'Da Vinci Code' Finally Overtakes 'Passion' in Box Office Sales

It’s been more than a month since Ron Howard’s film, The Da Vinci Code, opened on May 19, in U.S. theaters.

Since then, as reported previously, Howard’s film has lagged progressively further behind Mel Gibson’s The Passion of The Christ (2004) at the U.S. box office at equivalent points — the current comparison at the start of week five, on June 16, being $315,152,778 vs. $198,501,000, respectively.

Yet, as of Monday, according to IMDb, The Da Vinci Code now exceeds The Passion of The Christ in worldwide box office sales — $608,501,000 vs. $604,370,943.

So, fair is fair. It seemed high time to offer Ron Howard the opportunity to comment on his film’s performance. (Well, not quite fair, since The Passion‘s $604 million world box office tally does not factor in $203,651,032 in "theatrical rentals" for groups who preferred their own private screenings of the film in commercial theaters.)

However, in response to my "Request for Interview with Ron Howard," I received a terse, five-word reply from his publicist in 10 minutes flat, telling me: "He is not available. Sorry."

I trust that he was "not available" for reasonable reasons: Maybe his cell phone wasn’t working, or maybe he was behind closed doors working on Angels and Demons, weighing his options on yet another Dan Brown book he’s optioned the film rights to. But, regardless — here, for the record, are the questions I had drafted and would like to ask Ron Howard if he becomes "available":

  1. What do you make of the comparatively less robust U.S. box office sales for The Da Vinci Code vis-a-vis The Passion of The Christ? Do you think this is the public’s way of saying, "Don’t mess with sacred scripture"?
  2. You tend toward non-fiction films — A Beautiful Mind and Cinderella Man being recent brilliant examples. Like countless readers who enthused over how much Church history they had learned by reading The Da Vinci Code, do you actually believe Dan Brown’s outrageous assertions — assertions, which for those who are outraged, are touted as fiction, but for those who are inclined to believe them, are dubbed plausible?
  3. If, however, you believe The Da Vinci Code is fiction, would you ever consider making a film telling the true story of Christ and his true relationship with all the women in his life?
  4. Do you find it curious that Dan Brown totally eclipsed Mary, the Mother of God — the most powerful woman in history, honored as the Queen of Heaven, to where she was assumed body and soul and from where she has awesome, well-documented intercessory power. Case in point is the strategically important naval Battle of Lepanto fought off Western Greece on Oct. 7, 1571, where a much weaker Christian galley fleet defeated a force of Ottoman galleys, thereby securing the future of Europe. Their secret weapon?: They prayed the Holy Rosary to Mary, begging her for victory. Even today, October 7 is celebrated as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and is, coincidentally, the day President Bush launched Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

The Battle of Lepanto by Paolo Veronese

That should do it for now. But, before finishing this fourth and final article in the Passion Trumps the Code series, I would humbly offer one suggestion. Perhaps, for future thrill and intrigue, you might look to inspired, true stories like the Battle of Lepanto, where the Christian forces had a most powerful angel. Demons, after all, are wearing thin.