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August 5, 2011

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

Finally, Harry Potter's in town

THOUSANDS of Harry Potter fans flocked to Shanghai's cinemas in the early hours of yesterday morning to see the long-awaited conclusion to the saga as the final film made its debut on screens around the Chinese mainland.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," the last of eight movies based on J.K. Rowling's novels, was released at midnight on Wednesday on the Chinese mainland.

Local cinemas had expected a box office record after the movie had trounced Hollywood blockbuster "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" in the United States.

However, there were still some empty seats.

At the Shanghai Film Art Center, audiences filled only 300 seats in the cinema's largest theater, with a capacity of 1,000, for the midnight premiere.

But Zhang Bin, the cinema's marketing manager, said that had been expected.

"Deathly Hallows: Part 2" attracted mostly fans of the Harry Potter generation, who had read the novels and watched the pervious seven movies over the past 10 years.

"Transformers," on the other hand, had become the 10th film to make more than US$1 billion worldwide, and appealed to a larger audience, Zhang said.

At the Studio City Cinema, 200 tickets had been sold for the midnight premiere, about half the number that "Transformers" had scored.

However, it's early days for Harry Potter and it may yet outperform its rival.

On microblog website, the Harry Potter finale topic had attracted more than 2 million entries. "I found it hard to leave the cinema although I knew this was the end," one blogger wrote.

An online Harry Potter fan club ( has built its own Hogwarts community with 3,000 members. It even features its own version of the Harry Potter-realm newspaper The Daily Prophet.

Zhang Minhao, a student from Tongji University, was one of those who grew up with the Harry Potter books and films.

"He is like a big brother to me. I will miss him so much," said the 20-year-old.

Wu Hehu, deputy manager of Shanghai United Cinema Circuit, said the final film in the Harry Potter series was likely to take in at least 500 million yuan (US$78 million) in the mainland.

The movie has sparked renewed interest in the novels.

The Harry Potter collection has been sold out on, China's largest online shopping website. One seller said he had sold 600 sets of Potter novels in the past 30 days.

Following the Potter movie, "The Smurfs," a classic cartoon for most Chinese young people born in the 1980s, will hit screen later this month.


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