The sixth Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, originally scheduled for a November 21 release, has now been moved to July 17, 2009 in the US and major international markets, according to MarketWatch.com. WB has confirmed the move to TLC.
The press release says the reason for the move was two-fold: First, the studio says summer releases are better for "family tentpole" events, and second, they are still feeling the aftereffects of the writer's strike and need the time to make sure the film reaches the widest audience possible.
The new date, said Jeff Robinov, president of WB's motion picture group, does not alter the production schedule for the last two Harry Potter films; filming on the first of the two book-seven films will begin in February. "The good news for [fans]," he said, "is that the gap will now be shortened between 'Half-Blood Prince' and the first part of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.'"
The writer's strike, the release says, "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."