Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" will be available on DVD on Tuesday, but its pending release by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has created little of the frenzy that surrounded the film's opening in the spring.

Back then, midnight screenings of "The Passion" found Christians leaving movie theaters in tears, while longtime Jewish-Christian alliances were strained.

Sizzling interfaith debates and talk-show discussions accompanied the film's official arrival on Ash Wednesday.

On Oscar night, Academy Awards host Billy Crystal joked that the awards were being simulcast in Aramaic.

Gibson, nearly omnipresent then, is not doing interviews now. And the $29.98 DVD (the VHS tape sells for $24.98) is a bare-bones copy of the film -- with no director's commentary, behind-the-scenes features, CD-ROM treats or other add-ons that typically would accompany a DVD of a film that took in $375 million at the U.S. box office.

Nonetheless, the "Passion" DVD is expected to sell well, especially among devout Christians who are hungry for serious spiritual themes as an alternative to Hollywood's typical R-rated fare, retailers say.

The Family Christian Stores chain, with 300 outlets, is discounting the DVD to $19.95 and including a free DVD documentary, "Jesus: Fact or Fiction."

In Hollywood, films are being repackaged as DVDs to jump on the spiritual bandwagon of "The Passion." They include "Jesus Christ Superstar," "The Greatest Story Ever Told" and ABC, NBC, BBC and PBS documentaries on Pope John Paul II, Jesus and early Christians.

Paramount's "South Park" comedy series plans to mock the spiritual bandwagon with a series of three episodes sold under the banner "The Passion of the Jew."

But the sting remains of the "Passion" film controversy, as Jews and Christians continually have said they saw vastly different stories on-screen.

In some cities, Jews and Christians met for weeks after "The Passion" hit theaters Feb. 25 to try to better understand each other. Synagogues offered courses on first-century Jews and Christians.

Also in February, the film prompted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to issue a collection of Catholic documents about Jews and Christ's death.

Although some bishops commented publicly on the film, the bishops collectively did not issue prominent statements or hold national news conferences to warn against possible anti-Semitism.

"Not every bishop felt it was necessary to issue a public statement," said Eugene J. Fisher, associate director of the conference's Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

"There are resources and materials aplenty," he said.

"The good thing that came out of this was it brought a lot of Jews and Christians into dialogue."

James Caviezel portrays Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ," out on DVD on Tuesday.