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Friday, 16 November, 2001, 12:58 GMT
Potter fans fly in for film
Odeon queue
There were still tickets for the 1000 GMT screening
By BBC News Online's Alex Webb.

There was a bit of magic in the air of a cold, grey London morning as Harry Potter fans queued up to see the film's first public screening in the UK.

Some of the film-goers had come a long way to see the boy wizard in his home country.

Eight-year old Joy Cole had come all the way from Houston, Texas, and her mother admitted that Harry Potter was "the main reason".

Potter film-goers
Joy Cole (L) will not be getting Harry Potter specs
But despite Harry Potter mania, there were still tickets available for the 1000 GMT showing in Leicester Square, and film-goers who turned up on the off-chance of seeing Harry were all able to get in.

Odeon general Manager Chris Hilton was not worried - he told BBC News Online: "We're not full for this show, but we'll certainly be full as the day goes on."

Joy Cole was clearly a Potter die-hard: "I've read all of the books - and the trailer was good," she told BBC News Online.

But she said she would not be going as far as replacing her spectacles with Harry Potter-style frames.

'Cool'

Two school-age girls in the queue said they were most looking forward to the film's special effects.

"I saw one of the trailers - I saw the moving staircase and it looks really cool," said one, who claimed - like most people in the queue - to have read all four Potter books.

But she admitted to a slight concern about how the movie would match the images in her mind.

Odeon
The Odeon is already sold-out for later shows
"I make up the characters in my head and I know what they look like to me, and they always look different in the film - so it'll be different, but I think this is going to be really good."

As if anticipating an awkward suggestion, one said: "We don't have school today."

Another mother and daughter told BBC News Online, "We came all the way out here from Boston to see it in London on the first day."

And Australian Lisa Norman had travelled over from Paris for the same reason.

"There's a big group of people I work within Paris who are all waiting to know about it, as I'm the first one to see it," she said.

"I've no idea what to expect - but I've heard it's fabulous, my mum and dad have seen it already and I've been waiting to see it.

Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe as Harry: "Great" casting
Ms Norman approved of the film's casting - "they look great" - but added: "It's possible the film won't live up to the books - the books were so good."

Her concern was echoed by a Londoner who had come along on his day off: "The characters look right, but it's going to be tough to keep up with the books - the books are so good."

'Money-making'

Another "dedicated" adult Potter fan had come from south London.

She reported some concern about the film among Potter die-hards: "Some of my 12-year old friends have refused to come and see this movie, because they see it as a big money-making machine."

Odeon manager Chris Hilton will be hoping it is.

"Interest has been fantastic - it compares very much with the Star Wars epics," he told BBC News Online.

"That's where it sits, but it'll probably take more money - it'll be interesting to see."

Mr Hilton was not concerned about spare seats for the first screening: "Five o'clock is a full house, eight is sold out - and the weekend shows are sold out."

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