In an unexpected move, Warner Brothers has announced Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been pushed back from a mid-November 2008 release all the way to July 17, 2009.
We assume that with this move, EA will will follow suit and delay the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii videogames based on the film to next July as well.
Alan Horn, President and Chief Operating Officer at Warner Brothers, describes the reason behind the big move as follows:
“Our reasons for shifting Half-Blood Prince to summer are twofold: we know the summer season is an ideal window for a family tent pole release, as proven by the success of our last Harry Potter film, which is the second-highest grossing film in the franchise, behind only the first installment. Additionally, 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. 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.”
Providing further assertion the move will not impact the series negatively, Jeff Robinov, President of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, added the following:
“The release date change does not alter the production schedule for this or future Harry Potter films. Post-production on Half-Blood Prince was completed on time, and the studio’s release plans for the two-part Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ will not be affected by this change. We know Harry Potter fans are eagerly anticipating seeing the final chapters unfold onscreen. In fact, the good news for them is that the gap will now be shortened between Half-Blood Prince and the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
The other big news in this announcement is David Yates confirms shooting on Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows will commence in February and preparations are already well underway with the cast.