Ron Howard Liked It Better When Everybody Loved Him

Director Ron Howard has always shown an aptitude at creating handsome-looking, unchallenging, middlebrow movies that satisfied critics and audiences alike. So it's not surprising that the overwhelming criticism launched at Howard and his Da Vinci Code, accusing him of not only execrating Christ's name, but of doing it in the most boring way imaginable, has weighed heavily on the affable people pleaser. With one eye on the bottom line of his opening weekend, Howard chucks his "reverse psychology" strategy of telling audiences to skip the movie, and tries the opposite approach:

"This sounds a little hucksterish, but people really respond to the movie better the second time than they do the first time."

But Howard added: "Of course it's frustrating that some of the critics have been harsh with it, and that's disappointing, because I'm the type of person that likes to please everyone.

It's hard not to admire the increasingly desperate bold businessman beneath the faux-artist, who encourages audiences to see a movie twice before they have even seen it once. (Particularly when the justification is that the subsequent viewing will make you hate the first one less.) Still, the undercurrent of regret creeping into Howard's recent comments is palpable: "Opie just wanted to give out hugs," he seems to be saying, "not blaspheme the Messiah!"