Harry Potter month

4 tips for a HP movie marathon

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A couple of years ago, a bunch of friends and I decided to do a Harry Potter movie marathon – it was great fun, of course, but also trying at times!  In case you’re interested in doing a movie marathon of your own, here are four tips based on our experience.

Think about the timing

The total run time of all eight films is 19 hours and 40 minutes according to Pottertalk. Realistically, you’re going to want bathroom breaks, time to change over the discs, a chance to stretch your legs, various food and drink stopping points and maybe a quick powernap (though we didn’t risk it!), so assume a 24 hour window to be safe.

Once you’d factored in people’s lecture times/friday night plans etc, our choices were starting late on Friday or at some point on Saturday.  We decided to start on Saturday morning, rather than later in the day, which worked pretty well for our movie marathon – it gave people the chance to destress on Friday night, rather than finishing lectures and then going straight into it.  People started on a full night’s sleep instead of after 12 hours of being awake which definitely helped too!  We started at 10am Saturday, and finished 7 or 8am Sunday.

The people are key

I think more than anything else, the people could be what make or break a movie marathon.  As much as a movie marathon of just Matt and I sounds cosy and relaxing, I know we would never be able to sit and watch films for that long straight, because when there’s only 2 of you, it’s far too easy for one person to talk the other person out of it.  If there’s only two of you and the other person decides they don’t want to do it anymore four hours in, you’re pretty much stuck – you could try and convince them to keep going, but if they’re not enjoying it, they’ll probably ensure you aren’t enjoying it either!  You could try and keep going on your own, but let’s be honest, it’s not the same.  If you know the whole group is fully committed, a small group could work well, but we decided to go for a big group both for motivational purposes, and a party-like atmosphere!

There were seven of us in total; one left about halfway through film two, and another gave up on staying awake during one of the later films and left for a nap, so five of us in total who sat through the lot.  It worked pretty well having such a big group, because everyone had different favourites, which kept enthusiasm up when people might have been waning.

Get comfortable

The one disadvantage we had of being a group of seven is that there just weren’t enough sofas!  When you’re sitting down for pretty much 24 hours straight, comfort is key, so do whatever you can do be comfortable!  For us, that meant pyjamas, duvets, cushions and switching seats between every few films so that no one got stuck on the floor for too long.  Layers are great, because while you might feel toasty warm at lunch time when you’ve just had a pizza, you’re a couple of hours in and the sun is shining through the window, but things might not feel so warm when it’s 2am and the overall energy levels of the room would make a sloth look energetic.

Prepare with ALL of the snacks!

We chose to do a big group trip on the Friday night to stock up on our snacks (mostly so that we could sleep in as late as possible on Saturday before starting!), and there was a huge range in what people bought.  Everyone stuck to convenience stuff – no one wanted to face cooking, and when you’ve only got half an hour or maybe an hour and seven people need to eat, sharing kitchen space can get scary!  First of all factor in your meals – for us, that meant lunch, dinner and maybe breakfast.  People bought everything from ready made sandwiches to pot noodles to pizzas to ready meals for lunch and midnight snacks, and pastries were popular breakfast choices.  We agreed beforehand that we’d have chinese takeaway for dinner so we didn’t have to do any preparation for that except make sure we had the money and a menu!

Snack wise, we had an amazing amount of crisps, popcorn, chocolate and biscuits, but also things like sausage rolls or fruit.  Go with what works for you – are you the sort of person who can quite happily eat an entire packet of maryland cookies and doritos, or do you want lots of different things?  Will just eating sugar leave you crashing hard, or will avoiding the sugar leave you like a zombie?

Make sure to factor in drinks too, especially if you’re having loads of salty foods like crisps and pizzas!  Fizzy drinks, fruit juices, water, flavoured waters, milk, hot chocolate – all viable options!  Alcohol is a maybe but be sure it won’t put you to sleep, and I wouldn’t recommending having it for the full marathon (although maybe you’re just more hardcore than I am!).  A lot of our group had energy drinks but I’m crazy sensitive to caffeine so I stuck to fizzy drinks during the day, and hot chocolates over night.

For both food and drink, I’d definitely advise getting more than you think you need and planning ahead – trying to co-ordinate a large spur-of-the-moment takeout order among a big group always seems to take forever, particularly if people don’t have cash and so on.  And the last thing you want is to run out of food at 4am when everywhere is closed!

HAVE FUN!  Above all of course, the most important thing is to just enjoy it!

11 thoughts on “4 tips for a HP movie marathon

  1. Oh just reading this makes me want to start planning for my own group HP marathon!! I’d have to plan meals differently though because of my food-sensitivities but I’m sure I could just whip up some stuff before hand and get some Micheline-approved snacks at the ready XD I like how you said that just you and Matt wouldn’t have worked because I think that the same would happen to me and Brian. He’d get restless or tired and then I’d be stuck. In a bigger group though, there would be more motivation plus we could peer-pressure any friends who would want to give up LOL! And starting in the morning after sleeping in sounds like the best bet! Thanks for these great tips Faith!!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Harry Potter Month (5)My Profile

  2. When OotP first came out, my sister, dad, and I went to a HP movie marathon in the theaters. We got there at 9am and it didn’t finish until about 1 or 2am. It was something else. All you can eat popcorn was also provided with our tickets and we found out there is only so much popcorn you can eat in one day. It was an awesome experience, but it was LOOOONG. And that was only five movies! I don’t think I could do a whole marathon. Every now and then my sister and I will marathon a tv season, but only if it’s short like 13-15 episodes, and even then I get antsy. You’re right about needing more people to make it through the marathon.
    Christina recently posted…My Harry Potter CollectionMy Profile

  3. This sounds like soooo much fun. All of my friends would crash so hard though and never make it through more than 2. My son and I watch The Lord of the Rings trilogy in a day, but we take an entire weekend to get through Harry Potter. We normally watch 2 a day, but we’ve pushed it to 3 – 4 when we were in a HP movie marathon mood.
    Jaclyn Canada recently posted…Harry Potter Moment of the Week [72]My Profile

  4. I would LOVE to do an HP movie marathon one day, but I doubt that I have the required stamina, lol. My three cousins and I have talked a couple of times about watching all 8 films straight through together, but as much as we all love HP, I think only one of us could actually stay awake that long. These are all fantastic tips, though, and if we ever do attempt the marathon, we’ll definitely keep these in mind! 🙂

  5. These are some great tips! I’ve never actually had a marathon of all 8 films, but during my first year of university, just before film 7 was released, my flatmates and I decided to watch the first 6 films together. I’m pretty sure we chose a Saturday, too, and we started at around 10 in the morning. We were in university accommodation so we just ended up piling into my little room as I was the one person with the TV! It was a lot of fun, though. 🙂 I encourage everyone to come in their pyjamas and to bring pillows and blankets and snacks, and we had a really great time.

    I’d love to have a marathon of all the films now, and I’ll certainly be keeping these tips in my mind if and when I do. 😀
    Jess @ Curiouser and Curiouser recently posted…Be, Room, Cliff | Harry Potter MonthMy Profile

  6. I’d love to do a marathon of all 8 movies! The last time I did a marathon, it was before Half-blood Prince. We made it through most of Goblet of Fire before all of us fell asleep. We weren’t nearly as prepared as we should have been! This post is great, and I’ll definitely take some of these tips into consideration next time I try this feat! 😀

  7. Just reading this post makes me want to have a massive Harry Potter marathon, but I don’t think I would be able to watch all 8 movies in a row! I do think it’s a super fun idea though, and you do need the right people and the right drinks and PYJAMAS. Lots and lots of pyjamas. I think I’d go for friends who provide a bit of commentary while watching. Normally I find this really annoying, but since I know the movies by heart, it’s nice to have a little fun with it. Finding innuendos and such. 😉
    Inge @ Bookshelf Reflections recently posted…The Villain Is the One That You Came to SeeMy Profile

  8. Thanks for this!! I’m planning a HP movie marathon and 19 hours is definitely a bit daunting. Of my best friends, one is total potterhead (like me) and the other hasn’t even seen any movies, so we’re trying to convert her!!! I’m excited but also a bit nervous that we’ll all fall asleep around Half-Blood Prince!

    One thing I found funny was when you mentioned Maryland cookies- I live in Maryland, USA but have actually never heard of them. I had to look them up! 🙂

    One question: do you have any suggestions as if I should plan in bathroom breaks/food times or just take breaks when we need them?

    Thanks again!!!
    -Rachel

    1. We tried to stick to a “between films” rule, though some people were more rigid than others about sticking to it! Good luck with the movie marathon, and I imagine actual Maryland cookies are probably nicer than the packet ones here, but it’s hard to go wrong with cookies 😉

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