On Halloween, The Dark Knight retreats. HBO Max, who will be bringing hundreds of hours of DC-themed content to their streaming platform soon when DC Universe gets out of the streaming-video game, is losing a handful of DC movies on October 31, including the two-part animated adaptation of Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. In fact, animated Batman films of all shapes and sizes dominate the list, which also includes Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker; Batman vs. Robin; and Batman: Gotham Knight. The sole live action movie on the list is 2011's Green Lantern. The Ryan Reynolds bomb will be leaving the service, but Man of Steel will keep its seat warm, which feels like more than a fair trade.
Earlier this month, DC announced that DC Universe will be relaunching next year as DC Universe Infinite, a premium digital comic book subscription service. The change will test-drive an initial launch on January 21, 2021, before expanding globally in summer of 2021. DC Universe's original series, including Titans, Young Justice, Doom Patrol, DC's Stargirl, and Harley Quinn, will be moving to HBO Max -- as will the classic content on the platform, from Shazam! and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman to animated TV shows and films.
Stargirl is an oddity in the offerings, because it is headed to The CW exclusively for its second season. In its first season, the series aired expanded episodes for streaming on DC Universe and then slightly shorter, network-length cuts the following day on The CW.
When HBO's latest app launched, a lot of viewers were wondering where some of the no-brainer movie selections were on day one. But, better late than never and Warner Bros. is turning up the heat with their efforts to get all of that amazing DC Universe content over to HBO Max.
In addition to the classic and contemporary DC Universe content, HBO Max is slated to launch a number of DC-branded shows and movies, including Zack Snyder's Justice League, Peacemaker (a spinoff of The Suicide Squad from filmmaker James Gunn and star John Cena), and a new series that centers on the Gotham City Police Department, set in the world of Matt Reeves's The Batman.
The DC channel is one of a number of brands HBO Max is using as landing pages to aggregate popular content and drive new audiences to the app. It also has the benefit of more than 40 years of feature film and 50+ years of TV content, meaning that the likes of Harry Potter and other popular WB brands will almost certainly never "catch up" to the footprint DC can have on the app.