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Harry Potter loses box-office magic

HARRY Potter no longer casts the same spell over Shanghai cinema fans.

Many cinemas in the city said that yesterday's opening-day ticket sales for "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," the sixth film in the series, were not as good as they were for "Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen."

Zhou Qiong, an official with Stellar Cinema City, said that as of 7pm yesterday, ticket sales totaled 100,000 yuan (US$14,635) for "Half-Blood Prince," 50 percent less than "Revenge of the Fallen" earned on its opening day.

Advance bookings also showed Potter wasn't as popular these days.

Yonghua Cinema City had sold about 100 tickets by 7pm on Tuesday for screenings yesterday. More than 1,200 tickets for "Revenge of the Fallen" had been booked by the same time the day before it opened.

Grand Cinema, which had prepared 1,350 seats for Harry Potter fans, had just 200 tickets booked by 7pm on Tuesday.

The Grand Cinema manager, surnamed Yang, said most Potter fans are aged about 20 and lack spending power while Transformers fans are in their 30s and are able to spend money on what they like.

Zhou said "Revenge of the Fallen" also benefitted from its release date as it faced no big rivals during its first two weeks in cinemas.

"The 'Half-Blood Prince' will not be so lucky as it will face competition on July 24 from two new films - the domestic cartoon 'McDull Wudang' and the Hong Kong spy thriller 'Overheard'," Zhou said.

The five previous Potter movies, which are based on the books by JK Rowling, have made about 370 million yuan on the Chinese mainland.


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