The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Movies

July 14, 2011

Heather Bremer: Magical franchise deserves respect

This may come as a surprise to regular readers of this column who are familiar with my interest in pop and geek culture: I am not a Harry Potter fan.

I have not completed a single book in J.K. Rowling’s acclaimed series. And until I happened to catch “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” on television Monday night, I hadn’t seen any of the films.

It’s not that I don’t like wizards or magic. I adore Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” series, about a wizard detective protecting the streets of Chicago from fae, demons, vampires and the like.  I also am fond of the Merlin mythology and rank “Practical Magic” among my favorite films.

I just never got into the series. Now, before I receive 100 emails telling me how much I’d enjoy it, let me say I did give it a chance. I read the first two chapters of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” but Ms. Rowling and I differ in our approach to sentence structure, making it very difficult to digest her prose. I had to stop there. (I don’t mean to single Rowling out. I have this problem with quite a few authors, including James Patterson.)

My experience with the novels quelled any desire to see the films. After all, a geek girl can’t be into everything or her head would explode.

So now you all know I’m not a fan. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the book series, the subsequent films or their fans.

“Harry Potter” opened the eyes of so many young people to the wonderful world of reading. They not only read but consumed the words within the series’ volumes of pages. And then clamored for more.

It always tickled me to see the long lines of fans waiting outside book stores for the next novel to arrive. And that there were so many eager parents lined up right next to their kids was a delight.

What writer or avid reader wouldn’t support something drawing so many into the world of words?

And you have to tip your hat to a film franchise that ranks as the most successful in history with $6 billion earned worldwide. The initial entry, “Sorcerer’s Stone,” still ranks as the top film in the franchise, having grossed $317 million and $974 million worldwide.

That, however, could be surpassed by the franchise’s final entry “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2,” which opened early today with 3,800 mostly sold-out midnight runs.

The film, which will expands today to a Harry Potter record 4,374 theaters in North America, sold more advance tickets than any movie in history, accumulating $32 million in revenue before it even hit the screen.

It’s also the franchise’s first title to feature 3-D and will play in 3,000 3-D locations, including a record 275 IMAX screens. That increases the film’s earning potential from giant to gargantuan. “Transformers” may have ruled the summer so far, but “Deathly Hallows, Part 2” will challenge for the title.

And, finally, how can you not love these fans? They dress up like Hogwarts students, draw lightning bolts on their foreheads and turn out in droves for book and film releases. As a comic book fan, I can appreciate their passion, for at least they are passionate about something.

May they all enjoy the final entry in the Harry Potter phenomenon. And pick up another book to fill the void.

------------------

Emmy nominations were announced early Thursday morning. Congrats to Margo Martindale, Walton Goggins, Jeremy Davies and Timothy Olphant for their nods for “Justified.” But where is the best drama nomination for the series? Unbelievable.

Read more about the nominations at heraldbulletin.com.

Contact Heather Bremer: 640-4867 or heather.bremer @heraldbulletin.com.

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