You won't need magic on your side to be among the first to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" tonight -- but it wouldn't hurt.
Some local theaters have been sold out for days in advance of tonight's special midnight screenings of the final installment of the film phenomenon. Others are showing it on several extra screens to meet demand. General manager John Snodgrass said Northridge Cinema 10 on Hilton Head Island is sold out for tonight's premiere and has already sold close to 200 tickets for Friday showings. He said Northridge doesn't often get this level of excitement for a movie.
"This is a bit unusual," he said. "We've had a lot of people calling who are coming here on vacation checking the times and asking about tickets."
Snodgrass expects the usual assortment of Potter fans, wearing the boy wizard's trademark glasses or red-and-gold Gryffindor scarves. Snodgrass and his crew usually preview the movies beforehand to make sure there are no glitches in the copies. However, the studios have been extra cautious with the final installment of the Potter series. Northridge won't get the keys to open the digital and film prints until today, meaning midnight crowds will be the first to see Northridge's copy of the movies.
The final installment marks an end of an era for fans and an end of a sure-fire theater-filler for cinemas.
"We'll miss the crowds, of course," he said. "But there's always something to take its place. The next Twilight movie isn't too far off." ("The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1" hits theaters Nov. 18.)
Charlie Kaminowitz has been working the box office at Cinemark Bluffton (formerly Sea Turtle Cinemas) since 2008 -- two Potter and three Twilight films ago. He's seen his share of movie mania and expects tonight's event to be nothing short of Potter fandom gone wild.
"A madhouse," Kaminowitz said. "If it's a great movie, you'll get a lot of people here. When we did the Twilight saga, we had lines out the door here. And Harry Potter is a big thing. People come in costumes and they have wands. It's a fun thing."
The fun starts a bit earlier tonight for those planning to sport full wizard's regalia. Park Plaza Cinema on Hilton Head is holding a Harry Potter costume party at 11 p.m. before showing the movie at midnight. The muggles with the most magical getups will win prizes.
For a "witching hour" like none other, here's where you can see the film:
HILTON HEAD ISLAND
Park Plaza Cinema
33 Office Park Road, Hilton Head Island
Midnight showing tonight (sold out); showtimes start at 3 a.m. Friday (next showtime is at 11:30 a.m.)
Details: 843-715-0479, www.parkplazahhimovies.com
Northridge Cinema 10
435 William Hilton Parkway, Hilton Head Island
Midnight showing tonight (sold out); showtimes start at 11:20 a.m. Friday
106 Buckwalter Parkway, Bluffton
Midnight showing tonight (call for ticket availability; movie will be shown on additional screens to meet demand); showtimes start at 11:30 a.m. Friday
Details: 843-757-2859; www.cinemark.com
Highway 21 Drive-In
U.S. 21, Beaufort
Midnight showing tonight (ticket booth opens at 7 p.m.); follows "Horrible Bosses" at 10 p.m. on screen 1 (ticket pays for double feature). Beginning Friday, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" will begin at 8:45 p.m.; "Horrible Bosses" will follow.
Details: 843-846-4500 (movie line), 843-846-4021 (after 6 p.m.); www.hwy21drivein.com
Plaza Stadium Theatre
41 Robert Smalls Parkway, Beaufort
Midnight showing tonight (on sale beginning at 12:30 p.m. Thursday); call for Friday showtimes
Details: 843-986-5806; www.beaufortmovie.com
Hannah H. Carroll contributed to this report.