Muggles swarm to new Potter film

The latest Harry Potter film opened at 820 screens across Japan on Saturday.

“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” the third film in the blockbuster series, is expected to become another box-office smash following the megahit second movie, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.”

The second film drew some 1.6 million people to theaters and grossed 2.05 billion yen in its first two days. Both are the biggest figures on record in Japan.

The third Harry Potter film opened June 4 in the United States, where its revenues for the first three days were the third-highest ever for that country.

Rupert Grint, who plays Harry’s friend Ron Weasley, greeted fans at a theater in Tokyo’s Yurakucho district.

The cinema was packed for the first showing, which began at 7:45 a.m., and some young fans wore costumes resembling the uniform of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which the character Harry Potter attends.

“It is fun to see Harry and his friends grow up like us,” said high school student Kaoru Ono, 17.

The Harry Potter films are based on British author J.K. Rowling’s best-selling books.