Whatever happened to Time Warner synergy? That’s what Entertainment Weekly is snarkily asking online because its “early look at the new Harry Potter movie just a got a whole lot earlier”. My kudos to writer Jeff Giles who, perhaps for the first time in the recent history of the official magazine for receptionists, acually wrote something blisteringly honest about this oops in the movie biz instead of sugar-coating everything.
“In an irony sure to set blogger hearts beating giddily, the film graces the cover of EW’s new fall preview issue, which [just] hits stands. EW and Warner Bros. share a parent company, but they clearly do not share, you know, important friggin’ information…. A Warners publicist stressed that word about the rescheduling had only just come down today — which is most likely true, given that the Half-Blood teaser trailer is already in circulation. As of tomorrow, it will run with the new animated Star Wars movie, almost certainly still trumpeting a fall release date. The Potter movie is also on the cover of the fall preview issue of the British film magazine Empire. ”
Underscoring that maxim (“Don’t get mad, get even”), EW then proceeds to bitchslap the Warner Bros executives whose decision to push the film out of fall “presumably, is not something the executives just figured out this morning. Some outside the studio are already pointing out that moving Half-Blood will also stop next year’s profits from looking seriously underwhelming after the phenomenal success of The Dark Knight. ‘They don’t need the money this year anymore,’ says a rival studio exec. ‘When a movie overperforms the way Dark Knight has, you really don’t need Harry Potter in the fall.’ Asked about the seriousness of moving a Potter movie so late in the game, the exec adds, ‘Turning a battleship that big isn’t easy. You’re not talking just about the movie, but all the merchandising, the toys and stuff. It’s huge. And it has a domino effect across the rest of the summer slate.’
“…Like every studio that ever pushed a movie back in a hurry, Warners’ press statement stressed how proud everyone is of the movie and tried to preempt any suggestion that something might be amiss, creatively or otherwise. One clear winner here — apart from EW readers now in possession of a ‘Dewey Beats Truman’ collectible — is Disney’s animated movie, Bolt, which will now have the family audience all to itself come Thanksgiving. Could it be that Harry Potter is just scared of dogs?”