Muggles have something to be thankful for next year.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth movie based on J.K. Rowling's hugely popular fantasy series, will hit theaters just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday on Nov. 21, 2008, Warner Bros. has announced.
No word yet on a director or any casting news, but presumably the core players in the Potter films,Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, will return as, respectively, Harry, Ron and Hermione.
Half-Blood Prince will stakes out the traditional Thanksgiving window that the British wiz kid has dominated since he first cast his spell on the big screen in 2001's Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The only exceptions to the Turkey Day release strategy have been the third chapter, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which bowed in June 2004, and the upcoming fifth installment, Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix, due out July 13, 2007.
The holiday season has proven especially lucrative for Harry and pals. Sorcerer's Stone earned a Gringott-sized $317 million domestically, its follow-up, 2002's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, hauled in $261 million in North American ticket sales, while Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire snagged $289 million domestically. That's a combined $867 million in the U.S. and Canada alone.
The lone summer opening was less successful. Prisoner of Azkaban is the lowest grossing Potter franchise, conjuring up $249 million domestically.
The 672-page Half-Blood Prince arrived on shelves last summer and sold a whopping 6.9 million copies its first day in U.S. bookstores. The story, which picks up with Harry in his sixth year at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, focuses on the crisis Lord Voldemort and his followers pose as they challenge the authority of the Ministry of Magic. At the same time, Harry struggles to determine the identity of the Half-Blood Prince, the mysterious owner of a book of magic that aids him as he discovers more details about You-Know-Who's dark past.