'Harry Potter' among release date revisions

Will open July 15; 'Perfect Getaway' moves to Aug. 14

Film distributors continue to jockey for position just weeks before the start of the summer boxoffice season.

In the two latest maneuvers, Warner Bros. moved up "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" to a midweek domestic bow on July 15, while Universal slipped another wide opener into summer's final month with an Aug. 14 slotting of horror thriller "A Perfect Getaway."

Warners initially had the latest "Potter" sequel set to unspool last November before postponing its bow until July 17. The latest move -- to a Wednesday opening -- is in keeping with the studio's established pattern with "Potter" pics that debut in the summer.

"We just wanted to wait to get a look at the competitive environment before doing it," Warner Bros. president Dan Fellman said Wednesday. "But the last one opened up to $44 million on a Wednesday, so there's certainly no reason not to do it this time."

"Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" opened in July 2007 and grossed $77.1 million over its first five days, ringing up $292 million overall domestically.

"Getaway," which had been unslotted, is now set to compete against a whopping four mid-August wide openers. Those include Warners' literary adaptation "The Time Traveler's Wife," Sony's scifi film "District 9," Summit Entertainment's youth comedy "Bandslam" and Paramount Vantage's used-cars laugher "The Goods: The Don Ready Story."

Uni distribution president Nikki Rocco said the rival openers target different audiences and aren't a concern.

"We likely having an action thriller in that corridor," Rocco said.
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