Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Label Says A Lot

Ding dong, The Da Vinci Code is dead. Now to flush the remains and fumigate the decaplexes of its heretical stench.

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, chronicles its decomposition:

The Da Vinci Code opened four weeks ago with an ungodly amount of free publicity and returned a whopping $77 million in its first week of release. It should have broken all records — it had that kind of momentum. But then it dropped like a stone. In four weeks it went from $77 million to $45 million to $18 million and now to $10 million. That’s an 88% drop in a month. And this is while still appearing in more than 3,700 theaters. D-e-a-d....

So, how can I possibly suggest that The Da Vinci Code is dead and maybe even a failure? First, because it dropped so quickly — four weeks and poof. It can be argued that the first weekend viewers saw it because they liked the book or came in on the hype. Still, at roughly 21 million tickets sold, not even all the book-buyers saw it. hat killed it was word of mouth. People hated it. [emphasis added]

Why did people hate it? Because it was too much like the book: long, convoluted, and given over to interminable Christophobic expositional dialogue. Which was, after all, why Dan Brown wrote the damn thing in the first place. Some books just do not translate well to screenplays, but Ron Howard was evidently so determined to give this indulgence in blasphemy as big a global audience as possible that he plowed ahead with it anyway. And while Mr. Ruse acknowledges that the studio won't lose money on TDVC thanks to foreign ticket sales, it won't come anywhere near the lofty expectations originally and arrogantly harbored for it ("top the domestic charts for this year and land in the top ten for all-time domestic releases").

All of which harkens back to what our LORD said:

I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.

To say nothing of Dan Brown.

UPDATE: Evidently the real Jesus Christ is now considered "unsuitable for general audiences":

There's no sex, nudity, profanity or violence in Facing The Giants, an inspirational family film about a high school football coach whose faith helps him and his young players overcome fear and failure. So, why did the all-powerful Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) slap it with a "PG" rating instead of the family friendly "G" rating?

That's what the shocked filmmakers who made the movie wanted to know. They found out soon enough - it was because of its Christian message of hope and faith in God.

"The MPAA told us that the movie contained strong 'thematic elements' that might disturb some parents," explained Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films, the subsidiary of Sony Pictures [yes, the same studio that vomited forth Da Vinci] which will distribute the independently made film to 400 theaters this fall.

"Their rationale was that when films are heavily-laden with messages from one religion, the MPAA wants to alert parents to something in the film that might be counter to what they themselves believe," said Fuhr, who added, "I personally find it interesting that faith in God has been added to the list of items that they want to warn parents about."

Bet the MPAA wouldn't do that to a Muslim film. Bruce Feirstein suggests some new ratings the MPAA might adopt:

RH-13: Revisionist History. Contains characters, dialogue and historical conclusions that bear no resemblance to what actually occurred. Sometimes designated OS-13, in honor of Oliver Stone.

—PP-13: Product Placement. Contains images of toys, cell phones, luxury automobiles or other brand-name consumables that may be inappropriate for easily suggestible children under the age of sixty.

—CF-13: Conventional Family. Traditionally gendered husband and wife, with 2.4 kids. And a dog. View at your peril.

RH-13 would have worked just fine for Da Vinci. Or "BS".

The MPAA, on the other hand, deserves an "FU".