November 2001
HARRY POTTER AND THE SCREENS OF POWER :

An editorial By Scott D. Southard

HARRY POTTER AND THE SCREENS OF POWER

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone grossed $93.5 million in its opening weekend and appeared on 8,200 screens.

      8,200 screens!
      My God!
      Can you fathom it?

No, seriously, sit down and try to contemplate how many screens that is. Take like your favorite movieplex with it’s typical ten or so screens and times it by 820. Granted, this math may not work for everyone (I’ve never been very good at math), but even to the typical movie-going layman it’s mind-boggling.

Ok, ok, “Harry Potter” opening on that many screens is all based on a strong desire of greed. Let’s not kid ourselves, that is the fact beyond it. But between you and me, I don’t care.

Why?

Because I want “Harry Potter” to kick “Titanic’s” sorry ass!

Yes, “Titanic” - that weak romantic film with an even weaker script. I want “Harry Potter” to stomp on it. It is, in my opinion, the Lord Voldemort of films. Large, impeding, hard to forget, and even harder to kill, Harry’s nemesis is equal to “Titanic” for the film buff. “Titanic,” the movie that stole the Oscars (In my opinion, the academy was scared of getting burned to the ground by mad 13 year-old girls…Oh yeah, you may think I’m joking, but try criticizing N*Sync to one and you’ll see the wrath that the academy was scared of) needs to go down.

Even though I may sound cynical (Like a typical writer for Entertainment Weekly), I do truly wish “Harry Potter” and the Sorcerer’s Stone all the success and attention for three very important reasons.

  1. It is a great story- First; special effects feature- Second.

    Maybe this will give Executives pause before making another “Tomb Raider.” Without a good story (No matter who is directing it and who is in the cast), the film will be an artistic bomb. Story is the most important thing and “Harry Potter” truly proves that.

  2. They have respect for the author.

    How often do you hear of writers being treated fairly in Hollywood? Truly, this is a first. Rowling helped choose the cast, okayed the script, and even was a consultant throughout the production…. And, speaking for all writers, it is about time a writer of a novel got that kind of power. If the story starts with the writer, why would you kick them out of the picture? And yet, it is a common practice. So many great possibilities have been lost because of losing the writer, maybe this will change things… Well, one can only hope.

  3. It’s a great film.

    No question, this film is up there with every child’s classic. Seeing this film for the first time was like walking into Wonka’s chocolate factory or grabbing Dorothy’s hand before skipping down that yellow brick road for the first time… But this film was more than for the children. The only thing I can think of to compare it to is the first “Star Wars.” Like the classic “Star Wars,” it was a story with universal appeal and heroes everyone can cheer for.

No matter what any critic may say, the world needs this film right now and I truly don’t laugh at it being on this many screens.

We need “Harry Potter.”

Especially the children.

After the horror of September 11th, we need this form of pure escapism. And it’s hard, when walking out of the theater, not to look at life a little brighter and feel that truly there is still magic in living.