The newest Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, released November 19 at midnight, made $330 million worldwide on opening weekend. Ticket sales made it the largest opening for the Harry Potter franchise.
As the first half of the “epic finale,” fans bought their tickets up to a month in advance. Popular movie theaters around Leesville such as Brier Creek, North Hills and Raleigh Grande were completely sold out for midnight showings and most of their Friday evening showings.
Myself and fifteen other juniors and seniors from Leesville ventured out on Thursday night to experience the Deathly Hallows. We risked complete exhaustion during school the next day, but it was worth it.
The adventure began on Thursday morning before school (or really Wednesday night), when Grant Do and Morgan Burke, seniors, decorated their cars with Harry Potter-related pictures and sayings. “Honk if you [love] Harry Potter!” and “The Epic Finale Begins!” was painted on their cars in Gryffindor colors, scarlet and gold.
The most dedicated of our group, Grant Do, Morgan Burke and Karley St. Pierre, seniors, arrived at North Hills around 8 p.m., fully decked out in their Harry Potter garb. Burke and St. Pierre dressed as Hermione, while Do dressed as Harry. They hoped to beat the crowds and save the best seats for the group.
“I was the first person to enter theater 7 because I went four hours before the movie actually began!” said Do. “You could call me one of the biggest Harry Potter dorks, and I would be very satisfied.”
“My least favorite part of the night was waiting for the movie to start. We got there really early to get good seats, but I ended up waiting three hours. I took my backpack and attempted to study, but it was too exciting,” said Burke.
The remainder of our group arrived between 9 and 10 p.m. We passed the time by spending way too much money at the snack counter and getting hyped up on caffeine so we could stay awake for the movie, and in some cases, the homework awaiting them back at home.
“I was so excited the night of the premiere and I wanted every Harry Potter fan to have the same vibe, so I basically did spontaneous Harry Potter cheers, yelled iconic movie quotes and flashed the “Lighting Bolt Scar” sign (see photos) in the theater before the movie,” said Do.
Though our tickets were for 12:05 a.m., the movie finally began at 12:27 a.m., due to a ridiculous amount of previews. As soon as the Harry Potter theme music came on, cheers, claps and whistles erupted in the theater, particularly from Grant Do.
The movie was fabulous, of course, but the experience of attending a midnight Harry Potter showing is something I had never before encountered. I became a fan only a year ago, when I read all seven books over Thanksgiving break.
The atmosphere created by (literally) thousands of fans gathering together in the middle of the night to view the newest movie of a childhood love is indescribable: I had something in common with every single person in the theater that night.
Each and every person was dedicated enough to buy their tickets weeks in advance and go without a night of sleep so they could say they were the FIRST.
These movies, however, particularly this one and the next, are different for fans.
“I have found that in past years every time I leave a Harry Potter movie my response is something along the lines of ‘I can’t wait til the next one!,’” said Do. “But this time the Harry Potter chapter of my life comes to a close, leaving lasting memories of magic and one last response of ‘This is it. It all ends here.'”
When the movie concluded around 3:15 a.m. on Friday morning, fans stood and clapped, then slowly filed out of the theater, exhausted and now realizing how very little sleep they would get that night.
Despite their sleep deprivation, fans still had the energy to rave about the movie on the way to their cars. I heard a chorus of “That was the best one yet!” and “The ending was crazy, and they didn’t even leave anything out!”
“Harry Potter is seriously one of history’s greatest phenomenons that has captured the inner witch or wizard of both girls and boys, and people of all ages and cultures,” said Do.
“Harry Potter books and movies have been a monumental part of my youth. I can tell that some day in the future, I will be opening up the books again to jump back into my childhood; and if that’s not magic, I don’t know what is,” said Alex Popov, senior.
The final portion of the Harry Potter series will release in 3-D on July 15, 2011.