Midnight shows of Potter’s ‘Prince’ sell out

Fans of Harry Potter lined up at theaters all over the world early Wednesday, pushing the new film about the boy wizard to near-record ticket sales.

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” — the sixth movie in the series based on J.K. Rowling’s seven Harry Potter books — had more than 2,700 sold-out screenings, according to MovieTickets.com. The film had more than 1,500 midnight screening sellouts in the United States and finished as the No. 2 all-time movie for advance ticket sales at MovieTickets.com. The film finished just behind “Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” in advanced sales. The new movie reflects the growth of the characters: Harry, the orphaned boy wizard who has been forced to take on responsibilities beyond his years; Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint), his best friend, who is finding depths of courage he wasn’t aware of; Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), the bookish and indispensable member of their clan, who has demonstrated key leadership qualities; and all the rest, preparing for the showdown with the arch villain Voldemort. Potter 101: A guide to Harry Potter » Among the returning performers: Michael Gambon as Dumbledore, Alan Rickman as Snape, Maggie Smith as McGonagall, Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort. One addition is Jim Broadbent, who plays Horace Slughorn, a former professor brought back to Hogwarts.

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Despite the growing darkness, there’s also a lightness to the new film, said Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry. Unlike the previous two movies in the series, which were rated PG-13, this one is rated a more family-friendly PG. “I think this film’s funnier,” Radcliffe said. “There are a couple of moments which I laughed out loud at.”