The Hippodrome's midnight release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince may have sold out early, but that doesn't mean it was the only gig in town that got some serious attention. Cinebarre's midnight showing took place outside with their newly launched inflatable screen. And from what we hear, it drew about 1,000 people to the asphalt venue.
This was definitely the older crowd's Potter. Things not present included children (I spied with my little eye just one kid, though I'm sure there were more lurking) and elaborate costumes. Overheard in the crowd prior to the film were plenty of non-PG threats among friends such as "I'm gonna cruciatus your ass!" or "Avada Kedavra, bitch!" Things I saw in droves were lawn chairs, citronella candles, and hot dogs. It was the perfect combination of late-night cookout under the stars and entertainment.
For 10 dollars, guests could enjoy an all you could eat and drink menu of cook-out fare, butter beer (alcoholic and non), regular beer, and soft drinks. The ticket itself gave access to the giant 36 by 41 foot screen on which we could see every twist and turn of the plotline. And really, who doesn't want to see a colossal Severus Snape up close and personal? Mm, what a stud.
Cinebarre presented a great showing with just a few glitches. The screen didn't go up until a little tiny bit after 12. Usually not such a big problem, but getting home at three in the morning to wake up for work the next day is rough, so every minute makes a difference. The other thing that unfortunately lacked was good sound. Most things could be heard just fine (action sequences especially), but those secret hushed conversations between Harry and Dumbledore were just a little too quiet sometimes. And dammit, if I'm sitting on my ass in a parking lot to watch these guys, I want to hear what they're saying.
As for the movie itself, I'm guessing you've already decided to see it or you're not. As one of the few, the proud, the Harry Potter fanatics, I can say I enjoyed the interpretation and I'll see it again in a less distracting setting. On the other hand, my partner in crime last night will probably not be rushing out to catch another showing — what a muggle.