"Potter casts spell at world première"
("BBC News," November 4, 2001)
Will the film match the book's success?
The most-eagerly awaited movie in years, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, has received its world première in Leicester Square, London.
The cinema was turned into a replica of the magic school Hogwarts for the occasion and thousands of excited fans, some dressed up in wizard hats and cloaks, gathered to catch a glimpse of arriving celebrities.
JK Rowling, the author of the Potter books, said she was "happy and relieved" by how faithful the film is to her creation.
"This is not what you think about when you write a book," she said, referring to chaotic scenes outside the cinema.
The star of the movie, Daniel Radcliffe, 12, arrived without his trademark Potter spectacles and said the première experience was "overwhelming but fantastic".
I think they are wonderful literature
Sting "It is so cool. I have never heard my name shouted so much in an hour."
His co-stars, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, were equally exuberant.
Grint, who plays Ron Weasley, one of Harry Potter's friends, said: "I am so nervous, so scared. It is amazing."
Daniel Radcliffe arrives without his Potter spectacles
Emma Watson, who plays Hermione, said: "I can't wait to see myself on the big screen.
"It is very flattering. There are so many people out there."
A who's who of British stars feature in the movie, including John Hurt, Richard Harris, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters and Zoe Wanamaker.
Actor Stephen Fry, who narrates the audio books of Harry Potter, said he was "as excited as all the children around the world".
"It is very exciting to see the biggest film ever made in the UK come to fruition," he added.
Pop star Sting, who was among the many celebrity fans, admitted he was a fan.
He said: "My daughter and I have been reading them for years. I think they are wonderful literature."
The eagerly-awaited film version of JK Rowling's phenomenally popular book has cost a reported $125m (£85.3m) to make.
110m books sold
£85.3m film budget
£100m sponsorship from Coke
£40m expected sales in merchandising
£1m in advanced cinema ticket sales
JK Rowling promises a new book next year
The film is expected to become one of the most popular children's movies of all time.
Other invited guests included Hollywood actor Ben Stiller, the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, and her two daughters, Virgin boss Richard Branson, pop band Steps, Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, Richard E Grant, Patsy Kensit and Donna Air.
Actress Julie Walters said: "I just hope the film lives up to the hoo haa."
Emma Watston: "Very flattering"
The Harry Potter books - four in total - have become a global phenomenon, with more than 110 million copies sold worldwide since the first book was published in 1997.
The stories focus on the adventures of Harry Potter, an orphaned English schoolboy with magic powers, who is sent to a wizards' school, called Hogwarts.
The film's makers are hoping for considerable interest and when released on November 16 it will be shown on an unprecedented 1,000 screens in the UK.
In the first three days more than 25,000 hours of Harry Potter will be shown on screens in the UK.