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Germans go Potty over Harry

Love him or hate him, it is very difficult not to notice that the Harry Potter film is making its debut in Germany on Thursday. German cinema goers eagerly anticipate the witching hour.

With just under a day to go before the launch of the blockbuster movie, Germany has been entranced by Joanne Rowling's creation, Harry Potter. The entire country is seemingly waiting with baited breath for his debut on the big screen.

Love him or hate him, it is difficult to avoid the hype and hoopla surrounding the launch. Posters are everywhere. It is even hard to go shopping without coming across merchandise that isn't in some way related to the young magician and his circle of friends.

The producers of the film made certain that they got the translation into German completed on time. Earlier this year, a group of German Harry Potter enthusiasts started illegally translating a novel and posting it onto the internet. Their operation was soon shutdown after they were slapped with legal action by the publishers for violating copyright.

However, not everyone is as taken with the story, saying that it dabbles in the occult. Benno Zierer, a representative for the Christian Social Union in the Bundestag, maintains that children under the age of six should not be entitled to watch this film because it is too closely aligned with the occult.

This statement left his colleague Ingrid Fischbach seemingly irate after she criticised him for his short-sightedness. Cinemas and Warner Bros merely smile as they make preparations for record-breaking, sell-out shows, quietly thanking Mr Zierer for the extra publicity.

German cinema chains have developed never-before seen viewing schedules, certain to create a stir among their fans too. Some movie houses plan their first viewing for example, at exactly one minute past midnight, the witching hour.

Others, like the Cinemax chain have made in excess of 200 thousand reservations for eager German aficionados. The Ufa chain will open its doors at five in the morning, which is just enough time to get the popcorn, watch the film and get caught up in the magic before the school bell goes.

Warner Bros has circulated 1000 copies of the movie to German film houses. A far cry from the normal 400 which they usually circulate for Hollywood blockbusters. Industry experts reckon that approximately ten million Germans will besiege cinemas across the country when the film makes it debut on Thursday.

There are no illusions as to how well the film is expected to do in Germany. The film is set to outperform some the all time, modern day greats like Titanic. Even the film debut of J.R.R Tolkien's Lord of the Rings has been overshadowed by the little magician and his antics. A recent poll states that the German cinema goers would prefer to watch the Potter movie over Lord of Rings. Good going Harry.

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