'Harry Potter' To Arrive Two Days Early

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LOS ANGELES — Harry Potter and his school chums are heading back to class a little sooner than expected.

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" now is opening Wednesday, July 15, two days earlier than its previous release date, Warner Bros. head of distribution Dan Fellman said Tuesday.

That gives the movie a head-start on the weekend during what's shaping up as a highly competitive summer season for Hollywood, which has major franchise films opening virtually every week.

"Every day the kids are out of school in summer is just like an extra Saturday," Fellman said.

Warner Bros. also opened the franchise's most recent release, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," on a Wednesday in July 2007.

It's the second date change for the sixth installment in the adventures of the boy wizard. "Half-Blood Prince" had been scheduled for release last fall until the studio bumped it to this July to take advantage of an open weekend in the busy summer lineup.

The franchise stars Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, with Emma Watson and Rupert Grint as his best pals at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.