David Heyman has been a producer on every single Harry Potter film, and he wanted fans to know that he feels their pain when it comes to the massive eight month delay of the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Recently he sat down with the good folks at Coming Soon and explained the reasons behind pushing the release date from next month all the way back to July of next year:
"I would love the film to come out in November; we would have been ready, but the fact is partly because of the writers strike and for whatever reason, Warners didn't have any movies next summer. They had Batman this year which was bigger than they ever thought it would be, so they came to me, and they said, 'David, we want to move it.' Warners has been really good to us. They've given us lots of money and lots of independence. It defies belief how much independence we have on these films. They give us the money, they read a draft of the script. I choose the director, we make the film, they come and visit. We show them a cut of the film, they say they like it, they give us some notes, we make the changes that we want to make. We test screen it once and show it to them, and then the movie is released. They've been so supportive that one has to support... they needed it. It's a film business."
There was never any doubt that it was a studio decision (much like what was done with the upcoming Star Trek movie's being pushed from December to next May), but at least he's throwing the fans a bone and letting them know that if it was up to him it would be released in November.
He went on to say that it will be weird to start working on the next film when the current one isn't even released yet. This one is done except for very minor "tweaks."
There have also been rumors that the delay was due to Daniel Radcliffe's appearance in the stage play Equus in the UK. The play is very popular and supposedly he wouldn't be able to break away next month to do press for the film. Personally, I think that's bogus.
Daniel Radcliff in a scene from Harry Potter 6
On the bright side, there will be a much shorter wait between part 1 & 2 of Harry Potter 7 (Deathly Hallows) than there will be between Harry Potter 5 & 6. The release dates on those should be November 2010 and Summer 2011, less than 9 months apart.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens on July 17, 2009.