The long goodbye

Harry Potter celebration kicks off record-breaking weekend; vote for your favorite character now

Harry Potter celebration kicks off record-breaking weekend; vote for your favorite character now

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Fans anxiously awaited the end of an era at CityCentre's Studio Movie Grill. Courtesy of KTRK Houston/Channel 13
News_Harry Potter party_CityCentre
Young Potter fans wielded wands as they celebrated the release of the eighth and final film. Courtesy of KTRK Houston/Channel 13
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A host of characters showed up at the event, including Hagrid, Ron, and Severus Snape! Courtesy of KTRK Houston/Channel 13
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A young Harry Potter waits to be counted in attempt to set the Guinness World Record. Courtesy of KTRK Houston/Channel 13
News_Harry Potter party_CityCentre
Even the Dark Lord could not stay away from the festivities. Courtesy of KTRK Houston/Channel 13
News_Harry Potter party_CityCentre
News_Harry Potter party_CityCentre
News_Harry Potter party_CityCentre
News_Harry Potter party_CityCentre
News_Harry Potter party_CityCentre

For those who grew up with the Harry Potter franchise, the release of the final installment of the films is a truly sad event. To mark the end of an era, many celebrations have popped up worldwide for the opening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, including one in our own backyard of CityCentre.

Fans gathered for the midnight showing Thursday night to celebrate the undeniable fact that all good things must come to an end by shopping for their own wands at a makeshift Ollivanders and attempting to set the Guinness World Record for the most Harry Potters in one place.

The highlight of the gathering was the wildly creative costumes typical of such premieres. Many fans were dressed in typical Gryffindor robes, while others opted for less traditional characters. Dolores Umbridge was in attendance, as well as He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named and a lion, Gryffindor's mascot. There was even a group of House Elves, ears and all.

While the event did not quite live up to its billing of a transformation of CityCentre into Diagon Alley, it did seem to give revelers an opportunity to stretch out the party one last time. Instead of just lining up an hour before showtime, fans were able to make the whole evening a party and share the joy of Harry Potter with hundreds of their closest friends.

The movie set the record for midnight box office, bringing in a staggering $43.5 million in ticket sales. The old record was held by Twilight: Eclipse, which did $30 million from midnight showings last year. The Hollywood Reporter estimated the movie could have pulled in as much as $80 million or more at the Friday box office, the best single day gross of all time domestically.

For lots more photos of the CityCentre celebration from Channel 13, click here.

Who's your favorite Harry Potter character? Vote now in our latest CulturePoll. Right now, Hermione Granger leads with 16 percent, followed by Severus Snap at 13 percent, with Neville Longbottom and Dobby tied at 11 percent. Poor Harry and Ron Weasley trailed behind, at 6 percent each.