Three months after HBO Max launched with the full set of eight core “Harry Potter” movies, the octet of titles about the Boy Who Lived will be rolling off the WarnerMedia service in August.
Fans of Harry Potter’s Wizarding World have a little over five weeks left to binge on the eight films based on J.K. Rowling’s novels on HBO Max, with the titles expiring on Aug. 25, WarnerMedia announced Monday.
Rowling has recently become embroiled in a firestorm of criticism over her comments regarding transgender identity. A source familiar with the status of the Harry Potter films on HBO Max told Variety that the removal of the movies from streaming service stems from standard licensing terms that are unrelated to the controversy.
At the same time, HBO Max in August also will be adding films including the slate of DC’s Batman movies — including the 1989 “Batman,” “Batman & Robin,” “Batman Begins,” “Batman Forever,” “Batman Returns” and “The Dark Knight” — as well as “Blade Runner: The Final Cut,” “Elf,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Ocean’s Eleven,” “Wedding Crashers,” “Jojo Rabbit” and “Richard Jewell.”
HBO Max also is launching DC Entertainment’s “Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)” on Aug. 15, as well as animated series “Harley Quinn” seasons 1 and 2 on Aug. 1 (which premiered on Warner Bros.’ DC Universe service).
As of Aug. 25, the following movies will no longer be on HBO Max: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” Parts 1 and 2.
When HBO Max launched May 27, it featured the surprise inclusion of the Warner Bros. “Harry Potter” movies, but it turns out that was only for a three-month carve out on streaming rights. Back in 2016, NBCUniversal inked a deal locking up TV and digital rights to the fantasy movies (including “Fantastic Beasts”) from 2018-2025 that also incorporated content for Universal theme parks. It’s not known whether the streaming rights for the “Harry Potter” films in the U.S. are moving to NBCU’s recently launched Peacock. The eight films, released between 2001 and 2011, rank as the third highest-grossing movie franchises in history with a worldwide haul of $7.7 billion (behind Disney’s Marvel and Star Wars).
Meanwhile, other titles rolling off HBO Max next month include as of Aug. 28 “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” and as of Aug. 31, “Dumb & Dumber,” “Full Metal Jacket,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Love Actually,” Quentin Tarantino’s”Kill Bill: Volume 1″ and “Kill Bill: Volume 2,” and 2004’s “The Spongebob Squarepants Movie.”
Last month WarnerMedia angered DC fans after saying several titles would be exiting HBO Max — before it reversed course. In mid-June, the company said “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Justice League,” “Suicide Squad” and “Wonder Woman” would be leaving HBO Max as of July 1. But after a fan backlash, the company said that “by popular demand,” HBO Max had extended the availability of those titles through December 2020.
HBO Max, which WarnerMedia has positioned as essentially a replacement for legacy HBO (priced at the same $14.99 monthly price), remains unavailable on Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV amid a prolonged dispute over distribution terms. The streamer also is missing from other platforms, including LG and Vizio TVs.
A list of what’s coming to HBO Max — and what’s expiring — in August 2020 is available at this link.