Warner Bros. is moving the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince back to July 17, 2009. Why?
[R]epercussions of the writers’ strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other films — changing the competitive landscape for 2009 and offering new windows of opportunity that we wanted to take advantage of. We agreed the best strategy was to move Half-Blood Prince to July, where it perfectly fills the gap for a major tent pole release for mid-summer.”
True, as Entertainment Weekly recently pointed out, there aren’t many movies slated for summer 2009, even though we doubt this will be a problem eight months from now when the summer movie season actually kicks off. But it makes sense that Warner Bros. would seek this opportunity to create a summer tentpole from one of their most successful franchises (particularly since they had so much success this summer.)
Nonetheless, we wouldn’t be surprised if this move was also motivated by other issues at the studio. First, Warner, with its absorption of New Line Cinema, Picturehouse and Warner Independent now apparently has more movies than it knows what to do with. So many, that it’s reportedly shopping Guy Richie’s Rock N’ Rolla to other studios. The studio already moved New Line’s He’s Just Not That Into You back to February 2009 (Happy Valentine’s Day!) So it’s inevitable that Warner would be shuffling the deck.
Also, we can’t help but notice that Harry Potter was originally supposed to be released around Thanksgiving, which might have cut into the studio’s holiday marketing of “The Dark Knight” on DVD, as The Hollywood Reporter pointed out on Monday.
Warners has yet to slot the Batman sequel’s home video release, but well-placed sources said a December release is highly likely to tap into the lucrative holiday gift-giving season.
Assuming Warners releases “Dark Knight” in early- to mid-December on DVD, that would give the studio’s theatrical marketing team a tempting opportunity over the oft-lucrative Thanksgiving period.
Yet it’s unlikely the studio would want to create such a big market push as to deflect attention from its all-important holiday release “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” The sixth “Potter” film is set to unspool Nov. 21.
Now they can focus on promoting The Dark Knight on DVD, racking up more money for the caped crusader and Warner Bros.
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