A church group in South Korea vowed to block a local movie distributor from releasing the controversial Da Vinci code.
"The Da Vinci Code is a movie which belittles and tries to destroy Christianity," said the Rev. Hong Jae-chul of the Christian Council of Korea, according to AP.
The umbrella group of over 60 Korean Protestant denominations asked overseas Christian organizations to block the screening of the movie in their respective countries.
Based on a bestselling novel, the movie will star academy award-winner Tom Hanks and Ian Mckellen. The book alleges that Mary Magdalene and Jesus were, in fact, married and bore descendents, and that the Catholic Church had kept this a secret for centuries.
This notion has outraged the Christian community, and has been dismissed by historians and theologians. The Vatican has openly denounced and banned this book, in response.
During the production of the film, Westminster Abbey rejected the director’s request to the film a climatic scene at the centuries old Anglican cathedral.
Evangelicals worldwide have given different responses to the film, from expressing outrage to offering workshops and books to debunk the assertions made by the book’s author, Dan Brown.
Some evangelicals have, on the other hand, urged believers to use the film as an evangelism tool. Internationally renowned speaker and author, Josh McDowell released his book, The Da Vinci Code: A Quest for Answers , last month, to help Christians witness to their friends using the film.
Despite its controversy, the book has garnered more than 40 million dollars in sales since its first release.
On Wednesday, Beijing, known for its strict censorship policy, gave the go-ahead for film’s May 19 release in China. Wu Hehu, deputy director of Shanghai United Cinema Lines, China's largest cinema chain, told the press that the movie would not be altered much from the original.
The Ron Howard film will first debut at the Cannes Film Festival, May 17, before its worldwide release.