At the Huffington Post, Mark Joseph explains “How Pope Benedict Outsmarted Ron Howard”:
So, it looks like Angels & Demons is going to be a box-office dud this weekend, barely holding off Star Trek and taking in a little more than half in box office revenue what the Da Vinci Code did in its opening weekend.
This despite the desperate attempt by director Ron Howard to use these pages to try to create a controversy where none existed.
Mr. Howard apparently thinks its still 1988 when Evangelical Christians showed their lack of smarts by protesting the release of The Last Temptation Of Christ, thereby giving it far more publicity than it would otherwise have received. But today traditionalists have become far more sophisticated in their response to movies like Howard’s. They ignore them or even worse, praise them.
A few years back the producers of Saved hoped to incite a protest or boycott by sending around screeners to religious leaders. What they got instead was a collective yawn.
But Pope Benedict’s Vatican deftly defused any controversy when it labeled Howard’s film “harmless”
For a film hoping desperately for an organized protest, that was the unkindest cut of all.
Which sounds very much like an update from a post we wrote in 2006, which spotted Michael Medved saying:
The publicists and activists involved in promoting Brokeback Mountain seem almost disappointed that religious conservatives have expressed so little indignation. No major organizations called for a boycott of the film, or threatened its producers, or made any serious attempt to interfere with those who might enjoy this artfully-crafted motion picture (it has become a modest commercial success). In the heartland of Evangelical America, Brokeback has generated more ho-hums than howls of protest (or hosannas).
And Mark Steyn adding,“The more artful leftie websites have taken to complaining that the religious right deliberately killed Brokeback at the box-office by declining to get mad about it”.
Looks like the Vatican has learned a similar message.
(Via Big Hollywood, which notes that “With a haul of $16.6 million, Angels & Demons nabbed the top spot from Star Trek yesterday, but fell short of The Da Vinci Code’s $28.6 million Friday debut in May of 2006.”