The Next Harry Potter Movie Pushed Back to July 2009

The release date for the sixth Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” was pushed back on Thursday to July 2009 from its original slot in November 2008, movie studio Warner Bros. said.

The eight-month change in the opening date to July 17, 2009, is expected to disappoint millions of Harry Potter fans around the world who have already been waiting more than a year to watch the next big-screen installment in the international literary and film phenomenon.

Trailers for “Half-Blood Prince” began running last week in advance of the expected November movie release worldwide.

Warner Bros., a unit of Time Warner Inc, said it had decided to make the change to bolster its release schedule for the lucrative summer moviegoing season — a period that can account for as much as 40 percent of Hollywood’s annual box office receipts.

Warner Bros. President Alan Horn said the studio was also still feeling repercussions from the three-month Hollywood screenwriters strike that ended in February but has “impacted the readiness of scripts for other films.”

“We know the summer season is an ideal window for a family … 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,” Horn said.

The studio said the change of date would not alter production plans for the final, two-part Potter movie adventure, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” The release date for part one is tentatively set for November 2010.

“Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and last story from British author J.K. Rowling about the boy wizard and his friends at Hogwarts School, was published in July 2007. The series has sold an estimated 400 million copies, and the books have been translated into more than 60 languages. (From

Stephen King Talks To Time Magazine About ‘N’

For an über-best-selling author of good old-fashioned books, Stephen King has always seen the promise inherent in the Internet. It’s a medium designed to get as much content to as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. And there are few people who have as much content as King. In 2000, he debuted his novella Riding the Bullet exclusively on the Web; more than 400,000 downloads were recorded in the first 24 hours. At the time it was a staggering number. This month, King is dipping his toe into the Internet yet again.


To promote Just After Sunset — his first volume of short stories in six years — King’s publisher, Scribner, has teamed up with Marvel Comics and CBS Mobile to produce and distribute an online comic adaptation of a previously unreleased story from the collection.

Running at two minutes per “episode” until Aug. 29 (for a total running time of about 50 minutes), N. is accessible through its website (, available for purchase at iTunes and Amazon, and even downloadable to cell phones — ironic, given that in King’s recent novel Cell, the mobile-phone network became a conduit for a global pandemic. The experiment is an example of the kind of outside-the-box thinking that publishers have had to engage in to try to reverse a steep decline in readers.


“It’s almost impossible to predict where the lightning’s going to strike on the Web,” says King, who spoke to TIME from Maine, where he is working on his next novel, Under the Dome. “People want to harness the Web — everybody from my publisher to movie studios to groups like Radiohead. But nobody really knows how to do it. It’s like trying to herd cats.” King well knows the perils (and potential embarrassments) of trying to attract analog readers through digital means. Riding the Bullet was a success, but an online serialization of The Plant — an e-book also released in 2000 — ceased after King, in a rare moment, publicly ran out of creative juice.


The online version of N., King’s 54-page story about a psychologist whose obsessive-compulsive patient is entranced by a mysterious plot of land, is a hybrid of several media, using images, music and voices. “It’s kind of a video comic book,” says King. Others have recently attempted similar projects, referred to as “motion comics.” Warner Bros. (which is owned by Time Warner, TIME’s parent company) has released a Batman-related Web series and a motion-comic adaptation of the acclaimed graphic novel Watchmen. Yet N. has been specifically constructed to appeal to the short attention spans of cell phone and Web users. Images are drawn and inked by Marvel Comics artists with voiceover talent provided by Simon and Schuster Audio. The result is a kind of animated audiobook — and a big advertisement for the upcoming story collection, with a prominent link to pre-order the book on the website.


“The point of the exercise is to stimulate book sales. It’s a combination of desperation and creativity,” says Susan Moldow, King’s editor and the publisher of Scribner. “I’m not the first person to observe that books are in a little bit of a crisis. And we want to be able to provide our content in whatever platform people are going to turn to.” Moldow, who is giddy about a potential new way to plug her authors’ books (“If you’re a publisher and you don’t have a little P.T. Barnum in you, you don’t belong in the business”), says producing “trailers” is another way publishers have tried to make book publicity more dynamic.


King, though a willing partner, is a bit more cautious about the experiment’s potential for success. “I kind of soft-pedaled everybody’s expectations for this,” he says. “People who surf the Net are hop-toady about it. They’ll find something and alight on it for a while, and then their interest wanes and they’ll go somewhere else. It’s so quirky as to what’s going to work and what’s not.” And though, as one of the top-selling fiction authors of all time, King doesn’t have to worry about selling books in large numbers, he is less certain that his loyal (and undeniably older) readers will take to a video comic book from him. “In a pop-cult sense, I’m over,” he says matter-of-factly. “But take someone like Stephenie Meyer. The kids love her, and they spend huge amounts of time on the Web. If she were to pull out a vignette from those novels and put it online like we’re doing, that baby would go viral. There’s no question about it.”


The N. project arose out of King’s special relationship with Marvel Comics. The comic-book company has already published a dozen issues of a series based on his epic Dark Tower novels, which are among the company’s best-selling titles. On Sept. 10, Marvel will begin a 30-issue run of The Stand, King’s 1,200-page-plus novel about a superflu that decimates the globe. It’s fairly easy to figure out why King’s work adapts so easily to comic form, says Ruwan Jayatilleke, a senior vice president at Marvel, who was executive producer of N. “A lot of Steve’s work translates visually. That’s why so much of it has been adapted for film and TV. There’s a tremendous amount of detail that goes into the plotting and the characters.”


What’s also obvious to anyone who has picked up a King-based comic or seen one of the dozens of movie adaptations, is that the author is quite nonchalant when it comes to others messing around with his words. “I’ve got my own work to do, and all this is something else,” he says. “To me, when I finish with something, it’s like dead skin. And if people want to make dead-skin sculptures, that’s fine. Just give me my cut.” (Reprinted from Time Magazine, Tuesday August 12, 2008 )



Stephen King: How TV Ruined Baseball

Yes, it’s a column about baseball. But before you click away (grumbling, ”If I wanted to read about sports, I’d subscribe to Sports Illustrated), let me add it’s also about TV and greed. Have you ever noticed that those two simply go together like peanut butter and jelly, or ”Cheech?

This subject has been on my mind since 2004, when the ”Red won the World Series for the first time in 86 years, finally put the Curse of the Bambino behind them…and my baseball-mad oldest grandson missed the game because it was on way past his bedtime (his dad woke him for the postgame celebration, and good for him).

I tabled the subject then, even though ”event” baseball games regularly appear in EW’s ratings box, but my disgust with Major League Baseball has continued to grow, and finally came to a head during my last visit to Fenway Park, when the PA announcer informed us that the seventh-inning stretch was being sponsored by Coke. And that’s not the worst. In 2004, MLB okayed a plan to put advertising for Spider-Man 2 on the bases during interleague play. Fan outrage killed the idea, but that it should have been raised at all is depressing. Sometimes you just want to say to the suits running America’s pastime, ”Have you no shame? Is there nothing you won’t sell? No disgrace you will not visit on this wonderful game in order to turn a buck?”

When I was a kid (the sort of line that invariably indicates your correspondent is growing old and curmudgeonly), children could still watch baseball on TV. I saw Don Larsen’s perfect World Series game after school and danced for joy around our apartment even though Larsen was a hated Yankee. In the years that followed, more and more teams began to play more and more night games. The reasoning was simple: Lots of working guys couldn’t go to day games. What the reasoning ignored was the ever greater emphasis on televised baseball. Yet those early TV pioneers were pikers compared with those selling the game today, with whole cable networks like YES and NESN pretty much devoted to the idea that baseball is just another prime-time TV series.

But at least regular-season games are telecast at regular hours — most start at seven or seven-thirty. You can even take a kid to a 7 p.m. game on a weeknight, although he or she is apt to fall asleep in the car on the way home.

But thanks to the unholy alliance of Fox and MLB, most ”event” TV baseball might as well come with an Adults Only tag. And the fans in the stadium? They’re likely to find themselves shivering in their seats until midnight or later, due not only to late starting times but also to extra-long inning breaks, stretched so the network can sell more beer and deodorant. The spectators are in effect reduced to cheering extras, with this added kick in the butt: They pay for the privilege instead of getting paid. Oy, such a deal for the network. And the kids who buy the posters, T-shirts, and trading cards get warmed-over TiVo in the morning. Too bad, of course, but Fox has to sell lawn tractors and the latest big-bang Guy Flick. Sorry, kids, but when money talks, you guys have to take a walk.

This year’s All-Star Game is a particularly disgusting case of how the game has been pimped out by the very people who pretend to care about its traditions. Fox came on air at 8 p.m. on July 15, and bingo, there go the 6- and 7-year-olds: Sleep tight, kiddies. The game actually started around quarter of nine (there go the 8-year-olds). It rolled past midnight with the score tied (there go the teen-agers and working stiffs) and finally ended at 1:38 a.m. on July 16. Duration of game: almost five hours. At 15 innings, it would have ended late no matter what, but if the first pitch had been thrown at 7 p.m., the game still would have been over before midnight. But hey, the kids don’t buy Bud or lawn tractors, so to hell with them.

I tell myself I’m cynical — hardened to all this — and mostly I am, but I’m still amazed at how corrupting television can be…although there’s no doubt MLB has loved being corrupted. Someone ought to give them a pants-down butt whippin’. Except I’m afraid it’s already too late. As one ESPN commentator put it recently, ”Commerce trumps conscience every time.” (Reprinted from Entertainment Weekly)

Rescue Me: Minisode 8: “Clue”

“Clue”- Sometimes even fire won’t stop the forces of nature. Lou, Franco, and Garrity engage in a battle of words and wits with a new game, while waiting for Mike the probie to finish his work. Watch Season 5 of Rescue Me on FX, Spring 2009.


Rescue Me: Minisode 7: “Sandwich”

“Sandwich”- Lou and food go together like, well, Lou and food. Tommy (Denis Leary) and the boys enjoy a freakish food treasure hunt that sends Lou to the “bad” place, or more accurately Vinnie’s in Bay Ridge. Watch Season 5 of Rescue Me on FX, Spring 2009.


Rescue Me: Minisode 6: “Supreme”

“Supreme”- Tommy’s (Denis Leary) dreams and nightmares follow him everywhere. When he steps out for a night in old New York, the women catch his eye, but past regrets and fiery demons catch his mind. Watch Season 5 of Rescue Me on FX, Spring 2009.


iHome iP47BT Clock Radio & Speakerphone for iPhone

The iP47 ($199) supports Bluetooth technology, so you can wirelessly dial and receive calls through its speakerphone function and more easily read caller ID information on the large LCD display. Its dual alarm clock radio allows you to wake and sleep to your iPhone music, radio, or buzzer and to set separate alarm times and days. Stream your music wirelessly from your A2DP Bluetooth-enabled device through the Reson8 speaker chambers to enjoy beautifully enhanced audio sound. The iP47 also includes a full function remote control.


Chris Harne’s Extensive Condiment Packet Collection

Chris Harne collects something unusual.

On his website, The Condiment Packet Gallery, you can view his huge collection of…condiment packets.

On the site, he describes his collection process in great detail:

“I carefully remove the contents of my packets by slicing open the back along the bottom seam with a sharp blade. I rinse the inside of the packets thoroughly to ensure all traces of sauce are expelled. I then wait until the packets are completely dry before I place them in baseball card cases to preserve them cleanly and safely for many generations.”

If you have a packet that he is missing, you can send it to him.  Instructions can be found HERE.  In return, Chris will send you a cool pin.


He would be jealous of my accumulation of restaurant straws.


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