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Harry Potter Madrid magic enchants mostly expats

No need for midnight openings but Americans abroad fill later shows

Indeed, the earlier showings of the movie on Friday were well attended, but tickets clerks said plenty of seats were available. It was also hard to spot excited fans outside of the theaters, except teenagers who had been dropped off by their parents for the largely teenager-targeted film.

However, as expected, more fans were lured into the cinema for late-night screenings, and several major Madrid theaters sold out, especially those showing the movie in its original English version.

Estefania Arias, 21, a student from St. Luis University who viewed the movie in English at Cine Ideal, said the theater was “filled with American students who are studying abroad.”

Robyn Varner, 22, from Boston University was one of them. “I’ve not missed a midnight “Harry Potter” premiere in a long time,” she said. “It is definitely more of an American thing. Although considering the time difference, I’m happy I still saw the movie at 9 a.m. Pacific time!”

Jessica Parr, 21, a student from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh who watched the movie in Cine Princesa in English, said the local audience wasn’t as enthusiastic about the film.

“I saw the first three [films] in Puerto Rico, the next two in London, and the 6th one in Scotland, but in Madrid, it’s not as crazy,” said Parr. “Only two people I saw dressed up and they were both Americans. I felt maybe the language barrier had something to do with it.”

Jose Carlos Vela, a Spanish cinema professor at Boston University in Madrid, offered a different reason for the film’s wider success in the U.K. and the U.S.

“You can say that the cultural models that ‘Harry Potter’ is set in are very Anglo-Saxon,” he said. “Hogwarts in a way is a typical British boarding school, identifiable with private schools in the U.K. and the U.S. And Harry’s physical appearance is also identifiable with middle-class, young British men. So perhaps it’s a matter of cultural models that produced this enthusiasm in the U.K. and the U.S.”