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Wall Street Journal on the Wrath of Harry Potter Fans

HBP Film
Posted by: sue
September 08, 2008, 01:50 PM

As readers are aware, the news of the delay in the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film until July 17, 2009 was met with great emotion, dismay, and a fair amount of anger. The Wall Street Journal has a new article online today, focusing on the reaction to the news from Warner Brothers, including the subsequent “apology” from WB president Alan Horn. The article states that “People at the studio say that while they knew that tampering with the Harry Potter release date could stir up dark forces, the studio never expected the current onslaught.” Some of that onslaught would include the multiple emails, petitions, YouTube videos (“Greg and Penny Gershman overlaid their own subtitles to a German film about the final days of Adolf Hitler. “How am I supposed to get my Potter fix now!” Hitler violently shouts, according to the new subtitles, when told of the delay by one of his officials. He adds: “We are going to make Warner Brothers suffer.”) and angry responses posted globally on the net and in mails sent to Mr. Horn himself. Examples:

“Jean Fink, a 51-year-old Los Angeles artist who also works as an administrative assistant, was so distraught after a night of fitful sleep that she dashed off a scathing message to the man who’d betrayed her. “I can’t breath amymore [sic] because you just ripped out my heart,” she wrote in an Aug. 15 email. ...

”...die-hard fans, sometimes called “Potterheads,” weren’t appeased. Kerry McGee, a 24-year-old office administrator from Townsville, Australia, says Mr. Horn’s attempt to create a positive spin on the delay “put fuel on the fire.” In response to Mr. Horn’s apology she sent 30 angry letters to Warner Bros. in bright red envelopes—an allusion to “howlers,” a magical kind of hate mail in the Potter world that screams loudly at the recipient and explodes violently if left unopened.”

Additional comments are reflected in The Telegraph here. The Wall Street Journal piece continues on to note that much of the anger was directed toward the exec at WB, as many felt the move was a purely money generating and motivated decision move, “a crass admission that the studio cares only about bigger box-office returns. “YOU just slapped the face of EVERY Harry Potter Fan and told us you don’t care what we want—you only want our money!” stormed Natalie DeGennaro, a 50-year-old electronic-design engineer who lives in Hillsborough, N.C., in an email she sent to Time Warner Chief Executive Jeffrey Bewkes, Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer and other executives.”

We here at Leaky and many of the other fan sites witnessed first hand the emotional, and largely angry outpouring of emotion that filled our comments by the hundreds and hundreds. Our own Melissa Anelli is cited as saying “A lot of our fans live in a fantasy world that they share with hundreds of thousands of other people—so when some people get angry, they feed off each other.” Andrew Sims of MuggleNet chimed in with the thought that “If something new came out, everybody would forget about it. But I got to be honest, a little part of me died inside when I heard about the delay.”

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