HBO Max loses Harry Potter movies to big streaming rival

HBO Max will lose all eight Harry Potter films at the end of August.

Starting August 31, the original octet will leave the streaming service, marking the second time in three years that The Adventures of the Boy Wizard has left the platform.

For those in the US, the only place to stream the films for the foreseeable future will be on Peacock, which began streaming all eight films in early July. The Fantastic Beasts movies, however, will remain on HBO Max, as will The Cast Reunion which aired in early 2022.

When HBO Max first launched in May 2020, it offered the full Harry Potter collection, but only for a few months, with Peacock securing exclusive rights later that year. HBO Max secured the movies again in September 2021, but only for one year, and now they’re returning to Peacock.

While the Harry Potter series and its wider universe were made by Warner Bros. – the parent company of HBO Max – the origins of this agreement date back to 2016, when NBCUniversal entered into an exclusive agreement with Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution for broadcast and cable rights to the entire Wizarding World franchise, which runs until 2025. The deal is reportedly worth a colossal $250 million.

The move comes at a critical time for the franchise. 2022’s latest installment, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, grossed just over $405 million worldwide to become the lowest-grossing film in the Wizarding World franchise. Although plans are in place for two more films based on the series, Warner Bros. have been tight-lipped about his future.

Analysis: Warner Bros. is he done with Harry Potter?

Although it’s easy to see that the executives of Warner Bros. may be done with Fantastic Beasts, the studio’s commitment to the wizarding world remains strong.

In fact, over the weekend, reports emerged in Deadline (opens in a new tab) claiming that David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery (which oversaw a brutal cost-cutting regime that saw the cancellation of The Time Traveler’s Wife and period drama Gentleman Jack), caught up with Potter author JK Rowling. This reunion, it seems, was about a Harry Potter TV spin-off.

Reports of a Potter TV show have been bouncing around for a few years now, but there are no details on what kind of story might be told. Rowling retains a huge amount of creative control over the franchise, and Warner Bros. can’t do anything without his approval.

There are always rumors about the possibility of adapting Rowling and Jack Thorne’s hit play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, for the screen, and it might be easier to adapt something that has already proven to create an all-new spin-off. But who knows what Rowling and Zaslav have concocted? Whatever happens, we’re sure there’s plenty more to come from the Wizarding World.

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