Surprisingly, our first screening of Deathly Hallows Part 1 has Los Angeles roots.
Two years ago, an L.A.-based event planner, suffering the economy like the rest of us, formulated an idea for throwing a party without a client. Rather than build around a pre-paid wedding or corporate function, she pulled some strings to arrange an advance screening of Sex and the City, tied to a pre-party.
Taking on considerable risk, the event planner bought out a whole theater of seats. When she actually made a little money, she told her friends in the industry.
One of those friends is Tami Forero, CEO of Forté Events, a nearly five-year-old Colorado Springs event production firm. Pulling some of the same strings back in late June, Forero gave the business model a test and launched the "Red Event" around the release of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
She only sold around 300 of 450 seats, losing money, but was encouraged enough to restructure her plan and try again with Harry Potter. (If this one fails, she says, that's a wrap.) The legal mumbo-jumbo from Warner Bros. requires that Forero create an event with its own title. So at the Potter Party on Nov. 18, activities and refreshments will precede 234 proactive guests' enjoyment of a 7 p.m., private showing of the film, five hours ahead of all the midnight screenings.
To the best of Forero's and our knowledge — Cinemark didn't return our calls — this small audience will be the first batch of muggles in the country to view the film.
KRDO is sponsoring the event, and morning radio news anchor Lee Richards says it's generated "the biggest response we've ever had from people trying to win tickets to anything — more than twice as big as Twilight. It's been ridiculous."
Note: That's "ridiculous," not "riddikulus," the wizard spell to banish a boggart.