Thanks to a concerted U.S. boycott, a movie which depicts five Catholic priests in a scandalous light appears to be heading for a box office and public relations disaster.

The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and the American Life League have co-sponsored a boycott of the Walt Disney Company, which owns Miramax, the studio which released Priest.  Catholic groups were enraged that Disney, a company known for its family type entertainment ventures, would release a film which John Cardinal O’Connor of New York called “as viciously anti-Catholic as anything that has ever rotted the silver screen.”

The boycott includes all Disney products including Walt Disney Parks, Disney films and the Disney Channel.  A petition sponsored by 57 organizations (including 11 Catholic Bishops) is demanding a “public apology from the Walt Disney Company” saying the boycott will continue “until this disgrace is ended satisfactorily.”

It is estimated that a major U.S. release movie needs to be shown in over 2,000 theatres to guarantee financial success.  In large part due to the boycott, Priest is playing in only 200 theatres to poor audiences.

The U.S. Catholic paper The Wanderer, reports that the Disney boycott has not been solely a Catholic venture.  An article notes that several Protestant and Jewish groups have joined the boycott.