["Hedwig's Theme" plays]
Micah: Because 2011 officially marked the end of an era, this is MuggleCast Episode 247 for December 24th, 2011.
[Show music begins]
Andrew: This week's episode of MuggleCast is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature, including fiction, non-fiction, and periodicals. For a free audiobook of your choice, go to AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast.
[Show music continues]
Andrew: Welcome to MuggleCast! It's our final show of the year 2011 and we're going to send it out with a bang. We have our annual MuggleCasties awards. Is this the fourth or fifth annual? I can't seem to remember this.
Micah: I remember looking it up at the end of last show.
Andrew: And you forgot already?
Micah: I want to say this is the fourth annual.
Andrew: Yeah, I think that makes more sense.
Eric: This is the fourth. Sorry, you guys were cutting out there a little bit.
Eric: But yeah, this is the fourth annual MuggleCast Year in Review.
Andrew: Cool, and with the MuggleCasties, and it's always fun to get people's feedback and then discuss the poll results as we've done over the past few years. I'm Andrew Sims.
Eric: I'm Eric Scull.
Micah: And I'm Micah Tannenbaum.
Andrew: Okay. And Micah, please, fill us in on the news. We're at the end of the year here and Harry Potter is pretty much over, so...
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: There hasn't been much news.
Micah: So, let's move on to the awards.
Eric: [laughs] Yeah.
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah. No, no, give us the news.
Micah: Well, one of the hot topics over the last couple of shows has been the expansion of the Wizarding World in Orlando and there's some more news that's been coming out in the last couple of days, a little bit about Poseidon's Fury, which is a ride at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure. It's going to be closing, there's supposedly a new roller coaster. Andrew, what's going on down in Orlando?
Andrew: Well, there's been a lot of rumors and we've talked about them before. Of course, Universal did confirm a few weeks ago that they are going to expand Orlando but they didn't say exactly what they're going to do. And we've talked about the Hogwarts Express train on the last episode and all that good stuff. The latest rumors are that - and these seem to be more than rumors. These seem to be from sources from a reputable theme park website. They said:
"Railroad engineers have been on property extensively designing a train track that would run backstage. You would be looking out of the train and seeing a video component as you went down the track. Whether that would be similar in technology to 'King Kong' at Universal Florida remains to be seen."
And they say King Kong because that ride - it's a 360 degree enclosure, and maybe not 360 exactly, but it's like a - when you're going through this ride, it's all video screen surrounding you, so that's what they could do with the Hogwarts Express. You go into this tunnel and you're just surrounded by, say, the English countryside. So, that has a lot of potential, I think, to get to the new park.
Andrew: There is a new roller coaster planned for the Jaws area and that's what's rumored to be taken over - the rumors say that Harry Potter will take over the Jaws area. Universal already announced that Jaws is closing, so now the big question is, "What are they going to put there?" and that's what people think. And then finally, something that I've personally been saying for a while, Poseidon's Fury has got to close!
Andrew: And this latest report says that Poseidon's Fury which is right next to the existing Wizarding World will indeed be closing down, which...
Micah: Now, just as a follow-up to the Jaws ride closing, there was a bit of news stating that Steven Spielberg owned that area of the park, so the chance of it becoming anything Potter related was not very good. Did you see that?
Andrew: Hmm. Yeah, I think I saw you guys post it on MuggleNet, right?
Eric: Yeah, there was another...
Andrew: So, I mean...
Eric: There was a conflicting report, too, which is that we also heard that when Steven Spielberg heard that there would be a Potter area in the park, I think he offered his area where Jaws was to them. So, it may be a case of them coming back in the next year and saying, "Oh, by the way, can we still have this? Can we - are you using this?" [laughs] that sort of thing.
Micah: As far as King Kong goes, did I go on a different King Kong ride than...
Micah: ...you guys did?
Andrew: Well, I think the one this is referring to is the one at King Kong 3D at Universal Hollywood and that's like a train-track thing. I don't know what the King Kong ride is at Orlando.
Before we move along with the news, we'd like to remind you that today's episode is brought to you by Audible.com, the Internet's leading provider of audiobooks, with more than 100,000 downloadable titles across all types of literature and featuring audio versions of many New York Times Bestsellers. For listeners of MuggleCast, Audible is offering a free audiobook so you can try out their amazing service. One audiobook to consider is Happy Accidents by Glee star Jane Lynch, part comic memoir and part inspirational narrative. This book is equally for the rabid Glee fan and for anyone who needs a new perspective on life, love, and success. So, why not get it for free and listen to it just like you do MuggleCast? To do so, or to grab any book of your choice, visit AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. Again, that's AudiblePodcast.com/MuggleCast. We thank Audible for their support of the show.
Micah: Well, according to The Telegraph, they think that this upcoming Potter studio tour, which will be at Leavesden Studios opening in March 2012, could potentially ruin the magic...
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: ...that the series has created for so many people around the world. What do you guys think of this?
Andrew: I thought...
Micah: Could be some truth to that.
Andrew: Yeah, I thought this was a well thought out article because when you think about it - you go to the theme park and it really is an immersive experience. It's the music, it's the people, the wizards and witches walking around the park, the Hogwarts Express is alive, and just everybody is really excited to be there. You can drink Butterbeer, you can be in Harry's world, it's very immersive. And then this studio tour, it's cool. It's so cool that these are the actual sets, but it's like, is the lighting going to look like it did in the movies? Is there going to be music? Are people going to be dressed up in character? Is this going to feel - how is this going to feel compared to the theme park? And I don't know if you're going to get an immersive feel like you do at the theme park and I think that maybe somewhat of an issue. I mean, but again, it is cool that these are the actual sets.
Micah: Yeah, I agree. I think that people who have immersed themselves in the series over the last several years or ten years I think are really going to go with the intent to just enjoy and to see what the sets have to offer and walking through...
Micah: ...the actual place where the movies have been filmed. I think maybe it could ruin it for some people. It just depends how you perceive the series and I guess if you're younger maybe it can ruin it just a little bit. If you don't have a full understanding of - but at the same time, I would think if you don't have a full understanding, it would be cool to walk through a place like Dumbledore's office or the Ministry of Magic or any of those other sets. But yeah, I agree with what you said. I think the article does make a compelling argument.
Eric: Yeah. I mean, I think ultimately two different people are going to go to the park versus the studio tour. I wanted to say it's fortunate that the studio tour is in backwards - an hour outside of London that nobody will see it [laughs] or fewer people will go there to have the magic ruined for them than do attend the park on a yearly basis. But ultimately I think because of the studio tour and its nature is to show how they achieved the special effects - one of those areas is going to be the green screen booth where you can hop on a broom and obviously see how they do that. It's in its nature to deconstruct the magic. So yeah, absolutely I think people will maybe walk away maybe regretting that they've seen it, do you think? Is that too intensive feeling to say if they're coming away - oh, now that I know how they did that, it's not magic, or what? I mean...
Eric: ...it's still - because...
Andrew: Well, yeah. I mean, that's the thing, too. I mean, you have this idea of how these things look after seeing them in the films so many times. I mean, for a lot of people that are going to be seeing these, they're going to be walking on the sets having seen the films ten, twenty time a piece. So, you want to live up to their expectations and I think that's a very tall order that may be kind of hard to fill. But again, it's the fact that you're on the actual studio lot where these films were shot. I mean, that's hugely intensive.
Eric: Yeah, I...
Micah: I mean, even the mayor of London was there not too long ago.
Eric: Oh, our favorite...
Andrew: Right. Well, yeah, he did that...
Eric: Our favorite mayor of London. [laughs]
Andrew: Yeah, that's another related news story, actually. They announced that Diagon Alley will be there and Gringotts, but I wonder which parts of Gringotts. Is it just the front?
Eric: Yeah, I wonder.
Andrew: Or what?
Micah: Well, they say that the set will take center stage. Does that mean that it's going to be sort of the focal point of the tour? Is it going to be the first place that you step into once you enter Leavesden Studios? I wonder how they're going to sort of set this all up. Is it going to be telling a story in a way? Is it going to be following the series as we've seen in the films?
Eric: That's a good question. I think if it tells any story, it will be the story of how so many people had to come together, the makeup room, the green screen room, the sets themselves. And I think the other thing that's going to be rewarding - I mean, some people might actually come to the studio tour to see that, to see the Great Hall because it's the real Great Hall, but also to then turn the corner and see that it's - oh, it's scaffolding, it's not real stone. The detail on the foam or whatever it is that they use looks so real in the movies I think maybe that would be an interest point all and of itself, is that all these people forged a huge fakery, as it were. But it's real - but it's not, so...
Micah: Yeah, and just going back to the whole idea of ruining the magic, I think we bring this question up almost every time something else is announced or released, is what's too much with respect to Potter? How far are you going to take it? We did it when the theme park was announced. Now you have the studio tour, the exhibition is touring out there, you have the expansion in Orlando, you have [laughs] the new park coming in Los Angeles. You're going to say to yourself, when is enough enough? And it just doesn't seem to matter to fans out there because Potter seems to have such a strong hold still with all their fan base.
Eric: I mean, I have a few interesting points to make about that, first is that the different things you can do for Potter are fortunately located at opposite ends of the globe geographically. So, with the exhibition...
Eric: ...that's been able to travel which is good, a couple of months here, a couple of months there, and finally it's overseas, it's no longer in North America. So, that's good. And then obviously for the London people, there's the studio tour and for Floridians in particular but also East Coasters and the entire Americans, there's the park. So, fortunately - I mean, I don't think anybody - well, less and less people are actually doing each and every one of these things that there is to do. Fortunately because it came to Chicago and because - I think Americans are more likely to have done everything so far up until this studio tour. It's going to be really difficult to get over there and do that. So, I think it will be less of a situation where it's like overkill to some people. And then in terms of how we view the studios, the other thing is that a lot of these are coming from different areas, so Leavesden obviously - or Warner Bros. - saw the potential to create this studio tour. But somebody completely different said we got to do this exhibit, somebody completely different said we have a theme park and there's room for a Potter section of that. So, it's not necessarily that there's one person milking everything that came out of the series, and considering that Deathly Hallows doesn't look like it's going to get an Oscar anymore, which is my speculation, it'll be good to see that there's some way of showing the massive work that went into the series, because I don't think the Academy is going to grant the producers and directors their wish of finally recognizing what a feat these films were. I think the studio tour is the only thing that's going to do that in the end, which is sad but it's what it is.
Micah: All right. Well, switching gears here a little bit, it was announced earlier this week that Dan Radcliffe will be hosting Saturday Night Live, and...
Andrew: [in announcer voice] It's Saturday Night Live!
Eric: [in announcer voice] Daniel Radcliffe!
Andrew: [in announcer voice] With a bunch of Harry Potter skits!
[Eric and Micah laugh]
Micah: ...it comes on the heels of him being named the Entertainer of the Year by Entertainment Weekly, and it seems as though it comes at the appropriate time, though. He'll be heading off Broadway, right, in the next couple of weeks?
Eric: He'll be heading off Broadway.
Micah: ...it makes sense.
Eric: Yeah, and then right...
Micah: Do Saturday Night Live before you leave.
Eric: I was going to say, because he's still - the next month, he's booked all throughout the UK - or actually, early in February is the world premiere of The Woman in Black, that film that he recorded prior to doing How to Succeed. So, he's wrapped up sort of in the promotional circuit of that immediately afterwards. So, I'm glad they were able to find this time when he's still in New York, because I'm sure right the day later, he could be on a plane.
Andrew: Yeah, it's big. Yeah, it's a nice surprise and he'll do great. I was just surprised he's doing it in mid-January, I kind of assumed he would want to go back to the UK right after he's done with How to Succeed, take a little time off. But no, he's sticking around, so good for him for keeping busy even after that run.
Micah: Has he ever...
Andrew: What else is going...
Micah: ...hosted it before?
Andrew: No, never. No Harry Potter...
Eric: No. He's appeared...
Andrew: ...actor has...
Eric: ...on some sketch shows in Britain, and actually quite a few: Extras, and I think QI and a few of the other shows out there, but not Saturday Night Live. I'm super excited. I hope there aren't that many Harry Potter skits, because he's good for other things, too. So, who was it that was on and they did a Harry Potter skit? It wasn't Emma, though. She didn't - it was unrelated, right? Nobody else hosted Saturday Night Live. There have been a few Harry Potter skits on Saturday Night Live before, have there?
Micah: Oh, I'm sure over ten years...
Andrew: Yeah, there have.
Micah: ...[laughs] there probably have...
Andrew: Yeah, there's been quite a - there's been two or three that stand out...
Andrew: ...in my mind.
Eric: I'm trying to remember.
Micah: But the other thing that we mentioned there was that he was named Entertainer of the Year.
Micah: Any surprise?
Andrew: Well, I mean...
Eric: I was surprised just because they really accentuated his hard work on Broadway, because he - [laughs] to do 250 plus shows which he's done of How to Succeed, the same show, the same music, the same - I couldn't do it. I don't think - many people couldn't do it and he's been wrapped up with that this entire year, all of 2011. So, when you think of an award like Entertainer of the Year, [laughs] there's really nobody else you can go to, not to mention the fact that that one movie came out in the middle of the summer which was his final outing. So yeah, I don't think there was any question.
Micah: Well, not only that, it was the highest grossing film of the year, it shattered records, it was the final film in the Potter series, so he was part of one of the highest grossing films of all time. So, you couple that with what you just said as well as - he probably worked on The Woman in Black at some point this year, right? Or...
Eric: It was filmed...
Micah: Was that all wrapped up...
Eric: Yeah. Well, it was filmed - I don't know what - he launched the story contest which is what they ran from...
Eric: ...mid-October and it runs to January. So, he was doing some of that, he's appeared on YouTube with those videos promoting that, and that's in addition to his daily [laughs] How to Succeed-ing, sometimes twice a day. So yeah, he's been super busy. But they filmed that over the course of, I think it's six weeks last year in October, November-ish.
Micah: All right. Well, the last piece of news...
Andrew: So, what else is going on?
Micah: ...that we have here...
Andrew: This is my personal favorite.
Micah: This your favorite? I knew you put this in here. [laughs] Broadway.com readers have voted that Alan Rickman is the Sexiest Man on Broadway.
Andrew: [laughs] I just think it's funny.
Micah: Professor Snape.
Andrew: And I just wondered why didn't - Daniel Radcliffe is also on Broadway right now, too, so I was just wondering why Daniel Radcliffe - he didn't even make the top four.
Eric: Who were the...
Andrew: Alan Rickman had...
Eric: Who were the top four?
Andrew: Yeah, Alan Rickman had 27% of the vote. He beat Hugh Jackman...
Andrew: ...with 26% of the vote. And then Priscilla Queen of the Desert's Nick Adams had 24%, I don't know who that is. So, there was 23% of the vote left over and I assume Dan had to be in there somewhere.
Eric: Was Alan Rickman reached for comment about this prestigious award?
Andrew: [laughs] I don't think so. I think he probably just laughed it off.
[Andrew and Micah laugh]
Eric: Yeah, he beat Hugh Jackman, that's crazy.
Micah: All right, so we end the news in 2011 on a light note there.
Andrew: So, there you go. So, that's the year in news. But there's still a lot to reflect on and that's what we're going to do in this episode. We're going to reveal the results of the MuggleCasties, but first, we have the top seven moments of 2011 on a whole. Now, I guess we want to go from - I guess we don't have to go in a particular order. These are just the top seven moments that stood out to us most. First of all, of course, the - well, we'll start with B, guys - Deathly Hallows - Part 2 hitting theaters. It was the final film after ten years of Harry Potter movies, seven books being turned into eight films. We've talked about it to death, but it really was a momentous year for the Harry Potter fandom, maybe more so than the year Book 7 came out, 2007, because it's just - this was the end of the big stuff. And to think back to 2007, I remember we were all like, "Where does the Harry Potter fandom go from here?" But I think some of the best years were truly after Book 7 came out.
Eric: It would be interesting to compare, as you just did, 2007 to 2011, because I was going to say that in one month, within the space of two weeks, we had Movie 5 and Book 7 come out. I don't think it's easy to top that kind of a thing. But when you look at it as being the final film, being slightly bigger than the fifth film, and the final book being matched up against Pottermore, which was a huge announcement that was kind of unexpected but it was leading up to the final movie coming out. They might tie, they might come close. They definitely come close together. This was a good year, I think, for Potter fans, especially because if anything there's - not a silver lining but it promised that Potter was not over because there's still kind of something to look forward to over the horizon which is good, which is just like in 2007 when we had two more - or three more movies to go.
Micah: Yeah, I agree. I think that what you just said, we had three movies to look forward to - well, at the time, we only knew that there were going to be two more, we didn't know that the last one was going to be split. But I think that comparing them would be a little bit difficult because we were waiting for the end of the story really in 2007, to find out, "Was Snape good or evil? Does Harry live or die?" All these big questions that have been building up over ten or more years. So, now you finally get to 2011 and it's the last movie. I think, though, with the last movie there comes a bit of a finality to it, in my opinion anyway, because now everything has been wrapped up. You're not going to get any more books, you knew that in 2007, you're not going to get any more movies, and so what's next? And it seems like, to your point, Pottermore and the announcement of Pottermore came at the ideal time. I don't think that that was a coincidence. And it's continuously giving people something to look forward to down the road and sort of a lot of the other things that we've talked about already: expansion in Orlando, a new park in Los Angeles, the studio tour opening in 2012. There's still a lot of things on the horizon. It's not like the ship has sailed.
Andrew: And then off of that moment of 2011, and of course - Deathly Hallows - Part 2's shattering of the box office records. Opening night, it made $43.5 million. Opening day total was $92.1 million. Opening weekend was $169 million domestic, $483 million worldwide. It grossed in the end to $1.3 billion worldwide which made it the number three film of all time behind Titanic and Avatar. So, I mean, it was a huge success and rightly so. We kind of saw that coming, we knew that just like with the first film and everybody was really curious, everybody was also curious to see how the film would end. So, that's why there were such strong box office numbers, and also a lot of hardcore fans who have been with the series over the years just wanting to see it multiple times.
Micah: Yeah, I think I saw it three times and you go back to Order of the Phoenix, how long did it take me...
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: ...to see that movie in theaters?
Andrew: That was strange, yeah.
Micah: Yeah, I don't know why that happened, but...
Andrew: Me neither.
Micah: Yeah, and the other piece I think that we didn't mention was it became the highest grossing film franchise of all time, finally passing Star Wars and as we discussed on a previous episode, Star Wars didn't just - wasn't just released in the late 70's, early 80's. It was the prequels that eventually came out but it also had Episodes 4, 5, and 6 re-released in the late 90's, so you're talking about nine films, really, compared to Potter's eight. And I think it speaks a lot for the series as a whole. It's going to be interesting because I think that as more and more of the James Bond movies continue to be released in the future, I think eventually it's going to catch up to it, but Potter kind of stands alone by itself for right now.
Eric: Do we know where Bond is at? I mean, there were twenty two official films for the Bond series. Are they not anywhere near that currently? Or has nobody put that list together about how much those movies have grossed?
Micah: No, I think it is in existence somewhere. I know Potter passed it several years ago, I just remember a post being made - I think it was Andrew who made it. There was a split image of Dan Radcliffe on one side and then whoever was playing James Bond at the time on the other.
Micah: And it had just [laughs] moved past James Bond, so there is a list out there somewhere but I think James Bond was kind of second behind...
Micah: ...Star Wars.
Andrew: The problem is, too - I mean, Daniel Craig is about to sign on for another five Bond films...
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: ...so it could surpass Potter again. That is the franchise that just...
Andrew: ...never dies. Okay, so moving on, [laughs] let's talk about Pottermore next.
Andrew: So, that...
Micah: Oh boy.
Andrew: That's, of course, a huge moment in the Harry Potter fandom because there was so much hype leading up to the release of Pottermore. They did do a good job of the hype and the mystery surrounding it. They had the various fan sites participating, and we learned each letter of Pottermore. It was kind of the classic clue hunting that you had to do back with J.K. Rowling's original site, J.K. Rowling.com. And everybody knows how it went. It launched in Beta, it was kind of a mess, and now it's still not open to the public. And what do you guys think overall about Pottermore, putting all the negativity aside? Let's all say something good about Pottermore.
Andrew: What did it do for the fandom, right? It added a spark to the fandom, right?
Micah: It really did come at the right time, and as I said earlier, I don't think it was by coincidence that it was announced right around the time that the last film was going to be released, because it gave people something to be interested in beyond Deathly Hallows - Part 2 and I think that if you go through the experience - I think there was a lot of excitement because Andrew, you just spoke about how you had to do the clue hunting even though it was hacked and...
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: ...somebody got the name out there [laughs] relatively quickly. There was that excitement about something related to Potter that fans hadn't experienced for a number of years. And you go on, you find out this name, and then you had to go through the whole process of becoming a Beta user. You had to make sure that you found the clue at the right time and you had people staying up to all weird hours of the morning all across the world and...
Andrew: Yeah, that wasn't fun. [laughs]
Micah: Yeah, exactly. But I think it was fun in some way because there was an excitement about...
Micah: ...what this was going to be, what was it going to provide fans who had not had anything really since Deathly Hallows was released in 2007. I guess you can include Beedle the Bard but I don't really think that that book counts. So, it's been four years since we've had anything and the experience overall I think we've talked about it enough, I'm not going to go into it. But as far as getting backstory, getting that information that everybody who's been a fan of the series wants to know more about, I think that it does that and it's going to be interesting to see in 2012 how much more new information J.K. Rowling releases...
Micah: ...through Pottermore.
Eric: And I know a lot of people, too - as you said, they compared the experience of finding the clues for Pottermore to being like we're back on her website during the heyday before all the books had come out. And what Pottermore did for me, I think for a lot of other people, was since it had been four years since we really had any direct content from J.K. Rowling, it really convinced me that she still cared, because to announce Pottermore, to go through - to start Pottermore, start this team of people to work on this several-year project, whether it's five years, whether it lasts seven years, however long it is, to start something like this, and then to announce it, and to go through all the trouble of making it and doing it and providing this content. It just shows that she still cares about Potter and that is something - not necessarily that I questioned it, but because nothing, including her own Twitter, indicated that she still cared, it was very comforting to see that yes...
Eric: ...J.K. Rowling still cares about Potter, she still wants to interact with its fans, and that was the biggest moment for me about the whole thing.
Andrew: Okay. Now moving on, the Wizarding World expansion announcement. That was something else that was a huge - the build-up, there was a lot of rumors leading up to it. Like we said earlier, there's been a lot of rumors particularly over the past few months and they sort of picked up. And that's going to be exciting because again, now the theme parks are a huge aspect of the Harry Potter fandom and it seems like they have really big plans for this expansion. They know that Harry Potter is a huge success now, so they can really - it seems like they're going to basically double the size of the existing park and that's just going to be wonderful. So...
Eric: Yeah, Harry Potter, HP, has proven to be bankable.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Andrew: Who knew?
Eric: Well, I think, too - do you think - I mean, it's not just Harry Potter fans who are visiting the park which is the cool thing, is that other...
Eric: ...people, non-fans are going in and getting kind of educated as to the little nuances of British culture. Or even if it's not that British and it's more magical, still, they're getting an education [laughs] by going into the theme park which is really good.
Micah: They're getting schooled.
Eric: They're getting schooled, as you said.
Andrew: And on a related note, the - even more recent - well, actually they were announced at the same time, the new theme park in Hollywood!
Andrew: Hogwarts is coming to Hollywood!
Andrew: And again, it's just great...
Micah: You can see it out your window, Andrew, as it gets built.
Eric: [imitating Andrew] Hollywood!
Andrew: [laughs] Yeah.
Micah: You're going to be able to...
Andrew: I felt like Oprah when I said that.
Micah: You could do like a time-lapse thing.
Andrew: [laughs] A time-lapse? Yeah. No, but again, it's just going to be really great for the fans and having a West Coast location is going to introduce a ton of new people who otherwise would never get the opportunity to do this. I mean, there's a ton of people living on the West Coast who would probably never think about going to the East Coast to a theme park because there are theme parks already here. So, that's another - and it's a good sign for the future of Harry Potter parks around the world as well. I know in The Wall Street Journal article that originally leaked this information, they said that if Hollywood was also a success, they were going to look into adding parks around the world. So...
Micah: That's awesome.
Andrew: ...good news. And let's see, the studio tour. Now, [laughs] this is something we also talked about earlier, but again big announcement and it's England's finest Harry Potter attraction now.
Eric: Yeah, and it's at the studio where Potter was recorded. Actors reported there daily to film these things. The other cool thing about it is that it's opening in March of next year, it's not four years away as is the Universal expansion. This is something we're going to see a return on a lot sooner, and by "return", I mean a return on our excitement for it because we can go there, tickets are already on sale or made available. And yeah, it's going to be something really tremendous.
Micah: Yep. I mean, like you said, Andrew, [laughs] we touched on it a lot earlier talking about what the pluses and the minuses are, and whether or not it's going to kill the magic...
Micah: ...that a lot of people [laughs] have for the series but I think it's going to be really cool and just listening to what a lot of the actors and even the producers have had to say about opening it up to the public - I mean, they seem really pumped and they really like the idea I think, especially Warwick Davis. He said he might even do tours there.
[Andrew and Eric laugh]
Micah: In a joking way, I'm sure, but to think I guess as being an actor and actress to have the ability to go back to those sets pretty much anytime that you want.
Micah: I'm sure that they don't have to pay for admission there. [laughs] So, just to go and revisit that anytime that you want has got to be a pretty cool experience.
Andrew: That is cool, yeah, especially when you have grandkids. Dan Radcliffe can take his kids back and be like, "Look what I used to be a part of."
Eric: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: And finally, Harry Potter Home Entertainment Celebration. This was in a way the first ever official Harry Potter conference, so to speak. I mean, it was a multiday event in Orlando around the release of Deathly Hallows - Part 2 on DVD, and it was also Warner Bros.' way of kind of sending off the series once again. I feel like there's been a lot of send-offs this year, but this felt like the most final of them all. Eric was there, of course. Eric, do you think they will do these in the future maybe? More Home Entertainment Celebrations or just more multiday park events?
Eric: I don't know.
Andrew: Official ones?
Eric: That's a good question. This seems pretty - it didn't feel like the last one. It felt really well done, though. I think it was kind of a bigger send-off than I thought it would be, actually. They had several events planned, not just for the press, but also for the public in terms on Q&As. And there were over a hundred press outlets there which is just a huge number of people to kind of logistically make time for between all the celebrities and stuff. So, I don't know if they're going to do it again, but it would be a shame not to, because they seem to have a real mastery over the layout of the park and making sure that everything kind of went really, really smoothly. I'd feel really kind of hurt if I never made it to another official celebration again from Warner Bros. But at the same time...
Eric: ...it was done really well, so I also kind of just would feel nostalgic for the first one. So yeah, it was a good celebration. Again, it was bigger than I thought it would be, but it had its purpose and it was a bit interesting to see - because of all the celebrities that were there, to see - to watch them reflect on being in the park which is nothing to do with the actual movies, but still to do with Harry Potter.
Micah: And this was the first real event, right, that was in the park since the opening took place?
Eric: ...in terms of real event and you bet. I mean, they built the stage that they had for the grand opening, they brought that back. They had special lighting, special signs that was like the Ministry of Magic wording that said, "Magic is happening behind this wall," or something. It was crazy. It was really kind of fun how they transformed it to - they made it their own which is unique, I think, because you never think of the Harry Potter - I mean, who else would make the Harry Potter park their own but Warner Bros.? So, that was really cool.
Andrew: And now we turn to the fourth annual MuggleCasties. This is - we have a variety of categories. We asked everybody to vote in the poll over a 48 hour-ish period. Very pleased to say that we got over 8,000 responses.
Eric: 8,000 responses. You guys are awesome.
Andrew: 8,000 people voting, yeah. So, that was a great response, so we have some very - I would say very fair results here after getting results from a good sample of Harry Potter fans. The first category is Biggest News Story, and we just ran through some of them but in the poll, we listed: Pottermore, all the theme park news, Deathly Hallows - Part 2 being released worldwide, and then the Potter films going into the Disney Vault. And for anybody who doesn't remember that story, that's Warner Bros.' decision and actually just about a week to cease production of Harry Potter DVDs in the United States. And they will go back on sale in the future, but for now you have to hurry up and buy them or else - because they're going into the Warner Bros. Vault forever. So anyway, the winner with 47% of the vote...
[Eric makes drum roll noise]
Andrew: ...biggest news story is [pauses] Deathly Hallows - Part 2 released worldwide, with 47% of the votes. And Pottermore had 36%, theme park news had 10%, and the Disney Vault story had 6%. So, no surprise there. I mean, it's the final film.
Micah: No. I mean, I don't think there's much to talk about here.
Andrew: Yeah, that was kind of a throw-away one. We knew that was going to happen. [laughs] Next category is Biggest Impact on the Harry Potter Fandom. The nominees were: the Wizarding World expansion and the opening of the Wizarding World Hollywood, Deathly Hallows - Part 2 shattering box office records, and Pottermore Beta opening. So, these were sort of similar stories as the previous category. And the winner of this was with 49% of the vote, Deathly Hallows - Part 2 shattering box office records.
Eric: So, in terms of impact on the fandom, what impact did that news story have on the fandom? I guess it meant that...
Andrew: Well, I think it's a good send off. It shows that Harry Potter - it made it through eight films very, very successfully. It didn't drop off, you know what I mean? It wasn't like the more films came out, the worse it did. It was great to the very end.
Eric: Okay, that's a good way of seeing it. I understand.
Micah: [laughs] Yeah, I was surprised Pottermore did as well as it did in terms of having 29% of the vote.
Eric: Well, I mean, I think...
Eric: ...it is a big deal for that reason. It may not have been fully realized yet this year, but it's a promise for the future.
Micah: Or you could argue, though, that you're surprised it didn't do better, but maybe all the negativity surrounding the Beta launch caused it to...
Micah: ...not do as well in the poll.
Eric: ...I think that's probably what happened, which is interesting. We have to stop bashing it, [laughs] give Pottermore a chance to come back and be the biggest story of 2012.
Andrew: Mhm. So, next category is Best Returning Actor for Deathly Hallows - Part 2.
Eric: These are the specific movie awards and going back to - yeah...
Eric: ...just as a reminder, because the past few MuggleCasties, we were blessed every year with a new film to sort of talk about. In 2007, we had Movie 5. I guess maybe there was one year where we didn't, but when there was a film that came out that year, we've done sort of specific Best Actor, Best Scene, that sort of thing, awards, and these are those for the final Harry Potter film.
Andrew: The nominees are: Dan Radcliffe, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, and Ralph Fiennes. The winner was [pauses] Broadway.com Sexiest Man Alive...
Andrew: ...Alan Rickman with 70% of the votes.
Micah: Wow, 70%
Andrew: That surprised me. Was that because he died?
Eric: Best Returning Actor. The way I view that category, too, is which actor - which of all the returning actors - which actor really stood out in this latest film. So yeah, I guess I'd say - especially with the scene where he's cradling Lily, Alan Rickman deserves this award.
Micah: See, I actually - when I voted in this...
Eric: Me too, actually.
Micah: ...I actually voted for Ralph Fiennes.
Andrew: Yeah, I think he had the most impressive growth. I did as well.
Eric: But how did he do? How many percentage?
Andrew: Oh, Ralph Fiennes got 5% of the vote, but not as bad as Michael Gambon who got 2% of the vote, and Dan Radcliffe got 23%. So, Rickman obviously had a clear lead there.
Eric: Yet again, Dan Radcliffe is in Alan Rickman's shadow. We're going to start something. [laughs] We're totally going to start something here.
Andrew: Best Returning Actress for Deathly Hallows - Part 2. The nominees were: Emma Watson, Julie Walters, Maggie Smith, or Helena Bonham Carter. This was actually a tighter race, but the winner was Emma Watson with 50% of the vote exactly, followed by Maggie Smith with 24% and Helena Bonham Carter, very close behind with 22%. Only about a hundred vote difference between those two. And then Julie Walters, unfortunately she only had 4% of the vote, but I guess she wasn't that big of a role, character, so...
Eric: Yeah, I guess not. I mean, she does have that famous scene, of course, but it just seems...
Andrew: But that's interesting how Dan Radcliffe got 23% of the vote as Best Returning, but Emma Watson got 50% of the vote as Best Returning. You know what I mean?
Eric: I think - yeah, I think it's a real mode of confidence on Emma - or rather satisfaction between the fans and what Emma did in the last film.
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