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Da Vinci producers go from the fat into the fire?

Posted at 12:48 PM on May 23, 2006 by Euan Kerr

Well, despite horrible reviews, "The Da Vinci Code" produced big box office numbers over the weekend. There could be so many explanations: maybe people don't read reviews, or perhaps the people who loved the book just had to see the movie. "X-Men III" opens Friday for the Memorial Day weekend so it will be intriguing to see if Da Vinci stays on top, or if Wolverine takes the coders out.

Meanwhile, the Guardian newspaper in the UK reports the Da Vinci producers have bought the film rights to an upcoming Esquire Magazine story called "The School" on the massacre in Beslan.

Apparently, just like the people who questioned whether it was too early to do a September 11th film, many Russians are upset at the idea of a film about the Chechen attack which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people, many of them children.

It's a good debate to have, and one which will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. Was there disquiet in Moscow when Eisenstein made "Battleship Potempkin?" What about "Les Enfants du Paradis" or "Mrs Miniver" which both were made during World War II?

The positive critical response to "Flight 93" shows there is a place for movies about emotive national subjects. But what happens if the film isn't good? Does it cheapen the memory of those who died?

The new Oliver Stone movie, "World Trade Center" is set for an early August release. It will undoubtedly re-energize the appropriateness debate. Given Stone's somewhat spotty record as a filmmaker, this next round could be a doozy.

May 2006
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