Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince release postponed to 2009

Warner Bros. Pictures has moved back the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to summer 2009.

The sixth installment of the blockbuster Harry Potter franchise will now open day-and-date domestically and in the major international markets on 17 July, 2009.

The announcement was made by Warner Bros president and COO Alan Horn.

Horn 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 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."

Warner Bros. Motion Picture Group president Jeff Robinov added, "The release date change does not alter the production schedule for this or future Harry Potter films. Post-production on Half-Blood Prince was completed on time, and the studio’s release plans for the two-part Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will not be affected by this change. We know Harry Potter fans are eagerly anticipating seeing the final chapters unfold onscreen. In fact, the good news for them is that the gap will now be shortened between Half-Blood Prince and the first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

David Heyman, producer of all the Harry Potter films, said, "When Jeff Robinov explained the rationale behind moving the release date of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to July 2009, it was immediately apparent that this offered us the potential to reach the widest possible audience. I am extremely proud of this latest film and of the work of David Yates and our incomparable cast; I believe we have developed and pushed the series further still. We are all looking forward to sharing it with Harry Potter fans around the world, even if we have to wait just a bit longer."

In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again.

The movie is directed by David Yates and stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson along with Jim Broadbent, Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, Warwick Davis, Michael Gambon, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall, David Thewlis and Julie Walters. The cast also features David Bradley, Jessie Cave, Frank Dillane, Tom Felton, Matthew Lewis, Evanna Lynch, Helen McCrory, Natalia Tena, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Bonnie Wright.