Published 12:00 am Friday, July 15, 2011

By Hugh Fisher
SALISBURY — While many were sleeping last night, others were taking their final journey to a world of wizards and wonder.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” — the last installment in the series — officially opens today.
Cinemas across the nation, including Salisbury’s Tinseltown theater, showed the movie at 12:01 a.m.
When the doors opened at 11 a.m. Thursday, Kalysha Clark of Lexington was first in line.
She brought a lawn chair, snacks, her phone and purse … and a bunch of Potter memorabilia.
“Here’s my wand,” she said, holding it out, “and here’s my Golden Snitch.”
The latter is the flying golden sphere that wins the game in Quidditch, a wizard sport in the “Harry Potter” series of books and movies.
If you’re already confused, don’t worry.
Most of the people lined up at Tinseltown started young.
Clark, 18, has grown up with the tales of the young wizard and his fight against the evil “Death Eaters” led by the dark wizard Voldemort.
“My grandma started reading me the novels,” Clark said.
Amy Scoggin wrote to her boyfriend as she waited in line for the movies.
“He’s in basic training,”she said, and jealous of her being able to go.
Scoggin said she was 11 — the same age as the actors — when “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” premiered in 2001.
Scoggin said the stories by J.K. Rowling were part of her generation’s childhood.
“I remember going to the library and checking them out,” Scoggin said.
“As we grew up with the books and the movies, the books and the movies grew up, too.”
The final novel was broken into two films.
Tinseltown and other theaters offered a double feature Thursday, with part 1 on the screen at 9 p.m. and part 2 beginning at midnight.
Tinseltown started selling tickets to the late-night showings days in advance, assistant manager Sherry Dunlap said.
Part 2 of “Deathly Hallows” was set to play on five screens.
All of the shows were sold out, she said.
“This is one of the biggest movies of the summer,” Dunlap said.
And though she said she wasn’t a Potter fan herself, Dunlap said she knew the fans were excited.
Midnight shows at other area theaters also sold out.
Vince Hill, manager of Carolina Mall Cinemas in Concord, said his theater was showing “Harry Potter” on four screens, two regular and two in 3-D.
As of Thursday afternoon, his screenings hadn’t sold out yet, but he fully expected them to by midnight.
Hill has seen the celebrations that go on at premieres of previous films in the series.
“Most of these times, people will come in all their Harry Potter glory,” Hill said. “All the costumes, the wands, the little lightning bolts on top of their foreheads.”
Just like the lightning-bolt scar on Harry Potter’s forehead.
The AMC Concord Mills 24 at Concord Mills Mall advertised a range of late-night showings.
In addition to multiple screens showing the movie in 2-D and 3-D, the theater’s website listed IMAX 3-D showings at 12:01 a.m. and 3:05 a.m.
Theater managers at AMC Concord Mills 24 were not allowed to comment, citing corporate policy.
While the big cinemas got ready to pack ’em in, a more family-friendly showing time awaits at the Gem Theatre in Kannapolis this morning.
Owner Steve Morris said “Harry Potter” would open at the Gem at 10:30 a.m. today.
“Typically, our clientele tends to be more families with groups of children.”
And Morris said he didn’t want to ask his staff to stay out very late at night only to return early the next day.
Morris does expect crowds to be as big, and as excited, as those at the midnight shows.
“I think the fact that this is the final episode has increased the interest level quite a bit. We’re looking forward to it,” he said.
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor at 704-797-4244.