The Facebook page for the Colonial Theatre in Belfast was busy in the week leading up to the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” the eighth, and reportedly final, installment in the popular film adaptations of the equally popular series of fantasy novels about an adolescent wizard in training.

Among the comments were questions about advance ticket sales, details on the Colonial’s free screenings of the first seven “Harry Potter” movies, the special midnight premier of the new film on July 14-15, some general giddy chatter of anticipation, and this comment:

“All the WONDERFUL movies out this summer and the only change you’re making this Friday is for Harry Potter? Getting so frustrated with missing out on many great movies.”

Directed at a theater with an elephant on its roof, located in a city that has flirted with “cool art town” status for several decades, the comment seemed like it was headed toward a request for obscure selections from small film festivals. Stuff with subtitles, handheld cameras, unusual plot lines, non-white protagonists…

As it turned out, the movies that the commenter wanted to see — “Bad Teacher,” “Horrible Bosses,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2,” “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” — were probably playing in every theater complex with more than three screens.

There are other movies out there, of course — more great movies than ever, according to Colonial Theatre owner Mike Hurley, who credited the surge in the sheer number of new films to technological improvements that have put cheaper, higher-quality equipment in the hands of aspiring filmmakers.

The problem, Hurley said, is that in his experience nobody comes to see them.

The latest “Harry Potter” is going to be a blockbuster, and everyone knows it, including the movie companies — who, in exchange for the all-but-guaranteed crowds, require that theaters run the film for a minimum of three or four weeks.

The film finale of what may be the most successful adolescent/adult literature crossover in history will probably prove to be a standout at the box office, but Hurley said a minimum-run requirement is typical for most major releases like “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” or “The Hangover.”

In practical terms, the potential of a big draw is a good thing for the Colonial — the theater struggles to bring people in during the off seasons, Hurley said — but having one of three screens tied up for a month also means, as the Facebook commenter noted, that other movies just pass Belfast by.

“We’re running a three-screen theater in, like, a 12-screen world,” Hurley said.

As a result, certain seasons, particularly summers and the winter holidays, are virtual blackouts for anything but the big-ticket movies.

Until about three years ago, Hurley would try to make up for this at the end of the season, picking the best eight or 10 movies that he said the Colonial “should have played” but didn’t, and showing them over the course of a week.

These mini-festivals — titled alternately “Blockbuster Release” and the “Tundra Dwellers’ Series” — were meant to be the reward for all those ardent moviegoers too refined for the camp and blitz of the big Hollywood movie seasons, a better-late-than-never chance to see the post-millennial equivalent of “Jules and Jim.”

After all, scores of people had told him how much they wanted to see the independent, the offbeat, the rare art films, hadn’t they?

Yes, but as Hurley found out, this didn’t mean they were willing to pay to see them at the Colonial. Or maybe they didn’t actually want to see them. Whatever the reason, the crowds failed to manifest.

“We’d have 30 people come,” Hurley said. “In a week.”

At one point, Hurley convened a group of these local, would-be movie aficionados — who he has come to describe in less-than-glowing terms — and tried to set up a subscription system that would have allowed the Colonial to screen more obscure films without taking all the risk. Nobody wanted to pony up, he said. But they remained adamant that the Colonial should show the films they wanted to see, anyway.

“They’re fanatical about shooting off their mouths about how, ‘We love these movies,’ and what they really want is ‘The King’s Speech,'” said Hurley.

Which would have been fine except that movies like “The King’s Speech,” or “Slumdog Millionaire” — offbeat films that strike a chord with a wide audience, become widely distributed, nominated for awards, etc. — only come along once a year, or once every two years, he said. For a businessman like Hurley, they were nothing to bank on.

“It’s like putting steak on the menu,” he said. “If nobody orders steak, it ain’t gonna be on the menu.”

Growing up in Boston, Hurley said he used to go to all the art house films. In the late 1960s, everyone did — “It was the cool thing to do,” he said. This may have been an urban phenomenon even then, he conceded. But Hurley said he believes the demographics have changed, too. Or not changed, depending upon how you look at it.

Hurley said most of the people he sees in the audience for even slightly off-center picks, like the new Woody Allen film “Midnight in Paris,” are of the baby boomer generation.

And then, what about today’s young adults? Why aren’t they going to the movies?

“It’s not fast enough for them,” Hurley said. “They’re YouTubing ‘cat disasters’ or something. They’re not really moviegoers. They go to ‘Transformers’ and ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Harry Potter,’ but it’s pretty rare to run into [young adults at non-mainstream, non-juvenile movies at the Colonial]. It’s older people.”

While sandwiching “Midnight in Paris” — a film Hurley described as “a travelogue for old, white people” — between “Harry Potter” and “Cars 2” may sound like a fairly safe bet, Hurley said finding a mix of films that appeals to local moviegoers is complicated and takes constant vigilance.

According, a website that aggregates movie distribution and sales statistics, the last Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1,” was shown at 4,125 theaters at its widest distribution. “Bad Teacher” and “Horrible Bosses” have each topped out at slightly more than 3,000 theaters, and “Midnight in Paris” reached 1,000 theaters at its peak distribution.

From there, the curve drops off precipitously. The most popular of the Swedish film adaptations of Stieg Larsson’s best-selling crime trilogy — “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” etc. — was barely shown in 200 theaters. The Colonial, however, showed all three of the films.

“I’ve doing this for 16 years and I have to use my best senses,” Hurley said. “And I don’t do it casually. We have long debates. We go to [conventions in] Las Vegas. We see movies. We go to screenings. We talk to people. We agonize about what we’re going to be playing and when. And we do it trying to pick the best movies that the most people will want to see. That’s what it comes down to.”