Surefire hit: Rupert Grint as Ron, Emma Watson as Hermione and Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in 'Half Blood Prince'.

The recession has proved no match for the magic of Harry Potter, with cinemas around the country reporting unprecedented demand for the sixth movie in the series, which opens in Ireland later this week.

Some cinemas say advance bookings for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince will mean that most weekend showings of the film will be sold out by Monday or Tuesday. Ken Green from the Savoy in Dublin says the cinema is already fully booked up for the first Friday of screenings, with very few tickets left for subsequent showings over the weekend.

"We are incredibly busy in terms of the advance bookings and for those hoping to get tickets it is important to keep in mind that we are already heavily booked up. This film is without a doubt attracting the highest level of interest so far this year," says Green. "We anticipate being completely booked up over the next few days and from our dealings with other cinemas across the country it is the exact same situation there too."

A spokeswoman for Cineworld cinemas said they saw a heavy volume of enquiries and bookings within hours of the tickets becoming available for sale. "There is an amazing amount of interest and we will be putting two more days of screening on sale very soon."

Movies@Dundrum will offer 15 screenings an evening to cope with demand. It will hold a number of Harry Potter parties in the cinema.

Every Harry Potter film has featured in the top five of the annual box office ranking, taking in large sums at the Irish box office, said Lisa Shanley of Carlton Screen Advertising.

"The highly anticipated release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince will be top of the must-see list for droves of children, teenagers and adults alike. In 2007, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix ranked in third position pulling in an estimated €4m," she said.