Warner Bros. movies will not switch to HBO Max after 45 days in theaters

News of the recently announced merger of HBO Max and Discovery+ has created a series of strategic diversions, from cancellations to ad-supported platforms, leaving customers wondering where they stand in this streamer limbo. According to Decider, the notoriously movie-friendly HBO Max streamer is making some big changes in terms of which movies will be released and when. After announcing second-quarter results on August 4, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery David Zaslav acknowledged the company’s move from the “Project Popcorn” era to a “case-by-case basis” when it comes to which movies are available to subscribers.


After surging HBO Max subscribers profitably after what they internally dubbed “Project Popcorn,” Zaslav is once again wielding his metaphorical ax to chop off subscriber access to movies by the knees, all in the name of his “strategic shift.” This project was a concept of the former CEO of Warner Media Jason Kilar In the process, Warner Bros.’s entire 2021 movie slate simultaneously swamped the streaming service, and subscribers were enjoying movies after just 45 days out in theaters in 2022. After HBO Max’s delayed launch in 2020, Kilar’s methods proved lucrative, boosting those of the service of subscribers worldwide to 73.8 million by the end of 2021, adding 11 million this year alone. As of its second-quarter earnings call on Aug. 4, recently merged Warner Bros. Discovery (which offers both HBO Max and Discovery+) had 92.1 million subscribers, not knowing how many HBO Max has earned since 2021 alone.

Under Project Popcorn, fans were privy to blockbusters like The Batmanmain role Robert Pattinsonand Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore just 45 days after its theatrical release. With an HBO Max subscription, you get HBO Max originals, including the now infamous ones bat girl, were promised to their subscribers under Kilar. Without wasting any time, a number of exclusive HBO Max originals have quietly disappeared from the streaming service, no longer available to subscribers for the monthly fee, but are available to purchase or rent for an additional fee. Under this new regime Baz Luhrman‘s over $200 million blockbuster elvis will no longer grace HBO Max in the coming week as previously intended, although a WBD source assures the film will eventually make its way to streamers – no word on when.

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In the second quarter conference call, Zaslav stated:

“This idea of ​​expensive movies being streamed direct, we can’t find any commercial reason for it. […] We are making a strategic change. We were out and about in the city and talked about our commitment to the theater exhibition and the theater window. A number of films will be launched with shorter windows.”

In the wake of the pandemic, cinema saw a tremendous tipping point in terms of consumers and how they interact with theatrical releases, and the industry has taken a number of steps to restore Hollywood’s iron fist. While some directors make intentional efforts to get their films to hit the big screen glasses Using IMAX and cinematic nostalgia, others are turning to other things, demanding a 100-day theatrical release window or no dice. Considering the latter’s direct malice towards HBO Max, in which director Christopher nolan, in his infinite wealth and wisdom, declared it the “worst streaming service,” it seems those words were taken to heart. For subscribers, this means more big changes.

While the main appeal of HBO Max was the rapid implementation of big blockbusters and HBO originals like An American cucumber With Seth Rogen, it appears that service is being scaled back on both. In the results conference call, Zaslav didn’t disclose whether originals like New Line’s 1990s reinterpretation house partymain role Jacob Latimore, (which was also quietly removed from its release schedule) was something the service would continue to produce in the first place. Likewise, the future of brands like Studio Ghibli, TCM, Criterion and Crunchyroll is up in the air as they were not mentioned under his streamer umbrella in the CEO’s presentation.

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