Bans, protests, boycotts
Protests were brewing in several countries.
In India, the government Tuesday put a temporary hold on the movie's release because of complaints, The Associated Press reported.
In South Korea, which has 13 million Protestants and 4.6 million Roman Catholics, a court ruled Tuesday that a Christian group's request for an injunction to block screenings lacked merit. The Christian Council of Korea, an umbrella group of 63 South Korean Protestant denominations, said it respected the ruling but would lead a boycott of the movie, which it said defiles the sanctity of Jesus Christ and distorts facts, AP reported.
In mostly Hindu India, which is also home to 18 million Roman Catholics, Joseph Dias, head of the Catholic Secular Forum, began a hunger strike in downtown Mumbai and said other people were joining him.
"We want the movie to be banned," he said.
The film had been set for release in India on Friday and had already been cleared by the national censor board. But Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi said he put a temporary hold on the movie after receiving more than 200 complaints.
In Thailand, Columbia Pictures has appealed a ruling by government censors to cut the final 10 minutes of "The Da Vinci Code," police said, after Thai church leaders complained the film's content was insulting.
Philippine censors approved an adult rating for the movie but stopped short of rating it "X" because "it does not constitute a clear, express or direct attack on the Catholic church or religion" and does not libel or defame any person.
The movie-review panel's chairwoman, Marissa Laguardia, told The Associated Press that the movie would be a "test of faith" for many people in the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines.
The National Council of Churches in Singapore, which also had requested a ban, planned lectures to refute aspects of the film and the book on which it is based. The censorship board gave the movie an NC16 rating, barring viewers under 16, arguing that "only a mature audience will be able to discern and differentiate between fact and fiction."
Also, while not planning a protest or boycott, members of the National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation expressed unhappiness with the film's heavy, a monk-assassin, being an albino, as described in the book.
Michael McGowan, an albino who heads the organization, said "The Da Vinci Code" will be the 68th movie since 1960 to feature an evil albino. He said the group aims to use the movie's popularity to raise awareness about the realities of albinism. People with albinism have little or no pigmentation in their skin, eyes and hair.
After making its print debut in 2003, "The DaVinci Code" has since sold more than 60.5 million copies and has been translated into 44 languages.