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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 November 2007, 12:30 GMT
Strike hits Da Vinci Code prequel
Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou
Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou starred in the first movie
A follow-up to The Da Vinci Code has become the first big-screen casualty of the Hollywood writers' strike.

Angels & Demons, a prequel to the movie adaptation of Dan Brown's novel, is being delayed by Columbia Pictures because its script needs more work.

It had been due for release around Christmas 2008, but has now been pencilled in for May 2009.

Writers walked off the job nearly two weeks ago in a row over royalties for their work on DVDs and the internet.

They are due to reopen negotiations with their studios on 26 November.

'Ambitious project'

Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldman has been working on the project, but Writers Guild of America rules forbid members from editing and polishing scripts during strike action.

His other credits include A Beautiful Mind, for which he won the Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.

Writers striking outside NBC in Burbank, California
Writers have been demonstrating outside studios across the US
"With the strike nearing its third week, Columbia Pictures has postponed production of Angels & Demons," a statement from the studio said.

"While the film-makers and the studio feel the screenplay is very strong, we do not believe it is the fully realised production draft required of this ambitious project.

"At this time, there is no new start date, but we are setting a release date of 15 May 2009."

Columbia said it did not expect any other of its 2008 releases - which include the next James Bond film and the Will Smith action drama Hancock - to be affected by the strike.

Benefit gigs

So far, it has mainly been topical TV shows such as Saturday Night Live and The Late Show with David Letterman that have been hit by the writers' action.

Performers from Saturday Night Live and fellow NBC show 30 Rock, whose shows have been forced off the air, have been hosting benefit gigs in New York for staff affected by the walkout.

Tom Hanks is due to reprise his role as crime-solving professor Robert Langdon in Angels & Demons, also based on a Dan Brown novel. Like its predecessor, it will be directed by Ron Howard.

The plot sees Langdon attempt to thwart a plot by an ancient group to blow up the Vatican.

The first Da Vinci Code film took $753m (368m) at the box office worldwide after its release in 2006.

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