Harry Potter fans who don't own physical copies of the movies may have a reason to sign up for another streaming service. HBO Max, WarnerMedia's big play in the direct-to-consumer market, has launched as of today in the U.S. and it brings with it a ton of content from the Warner Bros. library. Though they weren't expected to be part of the lineup at launch, all eight of the original Harrry Potter movies are available to stream for subscribers.
The Sorcerer's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows parts 1 and 2 are all streaming on HBO Max. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is also available. This is big for the newly-launched service, as the Wizarding World entries aren't streaming on any other major service right now. The only option for fans is to rent or purchase them through a digital marketplace. The original eight movies grossed $7.7 billion at the box office, making it one of the most successful franchises in history.
HBO Max aims to take on Netflix in the streaming game. This is something that virtually every studio and media company is doing right now, with Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access, Apple TV+, Disney+ and Hulu (which is also owned by Disney) already out there the NBC-branded Peacock is set to launch later this year. Speaking of NBC, Warner Bros. has previously reached a deal with NBCUniversal for the Harry Potter movies to stream on its networks. The deal was inked in 2016 and went into effect in 2018. Because of this, it was largely expected that the series would be absent from HBO Max at launch. Seemingly, WarnerMedia cut a deal to amend that.
HBO is one of the strongest brands in WarnerMedia's library, which is why they decided to brand the service as such. It does, however, open the door for possible confusion. HBO Go and HBO Now are already available. HBO Go is the streaming option available to those who subscribe to the channel via cable, satellite or other traditional methods, while HBO Now is a standalone service that costs $14.99 per month. HBO Now, on the other hand, is a new service that includes all HBO has to offer and much more, including shows like Friends and South Park, as well as movies such as Joker and A Star is Born.
HBO Max costs $14.99 per month as well, which is on the high-end for a streaming service. HBO subscribers are eligible to upgrade for free. WarnerMedia intends to spend $4 billion on content over the next three years for the service, much of which will go to licensing fees for big shows. It is expected that an ad-supported version will launch sometime next year. Those who wish to give it a try can get a seven-day trial over at the official HBOMax.com website.