VERNON TOWNSHIP — “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is the Harry Potter movie that 15-year-old Ryan Rankin of Meadville has been waiting to see for five years ever since he read the book.

Sarah Spencer, 30, said it’s felt like she has waited “forever” for the fourth and latest Potter movie, even though the third film was only in theaters last year.

The two Harry Potter fanatics were just a few of the diehards who showed up Thursday at The Movies at Meadville to see the earliest possible screening locally, midnight.

Theater owner Jon Goldstein said people started buying tickets two weeks ago and 154 seats were sold in advance for the midnight screening. He expects big crowds this weekend like every other movie theater in America. Even though the latest installment is being shown in two 300-seat theaters, Goldstein recommended people call in advance to reserve tickets or buy them early for weekend shows at prime times of 7:10 and 8:10 p.m. The movie is rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images.

Those who arrived Thursday before the midnight screening also got a special treat. The price of a ticket to see “Goblet of Fire” also got moviegoers into the first three movies in the series.

“Just been waiting forever to see (‘Goblet’) come out and the marathon is a nice treat too, getting to see all the originals back in the theater,” said Spencer of Saegertown, who left straight from her business, Magenta’s Tanning Spot in the Park Avenue Plaza, and was disappointed to find she missed the start of the marathon at 3 p.m.

“I’ll be tired tomorrow,” she said, before adding, “I like having this nice theater closer to town.”

So why do Spencer and other fans love Harry Potter so much to attend a midnight screening on a weekday?

She’s a fan of science fiction, but mainly “any really good story.”

“I like it mainly because you know that none of this stuff could actually happen, but you get to lose yourself in a completely different world,” said 20-year-old Dan Wofford of Meadville, who was sitting next to his friend Rankin.

As for Rankin?

“He likes Hermione,” Wofford teased his friend before he could answer.

Rankin initially rejected this comment, but then paused and agreed that it’s fine to print that he thinks Emma Watson, the actress who plays Hermione, is cute.

But for Rankin the real draw is the adventure, craziness and “the life and death” immediacy of the story.

“It’s something I wish my world could be,” he said.

Both Meadville Area Senior High School students have read all the books, but they actually didn’t start reading the series, which currently totals six volumes, until after seeing the first Potter movie. Since then they buy the newest books on the release date, finishing the text in a week or less.

Rankin said he still remembers what he thought after he finished reading “Goblet of Fire” five years ago: “Dude, I can’t wait for the movie to come out.”

Eric Reinagel can be reached at 724-6370 or by e-mail at

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