Producers of a newItalian movie that features a scene of Jesus Christ guzzling pop have postponed the movie's release this Friday, after angering soda giant Coca-Cola.
Director Claudio Malaponti's Seven Kilometres from Jerusalem tells the story of an Italian ad executive who, suffering from a mid-life crisis, decides to take a trip to Jerusalem.
While driving through the desert to the city, he picks up a hitchhiker: Jesus, who is wandering through the Middle East as a preacher.
During the trip, the man offers Jesus a Coke, which he proceeds toconsume with relish.
"My God, what a testimonial!" the ad exec character reportedly blurts out.
In interviews, Malaponti has claimed that the film — set in modern times — has already won over fans at the Vatican.
According to the director, the Pope did not find the Coke scene offensive and even sent him a letter sayinghe hoped the movie would "increase love for Jesus."
However, a spokeswoman for the international soft drink giant has said the company is "not interested in this kind of product placement"and has threatened legal action if Malaponti does not cut the offending scene from his film.
"We don't think it's appropriate to use the subject of this film to create publicity for our brands," the company said in a statement.
Seven Kilometres to Jerusalem was originally scheduled to open in Italian theatres on Friday, the day the Catholic church celebrates as Good Friday. Producers have said it may be several weeks before the film will be seen in cinemas.