It didn’t work last time

IT DIDN’T WORK LAST TIME…. In a couple of months, “Angels and Demons” will make its way from best-selling novel to big summer movie. The story is a little convoluted, but it’s basically the story of a Harvard symbologist, played by Tom Hanks, running around Rome in a face off against the Illuminati. “Angels and Demons” is a prequel of sorts to “The Da Vinci Code,” and I’m sure plenty of people will go see it.

For Bill Donohue and the Catholic League, that’s the problem.

The Catholic League plans to do battle with the Ron Howard pic “Angels and Demons” — even though the org’s crusade against Sony’s 2006 “The Da Vinci Code” may have actually helped that film earn a huge $758 million worldwide.

Claiming the project has an anti-Catholic agenda, the league announced on Monday that it will send several news releases discussing what it says are falsehoods in Dan Brown’s book and Howard’s pic, which bows on May 15.

Donohue is even selling a “pamphlet” responding to the not-yet-released movie for $5 a pop.

Now, it’s generally difficult to know whether Donohue is genuinely concerned about a movie or is looking to generate some publicity for himself. If the Catholic League is sincere about undermining “Angels and Demons,” I would have thought the experiences of three years ago would have been more illustrative.

Consider the almost identical scenario in 2006. “The Da Vinci Code,” another Dan Brown novel-turned-movie, became the target of considerable religious right ire. Focus on the Family, the Catholic League, assorted conservative bishops and columnists, and all kinds of Christian activists blasted the movie at every available opportunity. The movie proceeded to make three-quarters of a billion dollars worldwide, despite weak reviews. Sure, the book was a best-seller, and was bound to do well at the box office anyway, but the right’s constant complaining gave the film added publicity and likely sparked additional interest.

The same cast of characters has drawn on that experience three years ago … to do the exact same thing all over again. The studio and movie producers are probably thrilled.

Note to Donohue: “Angels and Demons” is summer popcorn fare. For that matter, it’s fiction, so highlighting “falsehoods” seems rather foolish. If some harmless Ron Howard thriller is a credible threat to modern Christianity, the movie is the least of the faith’s troubles.