Hoping to postpone Vatican-ordered multiplex burnings and mass excommunications until after The Da Vinci Code has raked in its opening weekend millions, Sony has eschewed the practice of pre-screening their inevitable blockbuster for influencers, choosing to give up any advance buzz based on the actual product until a critics' showing tonight and Wednesday's premiere at Cannes. But Sony and the producers at Imagine didn't always agree on this strategy, according to to the NY Times' Sharon Waxman:
Early in the marketing, tension arose between Sony and Imagine over the approach to take, with Sony more inclined to feed mass interest in the film, and Imagine focused on trying to maintain more of the film's mystery, said executives close to the project. In addition, Sony was worried about contributing to a religious controversy over the perceived anti-Catholic aspect of the film — which has elements in the Catholic Church conspiring to conceal the secret life of Christ — while Imagine wanted to use the controversy as a promotional tool, an executive said.
At one point Sony favored taking out an ad during the Super Bowl, which Imagine opposed.
Imagine, of course, didn't oppose the ad in principle, but for the reason that Sony was thinking too small. In the end, Sony was unwilling to meet the Rolling Stones' quote to play the "Jesus and Mary Magdalene Halftime Blasphemy Wedding Spectacular," in which hundreds of people dressed as the Messiah and his Da Vinci Code bride would be married by Mick Jagger during a medley of the Stone's biggest hits. After that bitter, draining budget fight, a 30-second commercial seemed completely underwhelming.