Movies and Dates and Changes, Oh My

Aug 18, 2008

Posted by: Melissa Anelli


What were you doing when you heard that the movie would be postponed? Here’s how it went for me: I was on the phone with a friend, when –


“What? What?!”

“They moved the movie.”

“They what the whattie?”

“The movie. It’s moved! No, this isn’t true. Is this a spoof site? No, I know, this is not a spoof site. Hey, wait, there’s a WB logo. Is it April? What’s happening?!”

“Melissa, what the heck are you talking about?”

“What? July? Why July!”

“What July?”

“Half-Blood Prince,” I finally explained. “They moved the sixth Potter film to JULY! That’s like a YEAR AWAY!”

“Oh wow,” she said, and we both sat there fuming for a second. She spoke next. “So what?”

“Huh,” I said. “Yeah. So what?”

Then Alex texted. “WB just gave us another amazing summer.”

Then Matt texted. “SUMMER!”

And that was it, my initial surge of anger was gone.

Look, I get it: I get the frustration, I get the disappointment, I get that everyone was so excited for this film in November, I completely understand that people feel WB is just in it for the money and is using fans. I hear that loud and clear and it’s been ringing hard and fast into our inboxes for a few days now.

But seriously. Let’s all take a chill here, and do it point by point:

Frustration: Another year to wait. Yeah. That sucks. From a fan’s perspective, it completely something-I-shouldn’t-say-heres that we are essentially being postponed so that Harry Potter has a wider audience (yes, moviespeak for Wider Audience equals More Box Office Returns in English).

Disappointment: We really wanted it now. It would have been over a year since anything new Potter-related came out, and we have to adjust our schedules and plans around the shift.

WB in it for the money: Did you think they were in it for turnips? This is their job: It’s how everyone – from megabucks-making Dan Radcliffe to the just-getting-by (I assume) production assistants – gets paid. Making the most money is, for them, business sense and part of their jobs. I won’t say all of their jobs, because not a single fan can deny the lengths the studio has gone to (if not as far as some fans would like) to stay true to the source material. We’re not amping up the sex and explosions here, the way they do to max other movies’ potential. But at the end of it, yeah, this is what they do: They make films that make money for the studio. As much as they can. Is it altruistic? No. Do they do this at the 100 percent disservice to the fans? No. Is their first priority money? Well, I can’t say for sure, but I’d split it in two: On one side we have the creatives, the director/actors/etc, the ones whose first priority is making a great film. Then you have the business minds: The producers, the rest of the studio. Money has to be theirs to mind, because that means the director and the other creatives don’t have to mind it. If someone didn’t mind the money, if service to the fans was all that was considered, wouldn’t we have five two-part, three-hour-each-part films so far? At the end of the day WB is a business, and if it wasn’t a business we couldn’t have these movies at all. They wouldn’t have been able to buy the rights. They wouldn’t have had the luxury of involving the author at the beginning, instead of using the old tried-and-true method of ignoring the author of a work completely. They wouldn’t have been able to stick to an all-British cast. Heck, we may have even seen Haley Joel Osment as Harry and Spielberg introducing aliens to Hogwarts. Hi, no thanks.

Am I, and is Sue, and is John, and is Frak, upset by the change? Absolutely. Sue expressed on this week’s PotterCast that she thought it was more to do with the phenomenal success of Dark Knight (why have another blockbuster this year when you have a guaranteed one next?) than actually thinking that the summer is more of a “family tent pole” or whatever. Let’s face it, it’s not: HP1 came out in November, as did HP2 and HP4; it’s not like we all curl up on our couches in the wintertime and decide never to get to the cineplex. The only time I ever go to the movies with my whole family is Thanksgiving, and I know I’m not alone. As we said on the show, we wish it would have been worded differently: John wishes Alan Horn hadn’t said he’d seen the film, Sue wishes they’d have just admitted that Dark Knight has to do with this, and I think they both raise excellent points. The Dark Knight thing is possible – so is the possibility that the film isn’t quite ready, or simply isn’t good enough, and in that case I’d much rather they fixed it than release something subpar. I do think the writer’s strike had to do with the decision, as all of the industry really was affected by it. It was probably a technically true if not lay-it-all-out-there-on-the-table announcement; it was also probably closely reviewed and advised. I do think they should have given us enough credit to understand that they are businesspeople with business motives, but I’m not going to roast them over a spit for staying true to those motives. Boy, do I have other things with which to occupy my time, and I hope you do, too.

Beedle the Bard comes out on December 4; it’s not like we don’t have, oh, a whole new Potter-related book to celebrate or anything. And instead of bemoaning the two-year wait between movies six and the first part of seven, now we can bemoan the two-year wait between five and six, more than half of which is gone already.

Hey, we’re Potter fans. We’re good at the waiting. Screaming, having protests, doing sit-ins, making Facebook groups – it’s not going to help. It helped when there was an erroneous comma on a poster: moving a blockbuster movie back to November just isn’t going to happen. The announcement wasn’t going to be made until they were sure, and now that it has, what are we going to do about it? Scream and moan and cry? If that’s your option, that’s fine, that’s your choice and I totally respect that, and if this causes you to no longer be a fan, OK, I respect that too. But I just don’t have the energy. If you think WB is using you, well, you’re right: They’re using you to get your $10 at the theater. They always have been, and have always been upfront about that. They have to earn it by showing us that going there will be worth it. That will be just as true on July 17 as it would have been on November 21.

So, in short, relax, Potter peeps. Have some friends text you with excitement about next summer. It worked for me.

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.