These four movies infuriated some religious groups, but the resulting controversies helped domestic ticket sales as often as they hurt
The Last Temptation of Christ 1988
In Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’ novel, Jesus is tempted to come down off the cross, marry Mary Magdalene, and live as a mortal man. In response, Christian groups attacked the film with everything from pickets to Molotov cocktails.
Budget: $6.5 Million
Box Office: $8.4 Million
The Passion of the Christ 2004
Mel Gibson’s interpretation of Christ’s final hours generated an outcry over its depiction of Jewish characters. (Charges of anti-Semitism helped lead Fox to pass on distributing the film.) Others questioned the film’s historical accuracy and graphic R-rated scenes of violence.
Budget: $30 Million
Box Office: $370.3 Million
The Da Vinci Code 2006
Dan Brown’s hit novel got plenty of heat for suggesting that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had kids. Because of that plot twist, Ron Howard’s film was banned in a number of countries — including Egypt — and a high-ranking Vatican archbishop called for a boycott.
Budget: $125 Million
Box Office: $217.5 Million
The Golden Compass 2007
After Disney scored with the first film based on C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series of Christian allegories, New Line adapted the first book in atheist Philip Pullman’s series His Dark Materials, stripping many antichurch elements and drawing the fire of both Christians and secular fans.
Budget: $180 Million
Box Office: $ 70.1 Million