It's Potter-mania as fans at last get to see the latest movie

Hollywood 14 theater crowded with costumed fans
Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | 10:04 a.m. CDT; updated 12:45 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008
Muggles and wizards anxiously await the midnight opening of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" late on Tuesday night at Hollywood-Stadium 14 theater in Columbia. Manager Joe Mckie said 765 tickets were sold for the three midnight viewings of the newest Harry Potter movie.

Professor Trelawney predicted the crowd of expectant Muggles that flooded Hollywood 14 theater’s lobby for the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” She saw it in her crystal ball.

She didn’t, however, expect people would recognize her costume.

“Last year, people had no idea who I was,” said Trelawney, known to her Muggle friends as KT Arevalo. “This doubles as my Pirates of the Caribbean outfit.”

Arevalo arrived at the screening in full Trelawney regalia, complete with a regal, flowing purple skirt and an eccentric owl brooch. She was just one costumed fan among the hoards of night owls who showed up early for the release of the fifth Potter film at midnight Tuesday.

Several Harrys, Hermiones and assorted Hogwarts students peppered the predominantly high school and college-age crowd, which had grown so large by 10:30 p.m. that the lines for the 12:10 and 12:20 a.m. screenings spilled outside.

Marcus Batton, marketing director for Hollywood 14, said the theater sold out three screenings — each of which seats 255 people — by 3:30 Tuesday afternoon.

The midnight “Potter” shows attracted everyone from families with little kids to clusters of college coeds. The screenings offered moviegoers a long-awaited break from other Tuesday night rituals.

“I’d probably be at the bars if I weren’t here,” said MU student Brian Hansen.

Hansen and a crew of three friends played Yahtzee outside to kill time before they entered the theater. Others passed the hours with card games or pored through Potter novels.

Rachel Lee and Carmen Hannon-Patton stood in line for almost five hours so they could be the first fans in line. Hannon-Patton said the pair got to the theater about 7:15 p.m., but she said she’s still not a Harry “fanatic.”

“I’d say I’m more obsessed, and there’s a line between the two,” Hannon-Patton said. “But I’m not sure where it is.”

Jessica Berger said she’s willing to embrace her Harry Potter obsession. She came all the way from Kirksville, where the theater was only showing “Phoenix” on one screen and didn’t start selling tickets until Tuesday.

“We wanted to be completely sure we’d get tickets,” Berger said.

Berger, dressed in a Hogwarts school uniform, said she loves the films but her deepest Potter passion stems from the franchise’s ability to inspire children to read.

“I’m studying to be a special education teacher,” Berger said. “And anything that gets kids to read is wonderful. When was the last time a book had this much hype?” The seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling’s series is due out next week.

“They made the books way before the movies, so the books are what made the movies possible,” said her friend, Abby Broyles.

But 9-year-old Mattison Little came even although she hadn’t read any of the books. She prefers Lemony Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

“I really like the Harry Potter movies,” she said. “I’m just excited for Harry and Cho to kiss.”

Steven Lacey, 13, decided he’d be content with a nice look at Emma Watson, the new Hollywood “It” girl who’s gained acclaim for her portrayal of the clever Hermione Granger.

His friend, Dakota Schalk, 13, offered a simple explanation: “He thinks she’s hot.”

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.