FOR THE WEEK OF JULY 09, 2007
Get set for new Harry Potter adventures in print and on screen
"Galloping Gargoyles!" It’ll be hard not to cross paths with Harry these next few weeks – including in this paper. Wave a wand and turn students loose to see how many mentions they can spot in any issue.
Encourage young fans to share their excitement on a newspaper comment forum or reader message board by telling why they enjoy the Potter series and what they’ve learned from it. Speculation about which characters won’t survive also could be shared.
J.K. Rowling’s stories and the films they inspire hardly need news coverage to fire up interest. But most new books, movies and other entertainment offerings benefit from preview articles, interviews and reviews. Assign class members to flip through a lifestyle section weekend activity pages to select something that seems worthwhile – and tell why.
Magic-loving muggles the world over are primed for a double dose of wizardry. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and last book in J..K. Rowling’s spectacularly popular series, goes on sale July 21 – with a record-breaking 12 million copies printed in the U.S. And this Wednesday, theaters begin showing Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth film based on the best-selling series in literary history.
Fan mania about the new book has escalated since Rowling announced its title last December. Two bookstore chains, Borders and Barnes and Noble, began taking orders early this year and will start sales with midnight parties. After the British author disclosed that two characters die, feverish speculation filled online fan sites and spilled into the mass media. People magazine recently advised parents how to comfort distressed young readers.
The latest Potter film is likely to benefit from intense publicity about the new book, even though readers will learn how the Hogwarts saga ends. "Whatever happens to Harry Potter, I would not anticipate it hurting the movie or future movies in any way," says Alan Horn, president of Warner Bros. studio. Harry is played by Daniel Radcliffe, who started the series at age 11 and turns 18 next month. The first four movies have brought in $3.5 billion from theaters and sales of 167 million videos worldwide.
Rowling says: “I can completely understand the mentality of an author who thinks, ‘Well, I’m going to kill them off.’ Because that means there can be no non-author-written sequel.”
Parental guidance: “Don’t say ‘It’s just a book.’ . . . To a kid, Harry Potter is very real, so the kid’s feelings are going to be very real.” – Jennifer Wulff, People magazine writer
What’s next? J.K. Rowling comes to the U.S. in October for book-reading events in Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans. Films based on her final two tales hit screens in 2008 and 2010. A Harry Potter theme park is scheduled to open in late 2009 at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida.
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