20/5/2006 12:54:01 AM
By Steve Gorman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Moviegoers, shrugging off a burst of negative reviews, were expected to flock to Friday's opening of the religious thriller "The Da Vinci Code".
"The Da Vinci Code" as some Catholics vowed coast-to-coast protests against the film.
Moreover, the film, directed by Ron Howard, has generated a level of publicity and media hype unseen since Mel Gibson 'The Passion' of the Christ" arrived in theatres two years ago.
Industry experts predicted that, like the controversy Gibson stirred with his graphic depiction of Christ's crucifixion in "The Passion," the debate over "The Da Vinci Code" has only heightened interest in Howard's film.
"There's just so much awareness and interest in this film," Regal spokesman Dick told Reuters. "I think people want to go see it and make up their own minds what they think of the movie.
The Vatican has labelled the story blasphemous and launched its own public relations offensive against the film. A Catholic lay organisation, the American Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property, took out full-page ads in USA Today calling for worshipers to stage prayer vigils outside at least 1,000 theatres nationwide on Friday.
"In all 50 states, we have organisers," said Francis Slobodnik, who is coordinating the campaign for the Pennsylvania-based group and called the film "an insult directed towards God.
Excuse me but ........ If the catholics don't want to see the film then they should not go to see it. To prevent a perfectly legitimate art form from being shown only goes to show what I have believed for a long time. Religion is not about God, but about keeping the masses under control.
The Vatican has had it's day, what it thinks is no longer going to be foisted on the majority.
At the end of the day this film is not being portrayed as a totally factual work, rather a film based on a thin tissue of facts that may or may not be proveable. As with all films the truth is rarely interesting and has to be spiced up to sell to the mass audience.
I have serious doubts about "The American Society for the Defence of Tradition, Family and Property. Probably defending their dubious control over those who have no where else to go.