MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Diane Conner sat in a camp chair in front of the Base Theatre. Her three daughters, Laura, 16, Rachel 14, and Christine, 11, were assembled around her on the steps. Dozens of other folks were lined up behind them, but only about 10 or so were in front of them. That was key.
Though the Conner family and those around them did take note of the blazing July heat, they had a mission to accomplish which superseded consideration for personal comfort.
It was Harry Potter time, and it was a long time coming.
“We’ve seen all the movies, read all the books, enjoyed them all. We just want to continue with the installment,” said the mom.
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the fifth movie in the seven book/movie franchise, came to Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune July 10 for a special free, sneak peak one day prior to the national debut of the film.
How should the base be so lucky?
Well, it turns out movie companies’ offer up certain films to installations through the Navy Motion Picture Service out of Millington, Tenn., according to Charlie Miller, the Base Theatre’s manager.
“The movie companies want to do good things for service members for all that they do for the country,” said Miller.
The program started in 2000, said Miller. Just recently, the Base Theatre has shown crowd pleasers such as “The Shooter,” “300,” “Transformers” and, of course, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” in special, complimentary showings.
The next free movie on the docket is “The Kingdom,” which is scheduled to take place Aug. 4 at 6:30 p.m.
As for Harry Potter, Miller had a feeling the movie would draw a large crowd. “When it comes to ‘Transformers’ and ‘Harry Potter,’ we just knew we were going to be packed,” said Miller. Though he said he was a little surprised some die-hard fans came out to sit on line starting at 11 a.m. July 10.
Back on the steps, the Conner family was just excited to be seeing the movie.
“I think it’s going to be sad,” predicted Laura. “I think it’s going to be scary, too, because Harry is facing Voldermort.”
When asked about the darkening of Harry Potter’s character in the movie, Christine was nonplussed. “My favorite character has always been Hermoine,” she said.
A few paces down, Damian Smith, 14, was standing with his friends. “It’s a good reason to get out of the house. It’s fun,” he said of standing in line to see the movie.
Just over from Smith, Natalie McCarthy, also 14, was sitting in a camp chair near a circle of friends.
“I’m definitely not the biggest Harry Potter fan, but I have read the books several times and I am excited about the movie,” she said.