HBO Max has finally launched and the new streaming service is bringing with it one of the most beloved film series of all time: Harry Potter. Yes, Harry Potter is owned by WarnerMedia and was always going to end up on HBO Max eventually, but there was no advertisement for the iconic wizarding films ahead of the launch, and none of the advertised lists included the movies ahead of time. Users were probably surprised to log on to HBO Max for the first time Wednesday morning and see all eight Harry Potter movies right there on the home page.
No one was expecting to see the Harry Potter films on HBO Max for a while and, up until its launch, the service couldn't say when they would be arriving. Fortunately, it appears as though WarnerMedia made a last minute play to have all of the movies available.
HBO Max seems to have gotten something done at the last minute to make all of the Harry Potter movies available, similar to what Disney did to launch Disney+ with the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you recall, only a few Marvel titles were supposed to be on Disney+ when the service arrived last year. However, when the launch day actually came, almost every movie in the franchise was available to stream.
According to AdWeek's TV editor Jason Lynch, that's what happened with HBO Max. WarnerMedia couldn't guarantee the Harry Potter films at launch, but were able to get them under contract at the last minute. The films were licensed through NBCUniversal through 2025, so it probably cost WarnerMedia quite a bit to get those streaming rights back.
Much like Disney+ negotiated at the 11th hour to get a much bigger portion of its Marvel library on the service, HBO Max managed to get the entire Harry Potter series on its platform for launch.— Jason Lynch (@jasonlynch) May 27, 2020
All of the beloved Harry Potter films are now available to stream in one place, but there is still one movie in the franchise missing from the HBO Max lineup. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them isn't included on the service at this time, likely because of a streaming deal that's already in place elsewhere. That said, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is streaming on the new service, since it was already available on HBO.
The big question regarding Harry Potter is now what Warner Bros. will choose to do with the property on the streaming service going forward. There will be original DC programs on HBO Max, will the studio pursue something similar when it comes to Harry Potter? Only time will tell.