting his award for his Bush-bashing documentary, Moore told the audience: “We live in a great country, and we all love our country very much.”

WEEK IN REVIEW: Kobe Criminal Case Closed

KOBE DISMISSED: In a stunning development Wednesday, Colorado prosecutors dropped sexual assault charges against Kobe Bryant after the young woman who made the accusations said she could not go on with the criminal case. Her civil suit against the Los Angeles Lakers superstar will proceed as planned, however. Neither Bryant, 26, nor his 20-year-old accuser (a concierge who claimed Bryant raped her after she entered his Vail hotel room on June 30, 2003) were in the courtroom at the time of Judge Terry Ruckriegle’s announcement.

Mel's Passion Best-Selling R-Rated DVD

SOLD: According to the final count, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ sold 4.1 million DVDs by Wednesday after only one day in stores, reports the Associated Press. While impressive, the sales figure falls short of the record holder, Disney’s animated Finding Nemo DVD, which sold about 8 million. For a live-action movie, Spider-Man holds the one-day record with 7 million.

The Passion DVD Sales Off to Hot Start

The sales were divine for the DVD of Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ, which went on sale Tuesday and sold 2.4 million copies by midday, reports the Associated Press.

“We think a lot of the consumers will be going in after work to pick it up,” said Steve Feldstein, spokesman for FOX Home Entertainment, which is distributing the disc. The DVD contains few extras – prompting industry observers to predict that there will be a special, enhanced edition that will go on sale later, such as a Spanish-language version.

Mel's Passion Puts Him Atop Forbes List

Mel Gibson, whose controversial The Passion of the Christ is estimated to have made him $210 million, is the year’s most powerful celebrity, according to Forbes magazine’s Celebrity 100 power rankings, which combine media attention with bank accounts to decide the entertainment world’s biggest moneymakers.

Golfer Tiger Woods, the top-earning athlete with $80 million, ranks as No. 2 on the list, followed by another $80-million media darling: Oprah Winfrey.

Mel Sues for $40 Mil in Passion Cash

SUED: Mel Gibson’s film-distribution company is suing Regal Entertainment Group for $40 million or more, claiming the movie chain shortchanged the company on revenues from The Passion of the Christ, reports Reuters. Regal, the nation’s largest movie chain, agreed to pay Gibson’s Icon Distribution 55 percent of receipts but reneged in May and offered only 34 percent, George Hedges, an attorney for Icon, said. Regal reps declined comment.

Networks Passing on Mel's 'Passion'

Moviegoers may have lined up en masse for Mel Gibson’s box-office blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ,” but ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX are not following the flock.

The Associated Press reports that all four of the major networks are unlikely to broadcast the R-rated religious film, though so far only ABC has confirmed turning it down.

At issue, apparently, is the film’s graphic depiction of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, and the aftermath of the Janet Jackson Super Bowl flap has caused government officials to monitor closely what is aired on TV.

Box Office: 'Passion' Yes, 'Alamo' No

Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” attracted large audiences during Holy Week, which culminated in Easter Sunday and a return of the blockbuster crucifixion saga to the top spot on the box-office chart, according to studio estimates.

The film, which opened on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 25, has made $354.8 million to date, passing “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” for the No. 8 spot on the all-time domestic charts, just behind “Jurassic Park,” the Associated Press reports.

Mixed Global Reception for 'Passion'

“The Passion of the Christ” is on its way to becoming one of the highest-grossing movies ever in the United States, but moviegoers in other countries may not be as receptive as first expected.

Mel Gibson’s controversial film, which opened mid-month in many markets outside the U.S., has performed well in Catholic-dominated countries such as Mexico, despite receiving the equivalent to an NC-17 rating, the trade paper Variety reports.

Hollywood & Divine