In a surprise move, Warner Bros. has moved back the release date of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” from Nov. 11 to July 17, 2009.
In a statement, Warner president Alan Horn said part of the reason for the shift was the writers strike, which left the studio in a bit of a dearth of tentpoles.
“Like every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions 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,” he said. “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.”
The studio had hoped to have movies like super-hero group “JLA” ready for the summer season, though that movie ultimately was delayed indefinitely.
Warner released the last Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” July 11, 2007, and it became the second-largest entry from the series after the first movie.
The studio said it still plans to release the two-movie adaptation of the final book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows,” as planned, with the first part still on for November 19, 2009.
“Half-Blood,” which translates the sixth book to the big screen, is being directed by David Yates. According to the studio, post-production was been completed on time.