Potter-mania hits Steamboat

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— Chris Booth thought he learned a lesson from last year.

When the first Harry Potter movie came to Steamboat Springs in November at the Chief Plaza Theater, Booth and his sons, Ben and Noah, attended opening night to find a line that extended down Lincoln Avenue and a sold out show.

The second time around, instead of fighting off the opening crowd to see the sequel "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", Booth chose the Sunday matinee.

But the demand did not dwindle on Sunday as the noon show sold out just before Booth bought tickets.

It marked the seventh time the sequel sold out since it arrived at the Chief Plaza Theater Friday.

Booth said the second movie did not appear to come with the fanfare of the first, but it was a point missed by his sons, who spent Friday night watching the first movie, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"

"They are just as excited," he said.

The two were not the only ones excited about the sequel.

Chief Plaza Theater manager Matt Naesetch said when he unlocked the door for Friday's 6:30 p.m. showing, more than 200 people were in line.

Nationwide the film grossed an estimated $87.7 million in the first three days of release, which is the third-best opening of all time.

The first Harry Potter movie had the second-best opening, netting $90.3 million in the first three days.

But from what moviegoers have said, Naesetch thinks the second movie will run for a longer time.

"Better special effects, a better story is what I hear from most people," Naesetch said.

The movie release is the latest in Harry Potter mania, which has been spurred by J.K. Rowling's four novels about the young wizard and the challenges his faces at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Most of the youngsters and many of the adults standing in line Sunday afternoon had read or listened to the second Harry Potter book.

The readers were curious to see the animated version of the book's flying car and burning phoenix.

"We listened to all the books on tape," Carolyn Stamps said.

The second movie kept the same actors as the first, and introduced a few more.

But Stamps noted with regret that this would be the last movie to have Richard Harris as Headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Harris died after the movie was filmed.

"We loved him in that part," Stamps said. "We can't imagine the movie without him."

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