HBO Max giveth, HBO Max taketh away: The streaming service surprised early adopters when it announced that all eight “Harry Potter” films would be available at launch, but the films will be leaving the platform as quickly as they came.
WarnerMedia announced a slew of upcoming HBO Max additions and departures on Monday, which include the removal of the “Harry Potter” films on August 25. A handful of other popular films, including “Full Metal Jacket,” “Magic Mike,” and both volumes of “Kill Bill” will also be leaving the platform at the end of August.
IndieWire has confirmed with sources that the impending “Harry Potter” removals were due to licensing windows. It is unclear if or when the films will return to the platform.
Though unrelated to HBO Max removing the titles, “Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling has come under fire in recent weeks due to her comments on transgender people, which garnered pushback from several actors, including “Harry Potter” actors Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.
HBO Max’s departing films were announced several days after news broke that NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which launched on July 15, will also be losing several popular titles. Peacock will be losing “The Matrix” trilogy, “Shrek,” and the first three “Jurassic Park” films, among others, at the end of the month due to licensing reasons. The slew of impending removals suggests that just because the streaming services are new, there’s no reason to believe popular titles will be permanently available on a specific platform. Older streamers such as Netflix and Hulu also regularly remove titles due to licensing reasons.
While HBO Max’s goodbye to the “Harry Potter” may disappoint subscribers, the streaming service will be adding a variety of titles in August, including “All the President’s Men,” several “Batman” films, “Elf,” both seasons of DC Universe’s “Harley Quinn,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Kung Fu Panda,” several “Leprechaun” films, and “Wedding Crashers,” among others.
HBO Max is also beginning to release original content at a higher rate. Animated adult comedy series “Close Enough” and the “Expecting Amy” recently premiered on the service, while the Seth Rogen- and Sarah Snook-led “An American Pickle,” HBO Max’s first original feature film, is slated to premiere on August 6.