- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2001

Howard Katz, a 75-year-old dentist in Manhattan, N.Y., can't wait until mid-November. Neither can 11-year-old Anna Harris in Utah.
Years and miles apart, they share one thing: They are readers who are wild about Harry Potter and are eagerly awaiting the movie version of the boy wizard's first adventure.
"I want to go into the theater and see what they do with it," said Mr. Katz. "If they don't do it properly, they can kill it. It will be absolutely fabulous if they hew to the story line."
"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" premieres in London Sunday (the British title is "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone") and hits theaters Nov. 16. Based on the first of author J.K. Rowling's best-selling series, the movie follows the adventures of Harry, an orphan boy who is invited to become a student at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The movie directed by Chris Columbus and starring little-known Daniel Radcliffe as Harry faces giant expectations not only among the book's fans but also at the box office.
Paul Dergarabedian, president of the box-office tracking company Exhibitor Relations in Los Angeles, said "Sorcerer's Stone" could break opening-day and opening-weekend records.
"It's just a dream come true for kids," said Mr. Dergarabedian, who has seen the film and liked it. "It is one of the most anticipated films ever, and I think it will live up to that."
Since it is the first in a potential series, it is especially important to the filmmakers that the movie do well, Mr. Dergarabedian said. It is expected to usher in a strong end of the year for the industry, along with "Monsters, Inc." and "Lord of the Rings."
Warner Bros. gave no word on how many of the nation's 6,979 theaters would show Harry Potter; the record is held by "Mission: Impossible 2," which opened in May 2000 in 3,653 theaters.
In Logan, Utah, Anna and her 8-year-old brother, Ian, thought they had hit on the perfect way to see "Sorcerer's Stone" on opening day. After hearing that their uncles cut school to see "Star Wars" in 1977, they suggested to their mother that she take them out of school to see Harry.
"The matinee would be right when I have gym and lunch," Anna said, stressing that she wouldn't be missing any academic classes.
Mom wasn't swayed.
"We're not going to be skipping school for a movie," said Lynette Harris.
But she said, "We probably will have someone in line" for tickets to an evening show that day.
Lizzie Ruiz plans to invite friends to see the movie with her on her 10th birthday, Nov. 17, in Seguin, Texas, where she is a member of the St. James Catholic School's Harry Potter book club.
"I've been waiting for it all year," said the string-bean fourth-grader, her wide brown eyes magnified by glasses.
"They're saying it's going to be awesome. And my friend said it's going to be tight. They're starting to say that at school now. It means awesome."
She is looking forward to hearing the characters speak in British accents, instead of the Texas-tinted voices she has been hearing in her mind. And she is curious to see how the movie creates unicorns and multicolored blood though she doubts it could live up to her imagination.

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