Harry Potter, Iron Man. Iron Man, Harry Potter.
The final, still-untitled Harry Potter movie will open July 15, 2011, Warner Bros. confirmed today, setting the young wizard up for a wand-to-armor matchup with Marvel/Paramount's planned Iron Man-led blockbuster, The Avengers.
Elsewhere, Warners penciled in its own in-the-works superhero flick, The Green Lantern, for Dec. 17, 2010, and pushed Robert Downey Jr.'s non-Iron Man vehicle, Sherlock Holmes, back six weeks, from Nov. 13 of this year to Christmas Day.
The Harry Potter movie previously had been down for a general, Summer 2011 opening.
"It's funny because there are only a half-dozen films in 2011 [with release dates]," Exhibitor Relations box-office analyst Jeff Bock tells E! News, "and they picked that one."
Funny, yes. Deliberate, definitely, according to Bock.
"Warner Bros. didn't blink when they saw [The Avengers'] release date and title, and it's up to Paramount to make the next move," Bock says, adding he expects The Avengers to eventually get a new release date.
Sherlock Holmes and 2012 know all about showdowns that don't happen. By moving the Downey adventure to Christmas, Warners gets the movie out of the way of Roland Emmerich's latest sci-fi epic, which was, and still is, set to open Nov. 13.
Green Lantern, about the ring-bearing Justice League of America member of DC Comics fame, is in the script stages. No cast or director has yet been announced. The Avengers, about the Marvel universe's own superhero team-up group, is expected to be chaired by Downey's Iron Man.
Iron Man 2, also starring Downey (natch), is down for a May 7, 2010, release.