'Harry Potter' fans turn out in droves for movie's premiere
The movie grossed $101.4 million in the United States for its debut weekend, which is the best for the series yet, according to Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. on Sunday.
Jason Sanders, operations manager at Celebration Cinema in Lansing, said about 16,050 people watched the newest Harry Potter movie on four regular screens and one IMAX screen at midnight.
"We've waited all year for a film like this," he said. "It's always a really good feeling when theaters are selling out."
At NCG Eastwood Cinemas, the line was wrapped around the side of the theater. Among the fans waiting, there were a few people dressed in costume, while others debated theories about the Harry Potter books.
English junior Kristina Atwood, who dressed up in a wizard cloak, waited with friends in bitter 20-degree temperatures.
"Seeing it at midnight is so different of an atmosphere," she said. She said she preferred to be in the company of other fans but fewer children.
Some fans arrived early Thursday evening to get the chance to be some of the first in line. East Lansing High School juniors Max Bauer, Drew Dyer and Joe Downes got to the theater at 7:40 p.m. and were the only people in line for about 10 minutes.
Horticulture junior Rachel Bethke, who said she is a huge Harry Potter fan, also waited outside Thursday jumping around to keep warm.
"I'm 20 years old and I do dress up like Harry Potter," she said. "No one wants to be seen with me."
Bethke said she dragged her boyfriend to the show because her devotion to the series is so strong she even made an authentic-looking Harry Potter costume, which she wore to the theater. Between her Hogwarts uniform, white owl stuffed animal and drawn on lighting shaped scar, Bethke did resemble the 14-year-old wizard.
"I was pacing my apartment getting ready," Bethke said.
She had her ticket to the show three weeks in advance and cried when she first saw previews for the film.
After seeing the movie, Bethke said the anticipation was worth it.
"I loved how they progressed the story line and how the characters developed," she said. "It's such a hard book to put into a movie."
Bethke also said she enjoyed the new director, Mike Newell, because she thought he added his own experiences growing up in British school into the movie. She said she planned to see the movie a second time on Saturday night.
"He brought across the point that Harry is growing up," she said.