Warner Brothers has just announced that the upcoming Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie has been delayed. Instead of being released November 21st this year, it has been moved to July 17, 2009.

Warner Brothers states that their reasons for the change “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.”

In other words, WB doesn’t have any summer blockbusters for 2009, due to their own mismanagement, and they’re shafting Harry Potter fans by moving a surefire blockbuster to a summer release. The writers’ strike that they so readily blame is partially their fault, and yes, it probably is a contributor to their lack of summer films.

WB also says “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.”

Translated from PR-speak to English, “We have no plans (yet) to change the release dates for the two films that will be made for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The Half-Blood Prince movie is finished, but we won’t release it as scheduled because we want to make sure we make a ton of money next summer.”

Great job, Warner Brothers. You’ve ensured that you’ll have good quarterly earnings next summer, and you’ve enraged Harry Potter fans worldwide. But we’ll all see the movie anyway, won’t we? You don’t have to worry about us boycotting the film, because there’s no way we’ll resist going on opening day, whenever it is…

If you’ll excuse me, I have a bunch of web pages and countdown widgets to update…