November 17, 2021
November marks the 20th anniversary of the theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
The book series by J. K. Rowling has captivated audiences around the world since the first Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was released in June 1997. (Philosopher's Stone is the original British title.) To this day, the series, which has been a mind-blowing commercial success resulting in an epic franchise, continues to enchant.
I have fond memories of my first leap into the Harry Potter universe. At the time of the movie’s release, I was running a five-screen cinema in my hometown of Great Yarmouth in the U.K. Harry Potter fans were in a frenzy, counting down the days. I’d been introduced to the book six months prior and only checked it out because people were calling the cinema already asking if they could book tickets!
My seaside hometown comes alive during the summer but is quite a sleepy place in the winter. Well, not that November! At the debut showing, the theater was full, not a single seat empty, with families willing to sit separately to ensure they got to watch it that first day—something completely unheard of at the time!
With over 140 people in the main theatre, the lights dimmed, and the audience fell into awed silence at the first strains of John Williams’ famous score. Many movies fall into obscurity these days, but not Harry Potter. I expect we’ll be celebrating all over again in another 20 years.
Check out more items from the Harry Potter universe here.
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