Times have not been good for electronic media giant Sony. The New York Times recently carried a short article that reported the company has lost 37 percent of its market value over the last six years. It has been hit by one disaster after another. Future projections do not look good either.
While there are many explanations that analysts offer to explain the dismal performance of this once stellar company, there is one explanation that is never mentioned: the Curse of the DaVinci Code.
It has been six years since Sony began production of the movie, The DaVinci Code, based on the bestselling yet now forgotten book with the same title by Dan Brown. The book’s blasphemous affirmations denied the Divinity of Christ and claimed He was married to Saint Mary Magdalene and had children, which offended countless faithful at the time. Numerous books and studies debunked these absurd and horrific theses along with others that author Dan Brown nevertheless affirmed were true.
From the moment production began, it appears as if the Curse of the DaVinci Code descended upon Sony and there it still remains.
One has to admit that the evidence is pretty compelling. Almost immediately Sony was hit by waves of negative publicity from the film and even hired an expensive Hollywood public relations firm specialized in “reputation management.”
Among those protesting the Sony film was the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) and its America Needs Fatima campaign. Eleven American Catholic bishops eventually joined in encouraging protests in front of theaters. By the time it was all over, outraged Catholics had logged in an impressive 2,092 theater protests across the nation.
Because of the negative publicity and protests, domestic box office receipts for The DaVinci Code were disappointing and the film won no academy awards.
Over the years since then, the fortunes of Sony have been plagued in other areas with a long litany of problems, infighting, delays and mistakes.
Many will remember the famous case of the Sony’s lithium ion batteries used in laptop computers that mysteriously started to catch fire in 2006. The company had to scramble to control damage and spent nearly $434 million on recalling and replacing the Sony batteries in 10 million laptops from Dell, Apple, Lenovo and other companies.
In 2007, Sony had huge problems in the marketing and developing of PlayStation 3, its game console, which it had hopes of making a new cash cow. Factory delays, high production cost and a bad marketing strategy resulted in a $2 billion loss as it struggled to stay in the market.
These and other problems all fit well into the plot of the Curse of the DaVinci Code. Sony seems to have had more than its share of misfortunes.
The most recent bad news adds to its woes. In June, Sony reported a $3.2 billion net loss, its largest loss in 16 years. It further announced that next year it could see a loss of $2 billion from its operating profit. Among the austerity measures taken, CEO Howard Stringer has just been given a fifteen percent cut in his salary.
In April, someone cracked Sony’s own code – computer code. The firm was hit hard by cyber attacks involving hackers who brought down the PlayStation Network for a month and compromised the security of names, addresses and passwords of nearly 100 million subscribers. The March 11 tsunami in Japan also shuttered many Sony factories and interrupted supply lines. All these problems weigh heavily upon the future of the electronic media giant.
Someone might object that the mere listing of misfortunes does not prove the Curse of the DaVinci Code. Just because something happens after the fact does not mean it happens because of the fact. No connection should be forced upon unconnected events.
This may be true but it is interesting to remember that when The DaVinci Code book and movie came out, the media did everything possible to promote the thesis that Christ was not divine and the church was a medieval fabrication. The proofs? Disconnected facts, forged documents, Gnostic gospels and phony theology. There were no facts to back up the hype around the film, and yet it was presented as something that was true.
Granted, the Curse of the DaVinci Code may not exist. However, at least, the hypothesis is based upon verifiable facts that anyone can check out. One also has to admit that the mysterious case of exploding batteries and unknown hackers from cyberspace entering into the firm’s computer code all read as if from a chapter of Dan Brown’s book. It is certainly easier to believe in the Curse of the DaVinci Code than the actual book itself.
Of course, Sony’s misfortunes could all just be an amazing coincidence, or simply a spate of bad luck. Those things happen… and keep happening.