Yorkshire Post – June 1, 2004
Harry’s army breaks records at box office
AN ARMY of fans brought Pottermania to Leeds and smashed a cinema’s box office records.
So many people were desperate to get tickets for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban that Ster Century Cinema, part of The Light complex in Leeds, broke its record for a day’s ticket sales.
And fans who got one of the hot tickets had the double-bonus of an appearance by Leeds-born Harry Potter star Matthew Lewis.
Matthew, of Horsforth, was at the cinema for yesterday’s special VIP screening of the new Potter film.
He said: “I am Leeds born and bred so it is an amazing feeling to know they have sold so many tickets today. The public reaction has been unbelievable, I am really proud.”
Matthew, who plays bungling wizard Neville Longbottom, said he is now on a four-week break before full-time filming of the fourth Potter film begins.
“I have been filming this film for nine months. Overall it took about 12. I have done a few shots for the fourth film, but until July I will be concentrating on my schoolwork.”
The St Mary’s High School pupil, who admitted to being “devastated” by the death of veteran actor Richard Harris, said Sir Michael Gambon had stepped comfortably into Harris’s Professor Dumbledore shoes.
He said: “Michael Gambon has been superb, he has fitted perfectly into the role. You couldn’t really tell the difference.”
Matthew, 14, was staying tight-lipped about rumours of a blossoming romance between fellow stars Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry, and Emma Watson, who plays his feisty sidekick Hermione.
“It is quite amusing and I am sure they are having a laugh, but that’s all I am going to say.” But he did confess to enjoying the attention of his own female fans, four of whom screamed with delight when they spotted the young star in Albion Street.
Seventeen-year-old Michelle Monkman, of Barwick-in-Elmet, Leeds, said: “It is unbelievable to meet him. We are the biggest Harry Potter fans in the world. We even left a party early last night to read the books again so we were ready for today.”
Duncan and Marie Burgess, of Otley, had brought children James, six, and four-year-old Hannah to the screening.
James had dressed as Harry while Hannah was dressed as Hermione.
James said: “I am excited. I like the magic.”
Other celebrities at the screening included Matthew’s brother and Emmerdale actor Anthony Lewis and Bradford Bulls rugby league legend Robbie Paul.
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