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Saturday, 11 May, 2002, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Potter DVD fever sweeps UK
Queues outside HMV, Oxford Street, London, for the new Harry Potter DVD which went on sale at midnight on Friday May 10 2002
Some stores opened at midnight to cope with demand
Harry Potter mania has returned to Britain's High Streets as the video and DVD of the little wizard's blockbuster movie goes on sale for the first time and breaks records.

Retailers are predicting Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone will notch up sales of more than one million on its first day, smashing the previous record held by Titanic.

Adults and children alike queued for hours to get their hands on the new release.

For a product with such a young market you would not expect people to come out at midnight, so it was a surprise

Gennaro Castaldo
There were strong indications of what was to come with pre-orders at WH Smith already greater than those for Titanic and online retailer with a record 36,000 pre-orders.

A WH Smith spokeswoman described the chaos in smaller stores were some shelves were already empty.

"Our Dorking store has reported that it has sold out of videos and other stores are saying that stocks are running low," she said.

"There were quite a lot of parents wanting to buy it as a surprise for their children."

HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said customers were buying the film on both DVD and video.

An estimated 250 people packed its flagship West End store in Oxford Street, which opened at midnight to sell the first copy.


"For a product with such a young market you would not expect people to come out at midnight, so it was a surprise," he said.

"I think that it is highly unlikely that it will sell out because retailers anticipated the demand - it was always bound to be a huge release."

The West End HMV was transformed for the event by special effects, wizards and witches and even an owl.

Toni Preece, 31, from Eltham, south east London, was the first person in Britain to purchase a video and DVD.

She received a presentation plaque after she queued for 15 hours.

31-year-old, Toni Preece (right), from Eltham, south east London is presented with a plaque, certifying her purchase of the very first copy in Britain of the new Harry Potter DVD
Stores were inundated with pre-orders
All of Tesco's 24-hour shops and 58 Asda superstores have come under Potter's spell.

Asda stores displayed a special Hogwart's Express cashdesk between checkouts nine and 10, a reference to platform nine-and-three-quarters at King's Cross station where the film's namesake, Harry, catches the train to Hogwart's School.

A spokeswoman said: "Sales of the video and DVD are exceeding those of Titanic, and they are selling quicker.

"A couple of stores had children queuing at checkouts at midnight and some had special sleep-over parties.

"At our Livingston store there was a drive-in movie showing of the film in the car park before it went on sale, so there has been a real sense of occasion."

See also:

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05 Nov 01 | Reviews
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Critics spellbound by Potter movie
03 May 02 | Reviews
Potter DVD weaves more magic
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