Harry Potter is climbing on his broom and flying into next year.
Warner Bros. has decided to bump the release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” from Nov. 21 to July 17. Shift puts it up against Universal’s bigscreen adaptation of “Land of the Lost,” starring Will Ferrell.
In response, Disney has moved its animated feature “Bolt” up a week into the open November slot.
Move comes as Warner Bros. is looking for ways to beef up its summer schedule, which had been light on major tentpoles — a result attributed mostly to the writers strike, which kept the studio from developing big-budget pics.
Last-minute move comes as Daniel Radcliffe appears this week on the cover of Entertainment Weekly’s fall movie preview, published by WB parent Time Warner.
Outside of “Terminator Salvation,” which it is distribbing for Halcyon, Warners had a summer lineup that featured mostly small comedies and genre fare like the Todd Phillips laffer “Hangover,” Robert Rodriguez’s “Shorts” and “Final Destination 4 3-D.”
“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,” said Alan Horn, prexy and chief operating officer of Warner Bros.
Sixth installment of the “Harry Potter” franchise will open day-and-date internationally.
Last “Harry Potter” installment, “The Order of the Phoenix” earned $938 million worldwide during summer 2007. It also bowed in July.
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” based on the final book in the series, will not be affected by the latest release-date shuffle. It will still be split into two parts to bow in fall 2010 and summer 2011.