Sunday, May 21, 2006

Does God Like a Provocative Movie or What?

Just got back from seeing the Da Vinci Code; quite frankly I was expecting to be disappointed (I was going primarily to flaunt the fact that I live in a country where the church has no authority and I can watch and read whatever the hell I want!). I was pleasantly surprised: I actually thought it was much better than the book!

On Thursday Pharyngula posted an interview with movie critic (and religious apologist) Michael Medved, who stated emphatically that the Da Vinci Code is,

... going to be a very big box office disappointment

and then...

Films that have anti-religious themes and particularly anti-Catholic themes and they never make a dime. They tend to do very, very badly at the box office.

So the expectation is that the Da Vinci Code shouldn't do anywhere near as well as, say, The Passion of the Christ. Well, apparently the first numbers are out and Medved missed it by a long shot. According to a post on Andrew Sullivan and associated links, the Da Vinci Code has been one of the largest first weekend smashes of all time. From Deadline Hollywood Daily:

Sony Pictures told me exclusively this morning that Da Vinci Code earned $224 million worldwide, making it the second biggest opening weekend of all time worldwide. (The only movie that did better was Star Wars 3, the last of the prequels, with $254 mil). That DVC figure broke down to $147 mil internationally, and $77 mil domestically. The studio told me that the film is the No. 1 all-time opening weekend internationally. DVC was #1 in predominantly Catholic countries Italy and Spain, and #1 or #2 in every South American territory...According to Box Office Mojo, DVC ranked #13 on the all-time U.S. opening weekend, behind Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. But, internationally, DVC swamped Passion.

Actually, Passion was only the 11th best opening weekend, just over $6 million more than Da Vinci and in the scheme of things probably not statistically significant. Apparently Medved misrepresented the ideological foundations of all those Christians he expected to stay home in protest. Maybe God's trying to tell the conservative Christians something?


pughd said...

God may like that movie, but the critics sure don't seem to. I have to say though, I always wonder when I see reviewers panning something seen as harmful to major religions. Are they in CYA mode? Is there an extra need to be critical of something so provocative?

I haven't seen the movie so I really don't know how good or bad it is. As a rule, I don't like Tom Hanks post-Big and I try to avoid sensational books like the Davinci Code and Harry Potter for no rational reason. So maybe the movie really is bad, but it was bound to be a blockbuster given the huge popularity of the book.

Noell Hyman said...

I'm glad to hear you liked it. It's hard to believe that anything Ron Howard could produce, let alone anything with Tom Hanks, could be less than very good.

I just heard Medved reiterate his distate for the movie a day or two ago when he said he could barely keep awake through it. It really makes me think that half of his taste in movies has to do with whether they jive with his religious/political beliefs, rather than the quality of the movie.

I say half because I have heard him give good reviews of movies that run against his political bent. Believe it or not.

patch615 said...

god does like a provocative movie. He also likes posts ;)

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