When Harry met Juneau

'Harry Potter' hits Glacier Cinemas

Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2001

A 3yearold girl in pearls sang "Harry Harry Harry" as the sold-out crowd lined up for "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" on Saturday afternoon at Glacier Cinemas.

Nearly one-quarter of America's 33,000 movie screens are showing "Harry Potter" this weekend, a film debut record. Juneau is doing its part to help "Harry Potter" break the "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" opening weekend box office record of $72.1 million. Every local screening of "Harry Potter" has sold out, and theater owner Gross Alaska expects the trend to continue through the weekend.

"One guy was in line at 11 in the morning Friday and we didn't even open until 5:30 by that time we had a line around the building," said Dorain Gross, president of Gross Alaska Theaters.

The line for the debut including a boy in Harry Potter garb.

"He had the whole thing going on, cap and gown and the school uniform," said theater manager Dominique deVille.

The film is in Theater 2, which seats 177. Although four of Gross Alaska's seven Juneau theaters are larger, that room has state-of-the-theater-arts DTS sound and offers the best presentation, deVille said.

The first matinee sold out in 20 minutes Saturday morning, and fans quickly bought up tickets for the second show. Mark Zeiger waited with his wife and daughter at the front of the line.

"We're fans, but we didn't have to be first. This is the place for the starryeyed dedicated fans," Zeiger said, laughing. He's read all four books.

"We read them aloud as a family," he said.

Glacier Cinemas opened early Saturday to provide two matinee shows of "Harry Potter." Normally a movie this long, 2 hours and 37 minutes, would have only one matinee and one evening show, even on weekends.

"It doesn't seem that long when you're sitting through it," said Kristi Assink. Assink, a bookkeeper at Gross Alaska Theaters, was one of the first people in Juneau to see "Harry Potter," on Thursday night. Theater staff screen every film before it opens to ensure there are no problems with the print.

Fans were not disappointed. Jamie Bremner, 11, has read all four books and thought the movie was good.

"They missed some parts," she said. "The book was longer and better."

Scott Gray, 13, liked the movie but found some parts were different than he had imagined. "The chess part was different than I pictured it, but it was good."

Ben Krall, 6, spent part of the movie peeking through his fingers at the screen, and occasionally closed his eyes at the scary parts of the film, rated PG. He said the villain, Voldemort, wasn't as scary as he expected.

"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was the first of four Harry Potter books. British author J.K. Rowling debuted the series in 1997 and has published a new book each year since. "The Order of The Phoenix," the fifth Harry Potter book, is slated for release in 2002. Rowling has said her plan is to write a total of seven in the series.

Two more films already are in development, scheduled for release in December of 2002 and 2003.

The new movie isn't the only spin-off from the books.

"We have quite a few Harry Potter things," said Enchari Rivabeneira at KB Toys. "There's a couple of games, puzzles and three or four (action) figures."

"We just put a display up in the window," said Amanda Pilley at Hearthside Books. "We have Christmas ornaments and the books."


Riley Woodford can be reached at rileyw@juneauempire.com.

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