UPDATED: *Attempts by Sony to screen the film in one part of Andhra Pradesh today were unsuccessful when dozens of protesters under the banner of the Christian United Front raided a Hyderabad multiplex and damaged property extensively, forcing the management to suspend the film’s screening. The mob even broke the box office window (as opposed to breaking the box office record), so the film could not be shown. Also, the state government is appealing the High Court decision.*
As if the Da Vinci Code didn’t have enough global moviegoers after finishing No. 1 overseas even after five weeks out, it adds 75 million potential more this weekend. Sony is relieved now that a high court in India just OK’d the film’s release in Andhra Pradesh, one of the states where the local government banned the religious thriller. I’m told the studio will have the film available in English and Hindi to about 70% of the population there by Saturday. “We have been waiting to watch the film because the controversy surrounding it only added to our curiosity,” one youth told the local paper. He along with friends had planned to watch the movie June 2, but the government banned its screening a day before it was to be released. “I will watch the first show of the movie because I have read so much about it in newspapers,” said another college student. I’ve also learned that Sony is appealing the ban on DVC‘s release in the state of Tamil Nadu. So then the movie would have 90% coverage of India. Sony also is releasing DVC in Oman and Qatar, two Mideast countries where the release was delayed. UPDATED: *The film received “remarkable response” from filmgoers in Qatar, according to newswire reports received from the halls where the picture is screened.* So, gradually, Sony is winning the censorship fight to have the film seen around the world. Meanwhile, Da Vinci Code passed $200 million in U.S. box office gross Tuesday night and is racing now towards a $700 million global haul.