The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 feature film, which is based on the bestselling 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. It was one of the most anticipated films of 2006, and was previewed at the opening night of the Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2006. The Da Vinci Code then entered major release in many other countries on May 18 2006 and was released in the United States by Columbia Pictures on May 19, 2006.
Because of some controversial interpretations of Christian history in both the book and movie, they were criticized by the Roman Catholic Church. Some bishops urged members to boycott the film. Many of the early showings were accompanied by protesters outside the movie theaters, and early critical reviews were decidedly mixed. However, in its opening weekend, the film earned over US$224 million worldwide, second only to the opening of 2005's Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It is the second highest grossing movie of 2006 worldwide — having reached US$758,239,851 as of November 2, 2006. The film's soundtrack, composed by Hans Zimmer, was nominated for the 2007 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.
Meanwhile, American symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), who is in Paris as an AUP guest lecturer on Symbols and the sacred feminine, is contacted by the French police, and summoned to the Louvre to view the crime scene. He discovers the dying Saunière had created an intricate display using black light ink and his own body and blood. Captain Bezu Fache (Jean Reno) asks him for his interpretation of the puzzling scene.
Silas calls a mysterious man known as The Teacher, revealing that he has killed all four protectors of the keystone and that all confirmed the same location. He dons a metal cilice on his thigh and proceeds to flagellate himself with a whip for the sins of murder. Facilitated by Bishop Manuel Aringarosa, Silas then travels to Saint-Sulpice and is admitted by an elderly nun; left alone, he excavates beneath the floor of the church to find a stone saying only JOB 38:11. He confronts the nun, who quotes the passage: "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further." Realizing that he has been deceived, Silas is enraged and kills the nun.
Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), a cryptologist with the French police, enters the Louvre as well and slips Langdon a message which leads him to go to the men's room. There, Sophie meets him and tells him that he is being tracked, a GPS tracking dot has been (unknown by him) slipped into his jacket and that he is a primary suspect in the murder case because of a line of text found by the corpse (P.S. find Robert Langdon). Sophie however, believes that Saunière, who is revealed to be her grandfather, wanted to pass a hidden message on to her, and that he had wanted to bring Langdon into the equation so that he could help her crack the code.
Having bought some time by removing the tracking device, the pair begin exploring the Louvre, finding more anagram messages that Saunière had left behind. Many of these relate to Leonardo Da Vinci's art, and the pair find a key with a Fleur-de-lis behind Madonna of the Rocks.
Pursued by the French Police and cut off from the United States Embassy, the pair escape to the Bois de Boulogne where Langdon closely inspects the key. He notices an inscription on the side -- an address. The address directs them to the Depository Bank of Zurich where the key is used for a safety deposit box.
In the bank, they find Saunière's deposit box and open it using the 10 digit Fibonacci numbers in order (1123581321). Inside the box, they find a rosewood container, which contains a cryptex: a cylindrical container with five alphabetical dials which must be arranged in the correct sequence to spell out a 5-letter code word, in order to open and access the parchment message inside. Using force to open the cryptex would break a vial of vinegar inside, which would dissolve the parchment and destroy the message.
Unfortunately, the police are called by a security guard and they are forced to leave. The bank manager, Andre Vernet, assists them in escaping by taking them as passengers in an armoured truck to escape the routine checks of the police. In the back of the truck Langdon and Neveu have a lengthy discussion about the cryptex and Neveu says that her grandfather often played games with her involving cryptexes. Langdon says that the cryptex might hold valuable information or another clue about what they are trying to discover. Eventually, they come to a sudden stop and Vernet forces them at gunpoint to give him the cryptex. Langdon tricks Vernet and disarms him and he and Sophie escape.
Langdon suggests that they visit his friend, Leigh Teabing, for assistance to opening the cryptex. Leigh Teabing turns out to be an enthusiastic seeker of the Holy Grail, which he believes is not actually a cup but instead Mary Magdalene, the wife of Christ, who was driven away because Jesus's followers didn't want to follow a woman after their leader was killed. Mary was pregnant at the time, and Teabing tells Sophie that a secret society was formed to protect the descendants of Jesus. Jacques Saunière was believed to be a part of this society and Teabing suspects that he was training Sophie to join it also. Silas, meanwhile, breaks into Teabing's mansion and attempts to steal the cryptex. Teabing uses his cane to knock Silas out and they escape again, taking the butler, Remy Jean, and Silas with them. The group escapes in Teabing's plane.
It is revealed that Remy Jean is actually a follower of The Teacher as well, however he is killed by the mysterious man after freeing Silas. Silas is attacked by the police and, in the ensuing gunfire, accidentally shoots Bishop Manuel Aringarosa. In his grief, Silas dies in police-assisted suicide and Aringarosa is taken to the hospital. As Langdon gets closer to solving the mystery, he is betrayed by Teabing, who is revealed to be The Teacher. Teabing explained that he wanted to find Mary Magdalene's remains to prove he was correct about the Holy Grail and threatens to shoot Sophie if Langdon does not crack the code. Langdon responds by throwing the cryptex into the air. Teabing runs to catch it, but cannot, and it hits the ground. The vial of vinegar breaks, spreads onto the document destroying it. Teabing is arrested, however it is revealed that Langdon had cracked the code ('Apple'). Using the clue, they travel to a church where Magdalene's remains had previously been hidden. There, they meet other members of the secret organization that protected her. It is revealed that Sophie is actually Magdalene's descendent, and they vow to keep her safe. Langdon and Sophie part ways shortly after.
At his hotel, Langdon accidentally cuts himself and the line of blood on the sink reminds him of the Rose Line. He follows the Rose Line and finds the location of the Holy Grail, buried under the pyramid in the Louvre. Langdon then kneels above Mary Magdalene's tomb as the Templar Knights did before him.
Due to the denial of a location permit for Saint-Sulpice the entire scene had to be recreated virtually by Rainmaker U.K and though the set had been partially built, the co-ordinates were centimeters out from what the compositors had expected and so the entire process was unbelievably hard to complete.
Lincoln reportedly received £100,000 in exchange for the right to film there, with filming there occurring between 15 and 19 August 2005, mainly within the cloisters of the cathedral. The Cathedral's bell "Great Tom", which strikes the hour, was silent for the first time since World War II during that time. Although it remained a closed set, protesters led by the 61-year-old Roman Catholic nun Sister Mary Michael from Our Lady's Community of Peace and Mercy in Lincoln demonstrated against the filming, spending 12 hours praying on her knees outside the cathedral in protest against what she sees as the blasphemous use of a holy place to film a book which she considers to contain heresy.
Meanwhile Winchester answered criticism by using its location fee to fund an exhibition, lecture series and campaign to debunk the book. The scenes for the Pope's summer residence, Castel Gandolfo were filmed on location at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire.
Filming also took place elsewhere in the UK (London, including the concert hall in the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, the Temple Church, and Burghley House), Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland and in France and Germany.
In the film's opening sequence, Robert Langdon, played by Tom Hanks, is taken by French police to the Louvre, where a dead body has been discovered. David White of Altered States FX, a prosthetics and special makeup effects company which is based at London's Shepperton Studios was tasked with creating a naked photo-realistic silicone body for the scene. (Lighting effects, however, were utilized to obscure the body's genitalia, a technique also used on television programmes such as NCIS).
Pinewood's state-of-the-art Underwater Stage was used to film underwater sequences. The stage opened in 2005 after four years of planning and development. The water in the tank is filtered using an ultraviolet system which creates crystal clear water, and the water is maintained at 30°C (87°F) to create a comfortable environment to work in for both cast and crew. Since the tank does not use much chlorine due to its optical properties, it must always be drained and refilled after several days.
Alternate versions of Paul Bettany's nude flagellation scenes were shot, in which he wears a black loincloth. Clips of these versions appear in the History Channel's "Opus Dei Unveiled" documentary, aired in summer 2006.
Cardinal Francis Arinze, in a documentary called "The Da Vinci Code: A Masterful Deception," urged unspecified legal action against the makers of the film. "Those who blaspheme Christ and get away with it are exploiting the Christian readiness to forgive and to love even those who insult us. There are some other religions which if you insult their founder they will not be just talking. They will make it painfully clear to you," Arinze said. He is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in the Vatican.
On Easter, April 16, 2006, Opus Dei published an open letter by the Japanese Information Office of Opus Dei mildly proposing that Sony Pictures consider including a disclaimer on the film adaptation as a "sign of respect towards the figure of Jesus Christ, the history of the Church, and the religious beliefs of viewers." The organization also encouraged the studio to clearly label the movie as fictitious "and that any resemblance to reality is pure coincidence."
According to a statement by Manuel Sánchez Hurtado, Opus Dei Press Office Rome, in contrast to Sony Corporation’s published "Code of Conduct" the company has announced that the film will not include such a disclaimer.
A private initiative by the individual Herluf Sørensen has arranged the movie to be played, despite the boycott by Havnar bio. The movie opened at the Nordic House in the Faroe Islands on the 5 June 2006.
However, Cecille Guidote Alvarez, Philippine Presidential Adviser on Culture and the Arts, said Malacañang will not interfere in controversy about the film and leaves the decision to the Movie and Television Classification Board's (MTRCB) rating. Eventually, MTRCB decided to give The Da Vinci Code an R-18 rating (restricted to those under 18 years of age) despite PAAP's opposition for showing it.
However, the following day, Sony Pictures appealed the ruling, saying it would pull the film if the decision to cut it was not reversed. The censorship panel then voted 6-5 that the film could be shown uncut, but that a disclaimer would precede and follow the film, saying it was a work of fiction. This last-minute decision caused the premiere, opening-day showing of the movie to be delayed or cancelled in some provincial theatres as the updated film reels were shipped from Bangkok.
In the end, the movie was allowed to release without any cuts but with an A (Adults Only) certification from the Central Board for Film Certification and a 15-second Disclaimer added at the end stating that the movie was purely a tale of fiction. However the movie was delayed by a week by which time the grey market was flooded with pirated copies of the movie.
The screening of the film Da Vinci Code has been banned in Punjab, Goa, Nagaland, Meghalaya , Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Later, the Andhra Pradesh High Court quashed the State Government's order banning the screening of the film in the state. The Indian censor board however had cleared the movie for release on Friday, 2 June. The Supreme Court of India also rejected petitions calling for a ban on the film, saying the plot which suggested Jesus was married was fictional and not offensive.
Also at Cannes, Sir Ian McKellen was quoted as saying — "While I was reading the book I believed it entirely. Clever Dan Brown twisted my mind convincingly. But when I put it down I thought, 'What a load of [pause] potential codswallop." During a May 17 2006 interview on The Today Show with the Da Vinci Code cast and director, Matt Lauer posed a question to the group about how they would have felt if the film had borne a prominent disclaimer that it is a work of fiction, as some religious groups wanted. (Some high ranking Vatican cabinet members had called for a boycott of the film.) McKellen responded, "I've often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying 'This is fiction.' I mean, walking on water? It takes. . . an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie—not that it's true, not that it's factual, but that it's a jolly good story." He continued, "And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction, and discuss the thing when they've seen it."
The film's teaser trailer was released in the summer of 2005, a full year before the film's worldwide release. It was released before a single frame of the movie had been shot. It features crevices with some hidden symbols and was later revealed as an image of Da Vinci's most famous painting, the Mona Lisa. (In reality, the painting plays a very little role in the film and is shown only for a few seconds.)
A cross-promotion also appeared on The Amazing Race 9, where one team earned a trip to the movie's premiere in Hollywood, California. The prize was awarded to the first team to arrive at the Pit Stop bearing two parchments and demonstrating that, when combined, they revealed a picture of Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man and a coded message; the first team to arrive at the Pit Stop did show the message and were awarded the prize.
In February, Sony, in cooperation with Grace Hill Media, launched The Da Vinci Dialogue (aka The Da Vinci Challenge), a fairly comprehensive web site which is intended to defuse Christian opposition to the movie. The site mixes some mild criticisms with movie promotional material.
Several of the changes made in the film, notably those of Langdon's views on the subject, appear to be intended to counterpoint or soften some of the viewpoints expressed in the novel.
The critic Michael Medved gave the film two stars (out of four) saying, ". . .all the considerable acting talent in the film is wasted . . ." and "the plot twists and sudden reverses . . . seem silly, arbitrary, and entirely contrived – never growing organically out of the story-line or the thinly sketched characters. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker addressed the concerns of Catholics in his film review, stating of the film, "It is self-evident, spirit-lowering tripe that could not conceivably cause a single member of the flock to turn aside from the faith.
In his Movie Guide, Leonard Maltin calls the film "a letdown in every respect.
Critics were said to laugh out loud at some of the lines in the movie despite their serious delivery. These included "you are the last descendant of Jesus Christ" and "quick, we must find a library!".
Director Ron Howard noted that the overwhelmingly negative reviews were "frustrating" to him.
Some critics, however, did like the film. Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars and stated, "the movie works; it's involving, intriguing and constantly seems on the edge of startling revelations. Lawrence Toppman of The Charlotte Observer, who also liked the film, gave it three and a half out of four stars and noted, "unlike most Hollywood blockbusters, this one assumes audience members will be smart.
The film went on to receive a Razzie Nomination for Worst Director (Ron Howard). On the "Worst Movies of 2006" episode of the television show Ebert & Roeper (January 13, 2007), guest critic Michael Phillips (sitting in for the recovering Roger Ebert) listed the film at #2.
A spoof of the movie, The Norman Rockwell Code, was released the same day as the movie itself.
It also enjoyed the 3rd biggest opening weekend for the year to date (after Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and X-Men: The Last Stand, and the second biggest worldwide opening weekend ever, just behind 2005's Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.) This has led some critics, particularly in the UK, to moot the idea of the 'critic-proof film'.
All DVD sets include an introduction from director Ron Howard, ten featurettes, and other bonus features.
In Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Latin America (DVD region code 4), the two disc set also included an extended edition of the film, including over twenty-five minutes of extra footage, bringing the running time to almost three hours.
In Hong Kong and Korea (Region 3), the extended cut was also released on DVD in a two-disc set. Two gift sets were also released, with working cryptex replica, replica journal, and more. The French and Spanish Region 2 disc also received a special gift set.