The Cannes Film Festival announced over the weekend that it had chosen Sony-Columbia's The Da Vinci Code, based on the Dan Brown best-seller and starring Tom Hanks, to open the festival on May 17. The film, directed by Ron Howard, will screen out of competition. Meanwhile, the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei, which figures prominently in the Dan Brown tale, has threatened to take legal action against Columbia and the film's producers. In a statement, the group said: "To present a member of Opus Dei as a killer when we devote our lives to helping others is unfair. We are also pained at how Opus Dei is presented as a secretive cult. This film portrays us as criminals who have kept secret a lie for 2,000 years. This isn't true."