‘Code’ crackdown

Catholic Church denounces 'Da Vinci'

With the premiere of Sony’s “The Da Vinci Code” less than a month away, the Catholic Church is upping its offensive against the bigscreen adaptation of Dan Brown’s bestselling book.

On Friday, papal insider Archbishop Angelo Amato denounced the book as “stridently anti-Christian” as well as “full of calumnies, offenses and historical and theological errors regarding Jesus, the Gospels and the church.”

He urged a boycott of the film.

Tom Hanks-Audrey Tautou starrer premieres May 17 at the Cannes Film Festival. It unspools Stateside and in many other territories May 19.Sony has high hopes that the Ron Howard-directed pic will do blockbuster business and that the 40 million who have bought “The Da Vinci Code” book will turn out in theaters.

Amato’s attack is not the church’s first against “The Da Vinci Code.” Another Vatican official spoke out against the film last month, calling the book “pseudohistoric art.”

At issue is the book’s central tenet that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children.

Last month, the Christian Council of Korea filed a motion to block distribution of the film in that country on religious grounds.

Sony is set to distribute the movie in South Korea through local arm Sony Pictures Releasing of Korea.

Sony has not courted the controversy in its marketing campaign, which stresses the dramatic thriller element of the film over religious themes.

The studio is not ignoring religion entirely, however. Earlier this year, Sony set up a Web site, TheDaVinciDialogue.com, where Christian groups can comment and discuss the pic.

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