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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 11, 2001

Harry Potter film tickets disappearing fast

By Anthony Breznican
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Tickets to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" already are vanishing a week before the movie debuts.

Although most box-office outlets decline to disclose totals, they said the tickets were selling faster than any other film this year. In London, theaters have already sold nearly 500,000 advance tickets.

Kim Holt, spokeswoman for Movietickets.com, said the Potter sales were already five times higher than the company's previous recordholder, "Pearl Harbor."

The $125 million movie, about a mistreated orphan who embarks on an adventure after learning he has magical powers, is set to open Friday. Theaters began selling advance opening-weekend tickets on Nov. 2.

All of the scheduled viewings are filling up fast, according to Rich King, spokesman for AMC Theatres, which has 2,792 screens in the United States.

"Most advance tickets are bought in pairs, and in this case every time somebody buys tickets it's four to five tickets. That tells us that a whole lot of families are planning to attend the first weekend together," King said.

Sales this early are unusual, he added.

"Most advance ticket sales usually peak two to three days before the show," he said. "It's never anything like this."

Fandango.com, another online ticket distributor, has been swamped with requests since announcing it has seats available. Fandango spokesman John Singh said "Harry Potter" had already sold far more advance tickets than either "The Mummy Returns" or "Pearl Harbor," but he would not discuss specific numbers.

Intertops, the Internet sports betting site, set 11-to-25 odds that "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" will break the $72.1 million three-day, opening-weekend box-office record set by "Jurassic Park: The Lost World" in 1997. It also set 1-to-2 odds that the film will break or tie the record for fastest to earn $100 million (five days, set by "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace" in 1999).

Although some fans for the "Star Wars" prequel began camping out on the sidewalk for days before it debuted, the increasing availability of advance ticket purchases online and over the telephone has made that unnecessary.

Few theater chains have reported any sidewalk squatters for "Harry Potter."

"Having the opportunity to buy tickets in the comfort of your own home is being very well received. We're having a great turnout, and fans know they're guaranteed a spot on opening day," said Jennifer Maguire Hanson, spokeswoman for National Amusements Inc., which owns 1,100 screens.