FOR THE WEEK OF JULY 18, 2011
Harry Potter fans jam theaters for lavishly praised 'Deathly Hallows, Part 2'
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Harry Potter latest wizardry is a record-breaking opening day at theaters, thanks to fans eager to see his final battle with the Lord Voldemort. The eighth film in an epic series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, sold more than $92 million in U.S. tickets last Friday -- including $43 million at sold-out midnight screenings that attracted costumed loyalists.
Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson now are back as Harry and Hermione Granger in the second film based on a 2007 book. Many professional reviewers say it's the best of the series, with some suggesting it has a shot at a best picture Oscar. "Deathly Hallows Part 2 sends Harry off into the pop culture pantheon on a thrilling high note," Tom Long writes in The Detroit News.
Author J.K. Rowling's seven HP novels, which have sold more than 450 million copies since the first came out in 1997, led to the most lucrative movie series in Hollywood history. "Thank you, Harry!" says the current cover of Entertainment Weekly, a double issue on Pottermania. Spinoffs include a Universal Studios theme park in Orlando and video games, with a new title -- Battle of Hogwarts -- coming this month from Electronic Arts. And Rowlings announced recently that e-books of her fantasy series will become available this summer through her own site, Pottermore.com.
Fan says: "After being a part of something for so long, it's weird to be saying goodbye to it." -- Andrew Bates, Atlanta
Studio says: "It's mind-boggling, to be honest with you. This is writing history every day." -- Dan Fellman, Warner Brothers president of domestic distribution
Author says: "E-books are here and here to stay. It's miraculous for travel and for children in particular. I feel great about taking Harry into this new medium." -- J.K. Rowling in promotional video
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