Smelling more dollar signs with a summer release, Warner Bros. has surprisingly shifted the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince from November 21 of this year to July 17, 2009. If that date sounds familiar, it was the same one that the studio unleashed a little something called The Dark Knight this year. Surely, Warner doesn't think that the sixth Harry Potter could reach the same heights as the latest Bat-flick, currently on its way to become the second highest grossing film in history? Execs say the film is completed, so fans will now have to wait eight more months to see Half-Blood Prince thanks simply to studio greed. Nice.
Taking advantage of the switch, Disney is moving up their animated comedy, Bolt, from November 26 to November 21. Smart move, as the lack of a Potter-sized competition should help the toon, which is lagging in the buzz department (not surprising considering its lackluster trailer). As it stands now, Bolt will be the only fresh family friendly game in town come Thanksgiving.
On the other side of the situation, expect some shuffling of release dates of would-be blockbusters to get out of the way of the Hogwarts juggernaut, most notably Will Ferrell's Land of the Lost.
UPDATE: And the shuffle begins: Twilight -- a.k.a., "the next Harry Potter" (as its studio keeps trying to convince us) -- has claimed the November 21 spot left in the wake of the wizard's departure.