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Tom Hanks Shares Why The Da Vinci Code And Other Robert Langdon Movies Were 'Hooey'

Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code.
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Tom Hanks is generally agreed to be one of our greatest living actors. He’s played numerous iconic roles, won more than one Oscar, and generally found good roles in good movies that critics love. He’s an actor who has generally avoided getting into the blockbuster tentpole franchise filmmaking machine, but there has been one exception, the three times he played Robert Langdon in movies based on the books of Dan Brown, like The Da Vinci Code. They have not been Hanks’ finest hours according to most critics, and Hanks seems to agree, calling the movies “hooey.”

The Da Vinci Code and its two sequels, Angels & Demons and Inferno, are not the actor’s best reviewed works. They are, however, among his highest grossing works, with The Da Vinci Code being Hanks highest grossing live-action movie globally. There is often seen to be a strong dividing line between movies that are made to be successful commercially and those that are “art” and Hanks admits to EW that these movies were very much commercial endeavors, and he doesn’t seem to have much of a positive opinion about them now. Hanks said…

God, that was a commercial enterprise. Yeah, those Robert Langdon sequels are hooey. The Da Vinci Code was hooey.

The Da Vinci Code was the biggest book in the world in the early 2000s and so it was inevitable it would get the film adaptation treatment. Seeing Tom Hanks in the lead was a bit of a surprise as we had not seen him in that sort of summer popcorn movie before. It certainly worked, as the movie made a lot of money at the box office and spawned a pair of sequels. The most recent, Inferno, was released in 2016.

Tom Hanks doesn’t seem to hate the movies or regret making them. He calls them “delightful scavenger hunts,” but he certainly seems to understand what the movies were and what they were not. And Hanks has no problem making movies that are more focused on box office receipts than anything else. There’s a place for that, but the actor says that eventually the Langdon movies were not “good commerce.” He continues…

There's nothing wrong with good commerce, provided it is good commerce. By the time we made the third, we proved that it wasn't such good commerce.

Inferno still made $220 million globally against a $75 million budget, mostly thanks to international success, so it wasn’t exactly a flop, but Inferno struggled at the box office and was certainly a big drop from the $758 million box office of The Da Vinci Code. That is what you call “good commerce.”

So if you were holding out hope that Tom Hanks and company would adapt the Robert Langdon book they skipped over, that feels unlikely. It seems unlikely that Tom Hanks will be involved in another big commercial enterprise again.. It seems unlikely we’ll see him in a Marvel or Star Wars movie, but who knows. It could happen. 

Dirk Libbey
Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.