Completely a marketing strategy decision which is likely to piss off every Harry Potter fan out there, Warner Bros. have made the decision to push back Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from it's November release date, to July 2009. It will open day-and-date in domestic and worldwide markets on July 17th.
Alan Horn, President and Chief Operating Officer at the studio said...
"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 filmschanging 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."
The decision has nothing to do with the quality of the film or any lengthy last minute changes. In fact by all accounts it would seem the film is complete and in the can, post-production sounds like it was completed a while ago.
The release dates of the last two Harry Potter movies (which are Parts I and II of the final book) will not be affected by this move, except that the window between them will now obviously be shorter.
The July 17th slot had been taken by Brad Silberling's Land of the Lost over at Universal and I don't think anyone would be surprised to see that movie find a new date, not wanting to go head to head with Potter in the fantasy market.
Soon after the news of the move, Walt Disney Pictures announced they would release their animated movie Bolt on that day in November 21st, five days earlier than previously.
If you ask me, the movie was going to make a gazillion dollars anyway, I can't see why opening in a packed Summer instead of a little quieter November/Christmassy release would make much difference? Potter to me always feels like a Christmas release rather than a Summer tentpole.
Why not give the fans what they deserve when the movie is already complete?
source - coming soon