August 23, 2014

Medina
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Enthusiastic ‘Harry Potter’ fandom sets advance-ticket record

Death Eaters. Hallows. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Horcruxes. The Boy Who Lived.

It had been eight months since the Harry Potter fandom have had its wizardly fix, but the wait was over when the much-anticipated “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” premiered at midnight Thursday.

Harry Potter fans, from left, Rachel Coad, Emily Platz and Sarah Waite , all of Medina, are the first in line at 6 p.m. Thursday to see the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” at Regal Huntington Street 16 in Medina. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DANI ORR)

Harry Potter fans, from left, Rachel Coad, Emily Platz and Sarah Waite , all of Medina, are the first in line at 6 p.m. Thursday to see the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” at Regal Huntington Street 16 in Medina. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DANI ORR)

For fans, the final movie in the series signals the end of a long journey that, for some, began more than a decade ago with the first book written by J.K. Rowling.

The finale was expected to attract large crowds of Muggles and wizard look-a-likes at the midnight showings at Regal Huntington Street 16, 200 W. Reagan Parkway, Medina, and Great Oaks Cinema, 179 Great Oaks Trail, Wadsworth.

Outside the Regal theater at 6 p.m. Thursday, five teenaged Medina girls were set up with lawn chairs, blankets and water as they waited for the premiere.

The group said they’ve been on a two-day “Harry Potter” marathon. They said they watched all seven previous movies, set up a scavenger hunt and played the DVD game Scene It — the Harry Potter version, of course — to prepare themselves for Thursday.

All five said they were “really excited” to be the first in line.

“We didn’t know what the line would look like when we got here,” 15-year-old Rachel Coad said. “When we came in November for part one at like 8 p.m. the line was wrapped all the way around the building, so we figured by getting here a little early we would get a good spot, but to be the first in line is awesome.”

The five said they bought their tickets together more than two weeks ago.

Local Regal management declined to comment on sales.

Manager Steve Savoia at Great Oaks Cinema said the theater had sold out of the 3D movie by Thursday afternoon, but a small number of tickets still remained for the 2D midnight showing.

“The 2D showing is extremely close to being sold out. Between both theaters we are expecting just fewer than 600 people,” Savoia said. “We don’t normally pre-sell tickets, but when it comes to a bigger premiere like this we absolutely will, and tickets have been going like crazy.”

A full day before the film opened at more than 4,375 locations on 11,000 screens nationwide, it reportedly racked up $32 million in advance ticket sales, according to entertainment industry magazine Variety. That bests the record held by 2010’s “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse,” which boasted $30 million in advance ticket sales.

After seven films, the saga reportedly has grossed more than $6.4 billion worldwide to rank as the richest movie franchise in history, according to Variety.

Savoia said fans hadn’t begun to line up yet Thursday afternoon, but if it’s anything like past Harry Potter premieres, they’d be lining the sidewalk by 9 p.m.

“We’re used to the craziness of a big night like this, and the great Harry Potter fans that we expect to be dressed up from head to toe,” Savoia said, laughing. “This is the biggest premiere of the year for sure, and we’re prepared. We’re excited.”

When asked what a premiere that pulls in almost 600 customers on one night does for the theater financially, Savoia laughed and said, “A lot.”

The film is rated PG-13 and runs two hours and 10 minutes.

Contact Dani Orr at (330) 721-4049 or dorr@medina-gazette.com.