My brother won a contest on Facebook to bring himself and a guest to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 NYC Premiere in Lincoln Center on July 11th. He was nice enough to bring me. We hung out right next to the red carpet and then saw the movie at the AMC theaters up the block.
Read on for details and some point and shoot, spot the celebrity photos.
One of the reasons I’m writing all this up is so future red carpet attendees can know what to expect, because the contest details were vague. Burning question number one? What should you wear! We wore suits, which put us as some of the most dressed up males there, but it didn’t seem to matter either way. Some people had on jeans and a t-shirt while others were wearing dresses; everyone was treated the same. The contest details mentioned that we were to participate in “red carpet festivities” from 3:30 to 5:00 pm, and if by festivities they meant waiting in lines, then yes, much festivity was had. We found out when we got there that celebrities were only to start arriving at 5:00 pm, so we got in the promo check in line at 4:00 pm. After 45 minutes we reached the check in table (lots of people waited only to find out they were in the wrong line), ticked my brother’s name off on the list of winners, and received silver wristbands.
Apparently there were various lines and wristband colors for various contest winners. We seemed to have had one of the better deals because our location next to the red carpet was relatively empty, we were guaranteed such a spot, and we were to be admitted to watch the movie later that night. There was a large group of people across the road who had not won a contest and had camped out for upwards of a week to watch from afar. Out of maybe 500 of them, twenty from the front were selected to border the red carpet. The carpet was laid out in such a way that major networks and photographers were toward the front near the road, followed by our group of silver wristbands across from the professional bloggers, and then fans lined the end of the carpet nearest to the theater entrance.
After getting situated, we waited for another half hour for celebrities to arrive while a team of people were busy vacuuming the carpet and camera crews took shots of fans screaming in joy. The first people to arrive at 5:00 were random celebrities, most of whom I wasn’t familiar with. Many of the early (on time) arrivals were nice enough to leisurely talk and take pictures with fans. An emcee came on to introduce director David Yates followed by producer David Heyman, and each talked for thirty seconds about their gratitude to the audience. Rupert Grint, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis, Alan Rickman, Emma Watson, and Daniel Radcliffe arrived in that order, each separated by about ten minutes. Grint and Felton both showed up pretty early and seemed down to earth with the fans. Yates didn’t talk to any of the public, but he took on every interview while meandering down the carpet. Radcliff had three body guards and spent little time with the bloggers or fans while Watson was late and apologetic while quickly signing autographs. Lewis and Rickman also spent almost no time with fans. Everyone had disappeared into the theatre for their 6:30 premiere, except for Watson who stayed out a bit later to sign autographs.
The “red carpet festitivies” came to a rather abrupt end and my brother and I left quickly to ensure a good spot in the line for the fan movie premiere at 8:00 pm. At around 7:30 we entered the AMC theatre, put on our alotted 3D Harry Potter-style glasses, sat down (right in the center!), and took off our 3D glasses because it was dark. People around us were literally buzzing – and some other annoying noises – with excitement. Before the movie began at 8:00, our benefactors said a few words and we thanked them for organizing the contest. We were also told that any use of electronic equipment would result in removal from the theatre by two gentlemen who were to watch the audience at all times.
The film itself was exciting and a great end to the Harry Potter series; definitely one of the best of the eight. It follows the book rather diligently, although sacrifices a lot of the more minor details for longer action sequences, which I found unsatisfying. The movie sets a very dramatic tone; there are many moments that had the (uber)fans in the theater crying or cheering. The 3D was unnecessary and seemed to make the movie overly dark, even at this flagship showing, but I plan on watching again in 2D. (Although the Harry Potter glasses were the best 3D implements I have ever used).
Overall it was a fun and different experience. Celebrities are moderately normal people, writers are brilliant, and the movie was good. I’m sad that we’ll be hearing much less about Harry Potter in the future.