Final 'Harry Potter' Movie To Screen a Day Early in Harvard Square Theater

Through a program, the movie will play hours before its nationwide release

Martin C. Ye

The final installment of the Harry Potter movies will be screened in Harvard Square a day early, giving more than 1,600 Harvard employees and students the chance to see the much-awaited movie before its release in the United States.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” scheduled to be released to the American public at midnight Friday morning, will be screened seven times in Harvard Square on Thursday evening as a result of an arrangement between AMC Theatres, Warner Bros., and a division of Harvard Human Resources called Outings and Innings.

Devorah S. Sperling, manager of Outings and Innings, has been organizing the Harry Potter pre-screenings since the release of the first movie “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in 2001. This week’s screening will be the biggest one yet: Harvard booked four of the five auditoriums in the AMC Loews Harvard Square 5 theater on Church Street for a total of seven screenings in 2-D and 3-D.

The tickets went on sale on June 3 for $12 for the 2-D screenings and $15 for the 3-D screenings, but they didn’t last long. By June 9, all 1,658 tickets were sold out, Sperling said.

A franchise that has cast a spell on the lives of this generation of college students since elementary school, Harry Potter has expanded from just a book series to a widely popular phenomenon, encompassing films, merchandise, and even a theme park. Bookstores regularly held midnight parties for the releases of each new installement, and Harry Potter movies consistently grossed eight or nine figures in their opening weekends.

Among those who got pre-release tickets were students enrolled in summer programs at Harvard. Three summer research programs—BLISS, PRIMO, and PRISE—purchased 189 tickets. Harvard Summer School bought 160 tickets, and the Crimson Summer Academy got 110.

Christian L. Garland ’10-’11, director of student activies for Harvard Summer School, said he had underestimated how many students would actually be interested in purchasing the tickets. The program sold 80 tickets for the 2-D showing at $16 and another 80 tickets for the 3-D version at $21.

The tickets, which went on sale at the Summer School’s activities office on June 29 at 9 a.m., were gone by around 11 a.m., Garland said.

Crimson Summer Academy, a program for high-achieving students from low-income families, will be taking their students as one big group free of charge, said Maxine Rodburg, the director of the Academy.

The tickets were also made available to the fellows and student staff of BLISS, PRIMO, and PRISE free of charge, according to Gregory A. Llacer, director of the Office for Undergraduate Research Initiatives.

“It’s a big community hit,” Sperling said.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” has a staggered release worldwide. By this Thursday when the early screening takes place in Harvard Square, the film will have been released in more than 30 countries.

—Staff writer Xi Yu can be reached at xyu@college.harvard.edu.

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