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Blockbuster goes all out for ‘Harry Potter'

22 May, 2002 By: Joan Villa

Blockbuster will conjure up midnight and early morning events to celebrate the May 28 video release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Select locations will begin renting and selling copies of the DVD and video as soon as the movie becomes available at 12:01 a.m.

Some stores will open early at 7:01 a.m. to host breakfasts for costumed kids, teachers and parents or feature live remote TV and radio broadcasts.

At Blockbuster's 6,000 stores nationwide, the rental will be guaranteed in stock or customers will receive a coupon to rent the title free. Harry Potter will also be on sale for $19.99 on DVD and $16.99 on VHS, but the chain will also match competitors for customers who bring in a copy of a lower advertised price.

The title will also be part of the chain's “Rent It, Like It, Buy It” program that enables consumers who first rent the title to purchase a previously viewed Harry Potter DVD for $9.99. Although typically such previously viewed discs are sold four weeks after street date under this program, Harry Potter may be available sooner, according to a Blockbuster spokesman. Each store manager will decide when that location's pre-played copies will be sold, he said.

"Harry Potter is one of the most successful movies in history, and we're excited to offer options for our customers that want to rent it or buy it -- or do both," said Jim Notarnicola, Blockbuster EVP and chief marketing officer.

The Peachtree Hills Blockbuster in Atlanta will feature a 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. live broadcast May 28 featuring a local news anchor dressed as a wizard to perform magic tricks.

From 8 p.m. to midnight May 27, the Massachusetts Audubon Society will bring two owls to the Blockbuster store at Christian Science Center, 235 Massachusetts Ave., which will also host games, raffles and a wizard-hat crafts table.

Also that evening at Blockbuster Staten Island (N.Y.), 2175 Hylan Blvd., a cloaked carpenter will work with a wood lathe to create individualized magic wands for children while an ice sculptor carves a 16-foot dragon from two tons of ice using a chainsaw.

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