Dan Brown’s "Da Vinci Code" sequel earns Goldman highest screenplay paycheck ever

Nikke Finke at Deadline: Hollywood reports,

I’m told that Akiva Goldsman, who adapted Dan Brown’s worldwide bestseller into a $755.6 mil hit pic, is receiving $4 million for the Da Vinci Code sequel in the works by both Imagine Entertainment and Sony Pictures.

Meanwhile, the Da Vinci Code pre-quel, Angels and Demons, is coming to the big screen.

Finke says:

In A&D, Goldsman must make sense of a plot crammed with Vatican intrigue and high-tech drama: it thrusts Langdon together with an ancient and shadowy secret brotherhood, the Illuminati, the most powerful underground organization ever to walk the earth. Their enemy is the Catholic Church and they’re detemined to carry out the final phase of a legendary vendetta against it.

Yes!! Alright! Time for Christians to re-start that media machine that declares, “Christians should engage in The Da Vinci Dialogue! Christians should buy tickets for the whole congregation, thus paying Sony ‘thank-you’ money for making entertainment that serves up lame-brained attacks on the church!”

I’m kidding, of course. I think it was one of the most embarrassing moments in Christian engagement with art and entertainment, the way we ran headline after headline, story after story, encouraging Christians to seize this opportunity to enrich a cultural dialogue.

I’m all for vigorous dialogue about art, but why spend so many resources encouraging people to spend their money on THIS movie? This movie is hot air and empty glamour. This movie is a mistake. This movie doesn’t offer us much fodder for worthwhile discussion. It’s bland, forgettable Hollywood entertainment. Instead, we could be focusing our time and attention on rich, meaningful art!

Why didn’t we bother to invite our neighbors to see and discuss Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, which is a much better movie, with an Oscar-worthy lead performance, and all kinds of great storytelling about faith, history, power, and truth-telling?

And what ever came of all of those aggressive “Christians should see The Da Vinci Code and discuss it with their neighbors!” campaigns? Do we have any stories yet of a wave of people turning to Christ? Did it bring about anything lasting and life-changing? Or did we just pat ourselves on the back for having “engaged the culture”?

What did I hear from those moviegoers who actually gave Sony ten bucks for the privilege? Believer and unbeliever alike responded, “Man oh man, that was a long, boring movie!”

How bad was the movie? It was so bad that advertisements for the DVD try to win back people’s interest with a bunch of hooey about how there are “secret symbols hidden in the movie that you didn’t see the first time! Find the symbols and solve the code!” Good grief. Suddenly, big screen movies are stooping to the tactics of cereal-box gimmickry.

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  • M. Cruz

    Just a quick note, as I am at work and can’t develop the thought completely.

    I really think the problem is that there are two groups of people. And this goes for Christian and non-Christian people.

    There is one group. These are people who go to a movie just for fun. They go, they eat their popcorn, they watch the movie, they go home. They may talk about it a little to whomever they came with (depending on how much they liked or didn’t like it) but that’s about as far as it goes.

    The other group is the one who goes deeper. These are the people who are truly moved by films, and who long to be moved by films. They are the ones who often times can say that a movie changed their life. (There’s also the even more serious sub-group, which are the folks who become film students, makers or critics.) But I think the general two-group categorization works.

    I think as long as we don’t realize this, we’re going to keep having these kinds of problems and lack of communication.

  • Anonymous

    Also take into consideration which films were widely distributed. Often better and deeper films do not play at the local movie theater, making it harder for everyday people to see them. Sure, we’re a DVD society but the sheer number of options makes it difficult to remember all the allegedly great ones to see once they come out. Several critical favorites, like “Children of Men,” didn’t play at as many theaters as “X-Men” and aren’t yet out on DVD.

  • Marc

    wngl: It wasn’t that good. Jean Grey is made to be near-omnipotent, and it devolves into a “which side will win her over and prevail in the end” contest.

    Comic book episodes are much more entertaining when the good and bad guys have relatively equal powers, or they have a “trick” to weaken an overwhelming power (i.e. kryptonite for Superman).

    Why did others like it? It was a spectacle on the big screen, involving characters that have been developed from 2 previous movies. Amusing, but not something that could be considered cinema verite.

  • Josh

    This is a good reminder of just how useless such online polls are. There’s no telling who voted in that poll, or how many times they voted.

    Anyway, that’s why many people read the critics at CT and elsewhere – to look past the lowest common denominator for films that are worthy of our attention. More often than not, those movies are not at the top of the box office lists.

  • wngl

    X3 is runner-up for Best Movie? Guess I better see it, if so many voters think it’s that good.

    What is it about the movie that so appeals, do you think? From what I gathered from friends that did make it out for the third instalment, it was more appalling than anything else.

    Clearly a lot of voters don’t hold the same opinion. Have any of them given a reason why? I’m up for hearing a vigorous defense of X3.

  • M. Cruz

    I read the book but did not see the movie. I did learn a lesson through this whole thing, but maybe a little different one than what you’re speaking about here.

    It seems the campaigns took the angle of trying to show people the errors (and outright lies) of the book/film. What I learned is that people do not *care* what the facts are. A lot of the ideas portrayed in the books are things that people already believe. No amount of explanation on my part did a bit of good, even when I presented facts.

    There was a lot of, “It’s just fiction! The author doesn’t REALLY believe this stuff!” But even when I found an audio interview on his own site that shows clearly otherwise, people 1) refused to listen to it and 2) still claimed that he does not truly believe or teach these things.

    It was truly discouraging. How can you even engage people when you present your argument, but they won’t even give it a try?

  • Brett

    No fair — there was usually something worthwhile in the cereal box…

  • Anonymous

    Whoa — at first glance from your post title I thought William Goldman (no “s”) had picked up the DVC sequel gig! But it was just Akiva GoldSman again. :)

    It occured to me that I hadn’t heard about Goldman in a while — looking at Goldman’s credit list at IMDB, he is slowing down. But he did turn 75 this year.

  • Jeff Miller

    “most embarrassing moments in Christian engagement”

    Amen to that.

    Though a sequel could be one of those rare ones better than the first one. They have a lot a room to play around in in not doing worse.

  • Trent

    The fact that Goldman—who has written or adapted some of my least-favourite movies of all time—is getting paid this much money…well, I recall a recent article I read with JMS—who wrote most of the great Babylon 5 series—where he compared the possibility of his upcoming “sudden overnight success” with Goldman’s. Basically, after hacking away for decades as a writer, he may suddenly be handed a golden opportunity that would catapult him into the upper eschelon of Hollywood script writers.

    I cringed, because artistically, I’d prefer to compare myself to screenwriters that are, you know, good. But if you measure success in dollars, Akiva certainly has achieved it. And good to see screenwriters starting to be recognized for their input into the process (when actors are making 100 times what the screenwriter is, merely for interpreting the idea), but still, Akiva Goldman?


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