About 25,000 demonstrators, some lugging crosses, threatened mass boycotts of "The Last Temptation of Christ" upon its release Friday, and at least one major theater chain has decided against showing the film.

The movie opens in eight major cities at the height of a nationwide fundamentalist furor sparked by Christians who say it is blasphemous in its portrayal of a Jesus Christ tempted to abandon his divinity.An estimated 25,000 protesters jammed the streets around Universal Studios Thursday, adding their voices to a chorus of protest that has stretched from the studio lot to the halls of Congress.

"A lot of impressionable people who would see this will receive a totally skewed, biased and blatantly false portrayal of the person who is nearest and dearest to our hearts - our savior Jesus Christ," said the Rev. Paul Crouch, president of Trinity Broadcasting.

General Cinema Theaters, which is based in Newton, Mass., decided against showing the movie after company executives screened it this week.