There is no denying that The Da Vinci Code was a phenomenon in the 2000s. The novel was released in 2003 and was only outsold that year by Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix, and the movie version, starring Tom Hanks, was released three years later, becoming the second highest-grossing movie of 2006 despite dismal reviews. The film was followed by prequel Angels and Demons and sequel Inferno, both of which saw Hanks returning to the role of Robert Langdon, but neither fared well from critics. A recent TV series of The Lost Symbol continued adaptations of the books of Dan Brown, but was canceled after one season. According to a recent interview in the New York Times, it seems that Tom Hanks was not a fan of the movies either.
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The trilogy of movies pulled in over $1.5 billion at the box office between them, despite Rotten Tomatoes ratings for the movies not peaking above 37%. That in itself plays directly into Hanks’ opinion that the movies were nothing more than “a commercial enterprise” and, above all else, historically inaccurate “hooey.” He said in his interview:
“Oh, God, that was a commercial enterprise. Yeah, those Robert Langdon sequels are hooey. The Da Vinci Code was hooey. I mean, Dan Brown, God bless him, says, Here is a sculpture in a place in Paris! No, it’s way over there. See how a cross is formed on a map? Well, it’s sort of a cross. Those are delightful scavenger hunts that are about as accurate to history as the James Bond movies are to espionage. But they’re as cynical as a crossword puzzle. All we were doing is promising a diversion. There’s nothing wrong with good commerce, provided it is good commerce. By the time we made the third one, we proved that it wasn’t such good commerce.”
The Da Vinci Code Was Hugely Controversial
Sony Pictures Entertainment
As you would expect from a story that fictionalized the Catholic Church and Jesus Christ, there was a whole wave of controversy linked to both the novel and subsequently the film, and being banned in several countries, it also led to many protests around the world. Of course, when it comes to the movie industry, that usually leads to a lot more interest and attention being given to the movie in question, which in part led to the massive box office success of The Da Vinci Code.
However, The Da Vinci Code and its sequels are not the only movies to make a killing at the box office while struggling to be seen as a good film by the critics’ consensus. This week saw the arrival of Jurassic World: Dominion in cinemas, and just like The Da Vinci Code, the film has only pulled in a 30% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes but is on course to be one of the biggest movies of the year, proving that sometimes a bit of “hooey” is all the public want to see.