WarnerMedia’s new streaming service launches today, and while it has plenty of content to recommend it — Friends, South Park, all the Studio Ghibli movies, all things Lord of the Rings, etc — at $15 per month, we’ve wondered if he was really gonna be able to compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+, which have substantial head starts.
But to its credit, WarnerMedia has been trying to step up its game lately. First we learned that the nigh-mythical Snyder Cut of Justice League was coming to the service, which should energize a certain subset of very passionate DC fan. And this morning, subscribers logged in to find all eight Harry Potter movies available to stream!
The reason this is making waves is because, up until literally now, no one thought WarnerMedia had the right to stream these movies. Back in 2016, before it had finalized plans for HBO Max, the company licensed the Harry Potter films out to NBCUniversal, meaning they could be aired on channels like USA and Syfy. Under that deal, WarnerMedia would have the chance to get the movies back in 2025.
But apparently they worked something out early! Literally yesterday, HBO Max content chief told Business Insider that making the Harry Potter available to stream was “high on our priority list.” He must have known they were coming by then, but apparently was keeping it under wraps. “I’ll just say there is active engagement around that discussion,” he said. “In terms of the marketplace, there’s a lot of opportunities for horsetrading. The marketplace is shifting, with the impact of COVID and different companies launching different services, and it creates a lot of opportunities for horsetrading. We’re seeing that across the board.”
Oh Kevin, you sneaky devil, you.
Well played, HBO Max. Oh, and the two Fantastic Beasts movies are also available, if anyone cares.