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Warner Bros. hurries up ‘Harry’

U.S. opening bumped up two days

Harry Potter will be back two days earlier than scheduled as Warner Bros. has moved the U.S. opening of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” from July 13 to July 11.

The shift places the debut of the fifth Potter pic on a Wednesday. “We think that it gives the hardcore fans a few more days to see the film,” said Warner spokeswoman Andrea Marozas.

The Stateside launch of “The Order of the Phoenix” will now match up with the first foreign openings in such markets as Belgium and France. The previous four pics have combined for worldwide grosses of more than $3.5 billion, with two-thirds of that from overseas markets.

“The Order of the Phoenix” will open a week before J.K. Rowling’s final book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” goes into bookstores on July 21. The six Potter books have sold more than 325 million copies worldwide.

Disney employed a similar strategy on a lesser scale last weekend with “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.” It decided in mid-May to launch in the U.S. with Thursday screenings at 8 p.m. rather than starting at midnight, and wound up adding $14 million to the pirates’ treasure chest.

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