Gulp! Potter must die, says schoolboy star

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As record numbers of adults and children flocked to watch Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone this weekend, its schoolboy star was already confessing his wish to see the bespectacled hero's charmed life brought to an explosive end.

With cinemas UK-wide reporting their biggest box office booking figures, 12-year-old Daniel Radcliffe told how he hoped the boy wizard would one day be killed off in a dramatic final showdown with the forces of evil.

Referring to the battle with an evil wizard that spans all seven of JK Rowling's projected Potter novels, he told movie magazine Empire: "I think it would be quite cool if Harry dies and that's the only way that Voldemort can be killed."

Asked if he hoped to continue playing Harry throughout the sequence of films, he said: "I'd like to, but I think it's quite unlikely. They might not want me because I'll get too tall or become too spotty."

Cinemas across the UK were fast running out of tickets yesterday, with some, such as those in Portsmouth, reporting that they had only a handful left for screenings over the next couple of days.

At Odeon cinemas, some screens were specially re-named Screen 1 3/4 or 2 3/4, after the platform at Kings Cross Station from which the Hogwarts Express train departs in the book. Odeon reported that its ticket sales had already topped £2m by last night, and media analysts predicted that the £90m movie would easily outstrip Star Wars: Episode One – The Phantom Menace to become the biggest UK first day box office hit of all time.

As in Britain, the US saw the movie open on a record number of screens. However, some schools in the US were boycotting the film and book for fear it could lure impressionable children into witchcraft. About 100 students from Agassiz Middle School in Fargo were to watch the movie, but the trip was cancelled at the last minute amid pressure from parents and a local DJ.