'Angels & Demons' may face Vatican boycott

Official newspaper: Church 'cannot approve' of the film

ROME -- The Vatican could be gearing up for an official call for a boycott of "Angels & Demons," Ron Howard's big-budget follow-up to "The Da Vinci Code."

Avvenire, the Vatican's official newspaper, ran a story in Friday's edition noting that the church "cannot approve" of such a problematic film. The Turin daily La Stampa, meanwhile, said the Vatican soon will call for a boycott of the film, though the same article also quoted Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, who warned against a "boomerang effect" that could call attention to the film and eventually make it more popular.

The Vatican press office declined comment on the reports.

Producers requested permission from church officials to film parts of "Angels & Demons" in the Vatican but were denied.

Scores of church officials called for a boycott of "Da Vinci Code" when it was released in 2006, but the calls had little effect on the popularity of the thriller, which is based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown. The film earned about $760 million in worldwide boxoffice receipts.

"Angels & Demons" features many of the same characters as "The Da Vinci Code." While Brown published "Angels" three years before "Da Vinci," the film version of "Angels" refers to events in the film version of "Da Vinci" and so plays more like a sequel than a prequel. It is set to open worldwide May 15.