I watched a 12:01 am screening of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince at Ward Theaters in Honolulu and was shocked at how many people were there. No, I didn't dress up. I happened to leave my Cho Chang costume in Boston.
Around 10:30 pm, the entire front staircase, down to the side walk and around the block was filled with people.
Every seat in the 8 open screens were filled. Lots of running happened in the theater (hard to imagine) and seat-saving; but, all was well with my group and we found seats together in the back of the front section. Several rounds of 'the wave' started 15 minutes before the movie and people clapped after every trailer (especially loud for New Moon, but no so much for Shorts). I clapped for Shorts to be obnoxious.
The movie started and I was already disappointed in the first five minutes, because the movie cuts out the first couple chapters of the book and Harry doesn't meet Dumbledore at a subway station, let alone consider relations with a Lauren Hill look-a-like. I gave up trying to compare Half Blood Prince to the book, because NO MATTER WHAT the book will always be better; however, the last book Deathly Hallows has the best chance of translating better on film, especially if it's being split into two films.
This sixth Harry Potter movie is going to have a lot of mixed reviews for it's lack of action but better acting. There were a lot of entertaining and comedic moments, and I think the Harry, Hermoine and Ron relationship is strongest in this movie (and same in the book). The movie feels rushed, but what can you do? It's a 600+ page book in 2.5 hours. In the end, the movie made me laugh and cry, and it did a great job building up for the last installment of the series.
The movie made me miss London. The double deckers, meat pies and pints. It's a good thing I visited Hogwarts before the Death Eaters destoryed it.