Official word is in and Warner Bros. has moved Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from its November 21, 2008 release date to July 17, 2009.
Warner sudio chief Alan Horn said,
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.
On the bright side it means it won’t be such a long wait until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One on November 19, 2010.
Half-Blood Prince will now release the same day as Land of the Lost and one week following 2012.
So far the two Potter films released in summer earned $292,004,738 for Order of the Phoenix and Prisoner of Azkaban brought in $249,541,069. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone made $317,575,550, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets made $261,988,482 and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire made $290,013,036 all in November. The numbers are close enough that it appears it doesn’t matter when a Potter film is released, the numbers are still the same so perhaps it is a move for quality as opposed to greed, which I am sure many fans will assume.