The early look for Harry Potter film turned out to be a whole lot earlier. In the last-minute move, Warner Bros. has just announced that the studio is pulling â€œHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Princeâ€ from its fall lineup and rescheduled it for July 17, 2009.
A Warners publicist stressed that word about the rescheduling had only just come down todayâ€”which is most likely true, given that the Half-Blood teaser trailer is already in circulation. As of tomorrow, it will run with the new animated â€œStar Warsâ€ movie, almost certainly still trumpeting a fall release date.
On the reason why the film was pushed out of fall, the studio released a statement that summertime is the â€œideal window for a family tent pole release.â€ But this, presumably, is not something the executives just figured out this morning.
The Warners release statement also indicated: â€œ[L]ike every other studio, we are still feeling the repercussions of the writersâ€™ strike, which impacted the readiness of scripts for other filmsâ€”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 â€œHalf-Blood Princeâ€ to July, where it perfectly fills the gap for a major tent pole release for mid-summer.â€ Prior to the movie, Warnersâ€™ had a blockbuster, â€œTerminator Salvationâ€ with Christian Bale, set for Memorial Day, but not much else.”
Other sources outside the studio are claiming that moving Harry Potter film will also stop next yearâ€™s profits from looking seriously underwhelming after the phenomenal success of â€œThe Dark Knight.â€
A rival studio executive revealed: â€œThey donâ€™t need the money this year anymore. When a movie over performs the way Dark Knight has, you really donâ€™t need Harry Potter in the fall.â€
On the seriousness of moving a â€œHarry Potterâ€ film so late in the game, the executive added, â€œTurning a battleship that big isnâ€™t easy. Youâ€™re not talking just about the movie, but all the merchandising, the toys and stuff. Itâ€™s huge. And it has a domino effect across the rest of the summer slate.â€
Changing of the date will also affect other studioâ€™s slate. July 17 is currently home to Will Ferrellâ€™s â€œLand of the Lostâ€, but Universal may quickly move to safer ground.
Warnersâ€™ press statement stressed how proud everyone is of the movie and tried to preempt any suggestion that something might be amiss, creatively or otherwise.
Half-Blood was directed by David Yates, who also helmed last summerâ€™s Order of the Phoenix, the biggest global hit the franchise has had since the first film debuted in 2001.