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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, November 13, 2001

'Potter' film raises little local ballyhoo

 •  Fans all ages identify with lives of Potter characters
 •  Hip, hip, Harry!
 •  Not everyone cares for series

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Clearly, this is the work of a very powerful wizard.

Young Wizard pals Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), left, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) take on adventures together.

Warner Bros.

How else to explain the curious lack of activity surrounding the upcoming Hawai'i premiere of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"?

Managers at Hawai'i's three theater chains — Consolidated, Wallace and Signature — say they have no plans for special events or promotions to usher in the much-anticipated film.

"I haven't heard about anything special," said Roll Villaver, a sales manager for Consolidated. "Right now, we don't have anything planned."

Among the major bookstores, only Borders Books Music and Cafe has a Harry-related event on the calendar: Harry Potter look-alike and trivia contests on Dec. 1 (11 a.m. at the Honolulu location, 2 p.m. in Waipahu).

But don't believe the non-hype. Theater owners in Hawai'i and around the country are eagerly awaiting the film that some analysts predict will eclipse "Titanic" in total earnings.

If anything, the lack of promotional activity locally may simply underscore the perceived strength of the product.

Villaver says Warner Bros., which obtained the marketing and merchandising rights from creator J.K. Rowling in 1998, has been encouraging a low-key approach to theater promotions.

Any promotional activity by Consolidated would need to be cleared with Warner via Consolidated's head office in California, Villaver said.

"Warner is going with limited promotions for the film," he said. "There's the feeling that everybody else is hyping the movie for them already. Everyone is excited about seeing this, they don't need to hype it any more."

Les Honda, area marketing manager for Borders, said he has noticed a recent increase in sales of the four Potter books. But, he said, "the interest has always been there. It's always been pretty high."

Jared Shimamoto, a manager at Barnes and Noble Booksellers, said his store has between 150 to 200 copies of each of the four books in stock. (The first three are available in paperback.) "There's definitely been a pickup in sales with the movie coming out," he says. "I think people may be trying to catch up with some of the older books."

Pat Banning, managing partner of Bookends in Kailua, said she, too, has no plans for any pre-Potter productions. That doesn't mean she and her customers aren't anxious to see the movie. "We're extremely curious and very excited," she said.