Harry Potter's global following now includes the Vatican

Fans from Asia to Europe lined up to watch the movie premiere Wednesday. The Vatican newspaper praised its promotion of friendship and sacrifice.

By , Asia editor

The latest Harry Potter film brought in a massive $58.4 million in the United States on opening day Wednesday – outdoing all five previous installments and ranking fourth highest in daily gross for any movie.

But the teenage wizard hasn't just charmed American Muggles. Internationally "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" made $104 million on its first day, as fans from Australia to Asia to Europe piled into theaters – some of them in costume, of course.

A film's success overseas can be more important than its reception in the US, given the vastly larger audience.

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Vatican stamp of approval?

Even the Vatican newspaper, which has criticized Harry Potter before, had good things to say about this film. L'Osservatore Romano praised the new film's promotion of "friendship, altruism, loyalty and self-giving."

The movie and the books show clearly "the line of demarcation between one who does good and one who does evil, and it is not difficult for the reader or the viewer to identify with the first."

"This is particularly true in the latest film," it read. "They know that doing good is the right thing to do. And they also understand that sometimes this involves hard work and sacrifice."

The review did note, however, the stories' lack of "reference to transcendence, to a providential design ..."

I'm guessing that they don't teach Transcendence or Providential Design at Hogwarts.

Dumbledore and a DVD collection

Potter fans in the United Arab Emirates revealed the depth of their devotion in the local paper, The National. "Yes, I have the full Dumbledore outfit," one man shared. Another claimed that she "only brought my clothes and the whole series of Harry Potter DVDs" when she moved to Dubai from the Philippines three years ago.

In China – a huge, highly sought market – the movie is "expected to be this year's leading box office revenue raiser," according to the state-run China Daily.

Even fans in troubled Urumqi – the capital of China's western Xinjiang Province where riots killed at least 184 people earlier this month – were able to watch the film on opening day. But they had to wait an extra several hours – state authorities canceled the midnight showing due to "safety concerns," Agence France-Presse reported.

But Mom, it's Harry Potter!

Turnout was low in Urumqi as many people were still worried about the ethnic violence. The People's Cinema manager reported that only 63 tickets were bought for the premiere in a theater that seats 730. But one mother says her 11-year old daughter insisted.

"I was still worried about the security, but my daughter begged me to take her to watch the film," Guli Shawugul told China Daily.

This story was updated on Friday at 9:11 a.m.

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