The UK awoke on Monday morning to blanket coverage of Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone.

With the exception of business daily The Financial Times, every British national paper carried front page news of the film's premiere at Leicester Square. The premiere was attended by a stream of celebrities as well as the film's 12 year old star Daniel Radcliffe and Harry Potter author JK Rowling.

The coverage was universally positive and reflected the excitement of the many children who attended the star-studded premiere with their journalist parents. "The best moment of my son's life so far", said a reporter on The Times who had taken her child to the premiere. London's local paper the Evening Standard summed up the gushing with its headline "Harry Potter: The Verdict - They All Love It".

Not quite. Alex Roberts, 12, who watched the film for The Guardian was one of the rare critical voices. Acknowledging that it would "certainly be one of his favourite films", he added that "the problem was that they kept too close to the book. The director has thrown in a little bit of everything which meant some of the atmosphere of the book was lost because important scenes were too short."

Just as with the launch of Pearl Harbor in the summer, most opinions about the film came not from accredited reviewers but from news reporters, feature writers and gossip columnists who were invited to the premiere.

Writing in The Sun - the UK's biggest paper - Dominic Mohan said the film lived up to its hype and would keep families under its spell for years to come. The Daily Mail's influential Baz Bamigboye predicted the film would pass Titantic as the biggest box office draw of all time.

One established critic who did review it on Monday - The Daily Telegraph's John Hisock - said director Christopher Columbus had successfully remained faithful to the book, concluding: "he has managed to keep the saccharine to a minimum."

Demand for Harry Potter, which officially opens on November 16, has already been huge. Even before opening it has taken more than $2.94m (£2m) in advance bookings, with Odeon cinemas selling a record 200,000 advance tickets, Warner Village140,000 and UCI 120,000. It is understood that the film will be released on a record breaking 1,000 prints - beating Toy Story 2 which screened at 496 sites and on 768 screens.