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A Magical Sendoff To the <I>Chamber of Secrets</I>

8 Apr, 2003 By: Stephanie Prange

LONDON -– The second installment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, kicked off with a gala event today at the Leavensden Studios near London, where the Potter films are made.

Stars of the film turned out to launch the DVD, due Friday, and expressed support for the disc.

Director Chris Columbus, who bowed out of directing the series after the second film, said he didn't have time during his marathon filming schedule to think of the disc.

Nevertheless,"I still want to make a film that lasts on DVD," he said.

His "favorite part" of the DVD extras are the deleted scenes, which let fans see which scenes from the book were cut from the film.

Tom Felton, who plays Harry Potter's young nemesis Draco Malfoy, said he was "looking forward to the deleted scenes." He was most interested in viewing a deleted scene between the younger Malfoy and his dad, Felton said.

Many of the young actors cited the games on the DVD as good extras.

"They are great fun to play," Felton said. Bonny Wright (Ginny Weasley) said she liked the games as well.

Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) "road tested" the DVD with his 10-year-old son, who liked the "going through the forest" game.

Warner EVP of worldwide marketing Mark Horak said the Chamber of Secrets DVD is expected to do as well as the Sorcerer's Stone on video, despite being a bit "scarier" and skewing to an older demographic. He expects a "strong presence at retail," he said.

Some industry observers said the first Harry Potter film oversaturated the market, causing returns.

Warner wants to ship the second installment in the "right quantity," Horak said, adding, "Nobody benefits from overshipment.”

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is launching for the most part day-and-date internationally, he said. The simultaneous international launch is becoming "more and more important," he said, citing piracy as one of several reasons for a coordinated launch.

Indeed, the Chamber of Secrets DVD is so highly anticipated here in the United Kingdom that one man said his son had already bought a pirated version.

"He just couldn't wait," he said. "He still plans to buy the DVD when it comes out."

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