They cracked the “Code” – so now what?

Slate’s Kim Masters today rightly asks the question: Can money buy happiness?

When it comes to “The Da Vinci Code,” maybe not.

“Going through the opening of The Da Vinci Code had to be one of the most complete agony-and-ecstasy experiences for any filmmaker-and that’s leaving aside the stress of dealing with the religious objectors. First the picture was savaged by reviewers, and then it opened huge. It’s nice to make money, but even the rich and successful don’t like to be heaped with public scorn. So, there’s a strong incentive for the principals to declare victory and move on.”

Nonetheless, Sony’s Amy Pascal insists that the studio is forging ahead and plans to make the movie with Ron Howard and Tom Hanks.

That’s an important distinction, because there’s no deal for either Hanks or Howard yet, and neither of them works because they need the money anymore.