It's official: Tickets for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 2 are already being sold on Craigslist and at least one local cinema is offering a special package deal.
The debut of the final installment of the epic saga is a week away, but fans haven't gobbled up all the seats at theaters in the Chicago area as enthusiasm is expected to grow.
Some people are looking to cash in on the desire of series devotees and others to be among the first to see the movie.
One Chicago Craigslist posting features a picture of a printed ticket from Fandango.com and asks potential buyers to "Send me your offer!"
Skokie Patch sent an e-mail to the poster and asked about the price for a ticket.
"I figured like $20 each thanks," the seller replied via Blackberry.
Compared to the average $9 ticket, that's more than a 100 percent markup.
In Skokie, both Old Orchard Regal Gardens and Kerasotes Theater in Village Crossing report already having at least one sold-out showtime. Next week with the new release, both theaters are showing the prior Harry Potter movie at 9 p.m., then followingthat with a midnight screening of the latest—and final—installment as a $20 package.
"Last year, we had Potter fans camping out six hours before the showing," said an employee at the Old Orchard's AMC theater. "There was a group of them and they were reading Harry Potter books.
"It wouldn't surprise me if people got decked out in Harry Potter gear before the movie," the employee added.
The saga of Harry Potter and Hogwarts has been a story that seems to always carry a magic pot of gold for each of the seven earlier movies. Warner Bros. has grossed more than $6.4 billion through box office ticket, DVD and merchandise sales since the first installment's release in 2001.
Its British creator, J.K. Rowling, has also earned the title of the first billionaire author from her seven-book series. More than 400 million copies of her novels have been sold worldwide.
The latest movie premiered Thursday in London, where thousands of fans from around the world massed for the red carpet showing.
Interest is high closer to home, too.
"I know that interest in Harry Potter is going to pick up as we draw near the movie release," said Mary Michelle, youth services librarian at the Skokie Public Library. "It's not the flavor of the month. A lot of kids have already read the book and moved on."
The movie is set for release on July 15, with many theaters offering midnight screenings for early bird ticket holders.
As of 12:00 p.m. July 7, the following shows are still available on July 15 for Harry Potter and The Deathly Hollows: Part 2.
Kerasotes Theater in the Village Crossing:
- Regular Screening ($9): 12:01 a.m., 12:01 a.m. and 3 a.m.
- 3-D ($14): 12:01 a.m., 3 a.m.
- IMAX ($16): 12:01 a.m., 3 a.m.
Westfield Old Orchard AMC Cineplex:
- Regular Screening ($9): 12:01 a.m., 12:01 a.m. and 12:01 a.m.
- (Staff noted that a fourth screening is likely to be added.)