Remember those Harry Potter fans who said they would boycott the sixth movie because Warner Bros. delayed its release to make more money? Yeah, right, good luck with that. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” has arrived and our Yvonne Villarreal was out there among the muggles and brought back this report.
They didn’t just want to see a movie, they wanted to live it — and wear it. Some of the muggles came in maroon-striped scarves and school-uniform neckties; others donned capes and stuffed pillows under their shirts to give them the girth of a plump wizard. They came in wigs, gray sweaters (despite the stifling heat), tube socks and, oh yes, wire-rimmed glasses. Lots and lots of wire-rimmed glasses.
The witching-hour spectacle played out at theaters across the Southland as hundreds of Harry Potter fans stayed up late so they could be among the first to see the sixth film in the most magical of Hollywood franchises. The film sold out more than 4,500 midnight shows and was looking to break the records for a Wednesday opening.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for months,” said Naomi Gonzales, 21, of Sylmar, who purchased tickets for the 12:55 a.m. showing at Universal CityWalk with her cousin. “There was no way I was going to wait. Midnight was the only option. Who needs sleep? Harry Potter is my caffeine.”
At the AMC CityWalk Stadium, all six showings were sold out. The two midnight showings at Mann Theatres in Hollywood? Sold out. That was the story far and wide; At one point, Fandango was selling eight tickets per second, according to the website.
Camille Soroudi, 18, and her friends London and Gaby came to the 12:15 show at CityWalk in their Hogwarts uniform.
“It better lives up to the book,” said Soroudi, who with her friends started a Harry Potter club at their high school when they were students there. “I don’t want it to be like ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.’ If you’re going to bring the book to the big screen, do it right. They should have brought [director] Chris Columbus back.”
The sixth installment in the Potter franchise, shot over an eight-year span, is directed by David Yates, who did the previous film and is at work on the final two. If initial ticket sales are any indication, the latest installment is on track to match or exceed “Order of the Phoenix,” which finished with a worldwide box-office total of $938 million.
Potter-mania via cyberspace didn’t end with online ticket purchasing. Fans of the boy wizard and his sidekicks have made “Harry Potter” a top 10 “trending topic” on Twitter since July 13. As midnight neared Tuesday, many “tweets” buzzed with anticipation.
Around 6 p.m. PST, “Erickaholic” wrote, “Waiting in line for the harry potter premierrr ”
“Bamberella” wrote, “Harry Potter tonight . . . not an avid book reader but fan enough to go to the midnight showing. Boo ya!”
Others, like “PhantomWho,” planned to tweet their thoughts of the movie as they watched it.
And many expressed their plans to watch Harry, his sidekick Ron and brainy gal pal Hermione more than once.
“Are you kidding?” said Lauren Poissant, 19, of Long Beach, who came dressed as Rubeus Hagrid and lugged along an egg (made of papier-mache) housing the baby dragon Norbert. “I’m definitely going to see it more than once. It’s just that kind of movie.”
– Yvonne Villarreal
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Photo credits: Warner Bros.