Warner Bros has just announced that they are moving Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from November 21st 2008, back to July 17th 2009. The reasons given are that the summer season is a more ideal window for for a family tent pole release, and that the writers strike left a big gap in the Summer calendar. I’m not quite sure if I buy the first reason. The three Potter films released in November averaged $916 million worldwide, while the two summer releases averaged $866 million worldwide, which is about a $50 million difference.

It’s also worth noting that ICE Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs opens two weeks earlier, Ronald Emmerich’s sci-fi disaster movie 2012 opens the week before, and Land of the Lost opens on the same day as the new date. The november release had virtually no competition until a month later when Twilight hit theaters on December 12th. The good news is that the release date change will not alter the production schedule for the future Harry Potter films, and the move will shorten the gap in-between.

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