You become a legal adult when you turn 18, but for most Harry Potter fans, childhood didn’t end until last night, regardless of age. The crowd at the midnight showing of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2” wasn’t kids. Most fans were young when the first movie was released, and even though they grew up and might be considered too old for the movies, that didn’t stop them from going to the midnight showing for the last film.
After going to multiple midnight showings, I knew exactly what to expect at Washington’s Regal Cinemas Gallery Place: a long line waiting to get in (that started forming by early afternoon) and people dressed in wizard costumes. But last night was different. I’ve never been the person to get to the theater ridiculously early, so I didn’t arrive until about 10:30 p.m., and I expected to be standing at the back of a mile-long line. Instead, there was no line and no wait. I walked right in and was given a choice of which theater to go in. At this point, I assumed the rooms would all be packed, with few seating options left, but again I was wrong. The lower level section was practically empty and the higher level section had a few open seats still.
Many fans and critics have said this movie is one of the best of the series, and I agree. The producers and directors finally got it right. But I think the movie theaters deserve some recognition as well. They finally made the midnight showing run smoothly. They finally got it right. They let people in early, which avoided huge crowds, had plenty of staff working the concession stand and screened the movie in multiple theaters. It took eight movies, but everything was done well.
Another surprise was the lack of costumes at the theater. Of course some people had wands and hats, but usually there are fully dressed wizards walking among the muggles and lightning bolts on almost every forehead. But like I said, we grew up. I think some of the fans, now in their 20s, decided dressing up wasn’t necessary. Simply wearing a hat and bringing the wand along would work just fine.
The man sitting behind me in the theater was talking about his job and going to work Friday. We used to see these movies during summer vacation or Thanksgiving break when staying up until 3 a.m. wasn’t a problem because we had the next day to sleep. But now we have full-time jobs. The man joked about calling in sick because of the lack of sleep, but quickly accepted he was just going to have to deal with it.
And that’s what many people did. They went to the midnight showing of the final movie, watched their childhood end, slept for a few hours and grabbed a large cup of coffee and went to work like adults.