Date: 16th May 2006

"Da Vinci" protests, boycotts spread

With days left until "The Da Vinci Code" opens in theaters worldwide, calls for boycotts and bans of the highly anticipated Vatican thriller are getting louder -- although some say such strategies are likely to backfire.

The Holy See has been among the earliest and loudest critics of the Tom Hanks vehicle, which speculates that Jesus married former prostitute Mary Magdalene and that the couple have descendants who live to this day.

Pope John Paul II in January 2005 appointed a special committee to rebut the story based on Dan Brown's international best-selling novel, and so far this year one leading church figure has called for a boycott of the film and another has hinted at possible legal action.

Source: Press Release