Hey Fans, Fancy Harry Potter And the Flight to Singapore?

The Jakarta Globe

Hey Fans, Fancy Harry Potter And the Flight to Singapore?

As London fans bade farewell to the world’s most famous boy wizard at the premiere of the final Harry Potter movie on Friday and worldwide audiences queued for tickets, film-starved Indonesian fans were busy organizing trips to Singapore.

“I followed Harry Potter from the first movie until ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1,’ and I always watched the films several times in the theater,” Shafiq, a coordinator for the 6,000-strong Indo Harry Potter online community, told the Jakarta Globe on Friday.

He said there was no way he wouldn’t watch the eighth and final film of what is arguably the most successful Hollywood franchise on the big screen as well.

And so he and a number of other members of the fan club, ditching original plans for a costume premiere party complete with wands and black robes, will travel to Singapore next week in time for the Thursday premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” in the city-state.

Warner Bros., the producer of the blockbuster series, is one of six major Hollywood studios under the Motion Picture Association of America whose films have not been screened in Indonesia since Feb. 17, when a dispute with the Indonesian government prompted a foreign-film boycott.

The Finance Ministry has announced a new tax scheme meant to resolve the dispute and head off the drastic slump in ticket sales since the Hollywood film boycott started, but it has maintained a ban on two major film importers — Camila and Satrya — until Rp 22 billion ($2.6 million) in back taxes and interest was paid.

The importers, both under the 21 Cineplex group, have been responsible for bringing in MPAA films. Tourism and Culture Minister Jero Wacik has said the problem now is the MPAA only wants to deal with importers with which it is familiar.

A sign of hope was the recent granting of a license to a new importer, Omega Film, which Jero said was also under the 21 Cineplex group. Group spokesman Noorca Massardi has consistently declined to comment throughout the entire negotiations.

But as it seems a resolution to the long-running problem won’t come in time for Harry Potter’s Indonesian fans to formally bid the series farewell, fans like Shafiq are not taking any chances.

“Watching it once isn’t enough for me, I need to watch it at least three times,” he said, adding that he would wear his Indo Harry Potter T-Shirt in Singapore. “And I also plan to watch another movie there that cannot be seen in Indonesia.” 

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