Sirius issues: Harry Potter fans will debate films vs. books at Nitehawk

Sirius issues: Harry Potter fans will debate films vs. books at Nitehawk

It’s a defense against the dark arts of film adaptations!

Fans of the Harry Potter books and lovers of the movies will battle it out in a debate over which medium is better at Williamsburg’s Nitehawk Cinema next month that the organizer expects to have all the competitiveness of the Quidditch World Cup without the high risk of serious injury.

“It’s going to be battle royale but it will lighthearted,” said Caryn Coleman, senior film programmer at the theater.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Potter tome’s release, Nitehawk will screen all eight films across weekends starting Jan. 7, and serve themed snacks and drinks including both alcoholic and booze-free versions of butterbeer.

Then on Jan, 12, it will be wands at 20 paces when book lovers — comedian Alise Morales and fan convention impresario Aliza Weinberger — face off against film fans Matthew Jacobs, an entertainment reporter at the Huffington Post, and movie critic Matt Zoller Seitz.

Each side will have 15 minutes to make their case across four different categories — casting, story line changes and omissions, film to book consistency, and visualization — and can use short clips from the movies to support their arguments, said Coleman.

“They’re going to be discussing if casting exceeded their expectations on the film side, or if the books lived up what they imagined in their heads,” she said. “We’re going to talk about all the pros and cons.”

Coleman herself is already torn between her loyalties as a cinema employee and a devotee of the source material.

“I feel predisposed to say the film will win, however a lot of books don’t come across the same in a movie,” she said. “I don’t really know who will win — I feel it will be the books but it should be interesting.”

As for the rest of the screening series, Coleman expects super fans of the franchise to come out in costume to relive the magic, but she also hopes to attract some newcomers to experience it for the first time.

“It will be like binge-watching a new television show,” she said. “You could have never seen Harry Potter, but it’s a good opportunity for new and diehard fans.”

“Harry Potter 20” at Nitehawk Cinemas [136 Metropolitan Ave. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, (718) 782–8370, www.nitehawkcinema.com]. Weekends Jan. 7–Mar. 26. $12 ($9 kids). Debate is on Jan. 12 at 7 pm. $16.