McGinnis: Local theaters prepare for early showings of ‘Deathly Hallows’Written by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
This week sees the beginning of the end for Harry Potter. But for local movie theaters, the battle has only begun.
When “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1” opens with special midnight screenings on Thursday, Nov. 18, screens all across the Northwest Ohio area will show the adventures of Harry and his friends. How many screens exactly is impossible to know, however.
“We’re looking for at least five, and maybe even to sell out the entire building, but history here shows three, probably,” said Richard Spriggs, general manager of Rave Levis Commons 12 in Perrysburg.
It is a possibility that Levis Commons 12 will end up being “Harry Potter 12” on Thursday night. The recent changeover to digital projection makes it possible for the movie to be shown on every screen in the theater simultaneously. Woodland Mall Cinema 5 in Perrysburg also upgraded to digital in September.
“Before that, when we had 35mm projectors, if we wanted to run ‘Harry Potter’ in more than one auditorium, we needed multiple prints,” said Dan Esper, senior assistant manager for Woodland Mall Cinema 5. “If we wanted to run it in three auditoriums, we would need three 35mm prints to achieve that. But with the digital projection, we have movies on our hard drives, and we can play it on every single one of the projectors off of the one copy that we get in.”
It’s a good thing that Woodland Mall upgraded, too. “This Thursday, the midnight rounds for the ‘Harry Potter’ movie are actually gonna be the busiest rounds we’ve had for a movie ever here at the theater,” Esper said. “We are showing the movie on all five screens, and all five are sold-out; there’s gonna be about 900 people here for it.”
Rave Motion Pictures will debut its new large-screen entertainment Rave REVUE at its midnight showings of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1.” The large-screen theater will debut at two locations this year, one in Texas and the other at Fallen Timbers 14 in Maumee. The screen reaches from floor to ceiling and will feature digital projection and 3-D capabilities.
For those looking to see “Deathly Hallows” on good old-fashioned 35mm film, the Fox Theater at Woodville Mall in Northwood will show the movie in that format, and will also offer a midnight screening on Nov. 18.
“It has its ups and its downs. We don’t show movies in 3-D, so that’s another thing that’s kind of a downer for us. When people come in, they want to see it in 3-D,” said Sara Thomas, manager of the Fox Theater.
3-D will not be a problem for Thomas, however, as after initially stating it would be released in the format, Warner Bros. recently announced that the first part of “Deathly Hallows” would only be available in 2-D. Spriggs of Levis Commons doesn’t see that being an issue for “Potter” in the long run.
“I think it’ll be busier, because you don’t have that 3-D price increase,” he said.
“With ‘Harry Potter,’ unless there’s gonna be all these crazy flying effects — maybe ‘Harry Potter 1’ coulda been in 3D, because they had the Quidditch match and all that stuff flying around — I’m personally happy that they switched back to 2-D, because ‘Harry Potter’ in the past that I’ve seen hasn’t been too in-your-face stuff, it’s been more storytelling.”
Die-hard fans of the series, who have followed the adventures of Harry and company on film for almost a decade, probably won’t care too much what format it’s in. And the true Potter fanatics will be out in droves on Thursday, many in full costume as their favorite characters.
“Fanatics are the best — the best — crowd you can ever have,” Spriggs said. “They’re very patient — obviously, if they want to wait in long lines. They don’t mind moving into other theaters if there’s an issue, as long as you keep their groups together. They’re crazy, as far as costumes — it’s very entertaining.”
“People are generally very enthusiastic for midnight showings,” said Esper of Woodland Mall Cinema. “They clap as the movie is about to start, are vocal during the movie — in a fun way, not in an interruptive way.
“It’s extremely exciting to see a round like that, where we’re gonna be operating at maximum occupancy, which is something I’ve never seen here. I’m very excited to see how it’s all gonna go down.”
Jeff McGinnis works at Levis Commons 12 and will be working at midnight on Nov. 18. E-mail Jeff at PopGoes Jeff@gmail.com.