Well, the sixth installment of the Harry Potter movie franchise, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, debuted last night just after midnight. My local paper here in Bloomington, Indiana (which unfortunately you cannot access without a subscription) reports that a large group of Potter fans gathered for the day at one of our movie theaters to celebrate the release. Not a small number arrived in costume.
It’s intriguing to have read the local report on the heels of the New York Times review of the movie, which is much less celebratory. The piece opens by noting how the Potter franchise has “begun to show signs of stress around the edges.” Indeed, it’s been two years since the release of the seventh and final chapter of the book series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the plan for its film adaptation includes not one but two separate installments. I happen to have loved Half-Blood Prince — the book — but according to the Times the movie feels a whole lot like “filler.” I may wait to see it on video.
Could it be that after a dozen years worth of books, movies, and merch, Harry Potter fatigue has begun to set in?
What’s intriguing is how adamant Harry Potter’s rights holders have been about policing their copyrights and trademarks. (I discuss this at length in chapter 5 of Late Age of Print.) One of their goals in doing so has been to mitigate the boy wizard’s over-exposure. But if the Times is to be believed, then it would seem like Rowling and company have done a pretty good job of over-exposing Our Hero all on their own.