BANGOR, Maine — Two sets of brothers and sisters from Bangor and a friend took their spots early Tuesday night at the front of the line of those waiting to see the midnight premiere of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”
The group arrived at Bangor Mall Cinema 10 at 8 p.m.
“We’re die-hards,” Ashley Piscionere, 21, said.
The group would have been six people strong, but Piscionere’s mom, Anne Marie Shaw, had to work until 10 p.m. and arrived later.
Scores of people from all over the region, some dressed as their favorite “Harry Potter” characters, began lining up early Tuesday at the Bangor theater as well as at Spotlight Cinemas in Orono for the midnight showings.
The “Harry Potter” book and film series, created by British author J.K. Rowling, is about a young wizard and his adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
“The Half-Blood Prince” finds Harry returning for his sixth year at the wizard school and tells the story of his discovery of a mysterious schoolbook with the words “This book is the property of the Half-Blood Prince” written inside.
The movie is based on the sixth book in Rowling’s seven-book Potter series.
Shaw said she is a single mother of four and began reading the books to her children when her oldest daughter — Piscionere — was just 10.
“We’ve become a family of Harry Potter freaks,” she said.
At the show with her and her daughter was her son Zack Frost, 16, and friends Alison Lawler, 21, and her brother Brandon Gardner, 19, and family friend Majel Lanham, 19.
“I saw the sign [for presale tickets] and said, ‘We have to stop,” Lawler said.
Both the Bangor and Orono theaters sold out four theaters each. In Bangor, where the individual theaters were named in honor of Hogwarts’ four houses — Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff — more than 800 tickets were presold, and in Orono the number exceeded 500.
“We started selling a week and a half ago and we sold out sometime yesterday,” Hailey Tash, cashier at Bangor Mall Cinema 10, said Tuesday afternoon.
Kelly Gilks, market manager for Spotlight, said more than 500 tickets were presold to the cinema’s four 12:05 a.m. shows.
“We sold out the very first thing this morning after adding an additional theater,” she said Tuesday afternoon.
Management of the Orono theater considered adding another theater, but stopped at four to ensure it wasn’t too crowded, Gilks said.
Sue Bragdon, general manager of the Bangor theater, made “treacle treats” for the premiere and the theater also gave away “butterbeer” smoothies. Both treats are mentioned in the Potter series.
“It’s amazing because people are willing to come out at midnight to celebrate the movies they love,” she said.
The first movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” was released in 2001 and the popularity of the books and movies has grown ever since.
One of Bragdon’s employees, Jeff Kleinschmidt, wore a T-shirt he made Tuesday morning with an iron-on photo from the movie on the front and the handwritten words, “Dumbledore is my co-pilot,” on the back.
“Harry Potter” posters, T-shirts, and other memorabilia were given away at the Bangor theater to those who dressed the part.
Around the same number of people filled the Bangor theater during the July 2007 midnight showing of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” projectionist Mike McLaughlin said. “But more people dressed up.”
The seventh book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” is the last in the series, and is being released as a movie in two parts, with the first scheduled to be in theaters Nov. 19, 2010, and second part on July 15, 2011.
“I think it’s great” the final book will be split into two movies, said Jessica Tracy, 17, of Bangor. “That way they will have no excuse for leaving anything out.”