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‘Pope Must Die’ to Go on a Diet for Ad Campaign

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“The Pope Must Die” will be retitled “The Pope Must Diet” so that distributor Miramax Pictures can re-attempt to place ads with the Big Three networks and some major newspapers that have refused to sell ad time and space due to the film’s controversial original name.

Spokesman Johnathan Marder said the change was made to the R-rated movie “to draw attention to the fact that this is a comedy and not a political manifesto.” In the movie, a bumbling priest, played by British comic Robbie Coltrane, accidentally is elected Pope and is targeted by underworld agents because he foils their attempts to take power in a Vatican that is depicted as corrupt and immoral.

Marder said that the print ads will debut late next week but that the company has no indication about the networks’ reactions.

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As the movie was about to open Aug. 30, some network spokesmen said the reason for network rejections of the spots was because of the potentially offensive subject.

Coltrane, who is a physically large man, was credited for the name change. “I can’t take the credit really, except for my weight,” he said in a Miramax press release.


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