F9, the latest sure-to-be blockbuster movie in the Fast and the Furious franchise, is finally set to hit theaters Friday, more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its theatrical release. Fans are sure to flood cinemas to celebrate F9 on the big screen, but for those who want to stay home, Fast and Furious 9 won’t be available to stream on HBO Max at the same time it’s in theaters. (It should be available to stream on Max eventually — but not for months after its theatrical release.)
HBO Max made waves last year when it announced it would stream new, theatrically released movies at no extra charge the same day each film hits US cinemas in 2021 — but only if they’re distributed by the studio Warner Bros. That means every Warner Bros. movie this year will be released both on HBO Max and in cinemas at the same time, including Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Dune and The Matrix 4 to come.
But it also means movies from any other studio won’t.
This so-called hybrid release strategy for Warner Bros. and HBO Max is unprecedented, but it’s also sparking some misguided hope among moviegoers when any new movie hits theaters. Without knowing the studio distributing that new flick, lots of people get curious that maybe it’s one of the movies available on HBO Max too.
Warner Bros. movies have the direct pipeline to Max because HBO Max and Warner Bros. are both owned and operated by AT&T‘s WarnerMedia. They’re siblings, essentially.
But it’s worth noting that this hybrid strategy is unique to Warner Bros. and HBO. No other Hollywood studios are being this aggressive in putting this many movies (including megabudget blockbusters) on a streaming service immediately at no extra charge.
The hybrid release strategy is so aggressive, in fact, that WarnerMedia is ending it after 2021. Starting in 2022, Warner Bros. movies are expected to have a window of time exclusively in theaters before moving to other formats like online rentals and HBO Max. However, that theatrical window will be much shorter than it was before the pandemic.
Will Fast and Furious 9 be on HBO Max?
No, not anytime soon.
F9 is distributed by Universal, not Warner Bros., so F9 isn’t going to be available on HBO Max at the same time it’s in theaters.
But F9 will be on HBO Max eventually. HBO has what’s known as a pay-one licensing deal with Universal, which means that HBO is the first place that Universal’s movies are shown on TV or streaming services. But F9 won’t reach HBO and HBO Max until after the film has already been available in theaters, as online rentals and on Blu-ray and DVD for sale. Universal hasn’t confirmed the Blu-ray/DVD release date yet, but it isn’t expected until October at the earliest. And then F9’s streaming availability would need to wait until after that.
Essentially, that means that HBO Max will get F9 to stream first before any other services, but it won’t become available to stream there for months.
What about A Quiet Place Part 2? It’s in theaters — is that on HBO Max?
Nope. A Quiet Place Part 2, the sequel to horror hit A Quiet Place, is distributed by Paramount Pictures, and it’s only in theaters.
But! A Quiet Place Part 2 will be available on streaming service Paramount Plus 45 days after its theatrical release, which puts it on track to stream beginning July 12. That’s much faster than theatrically released movies would have made it to a streaming service before the pandemic.
OK, so what new movies can I stream on HBO Max when they’re in theaters?
- Available through July 4: The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
- Available through July 11: In the Heights.
- July 16: Space Jam: A New Legacy.
- Aug. 6: The Suicide Squad.
- Aug. 20: Reminiscence.
- Date TBD: Malignant.
- Sept. 24: The Many Saints of Newark.
- Oct. 1: Dune.
- Oct. 22: Cry Macho.
- Nov. 19: King Richard.
- Dec. 22: The Matrix 4.
All these titles will be available on HBO Max the same day they hit US theaters.
Any title listed with a “TBD” doesn’t have a confirmed release date yet, but it’s placed on the list in loose chronological order for when it’s expected.
Generally, most of the new Warner Bros. movies become available to stream on Max at 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET on the day of their release. But the timing for other movies may vary, depending on when the first cinematic screenings take place at theaters. Wonder Woman 1984, for example, became available at 9 a.m. PT/noon ET on Dec. 25 because that was the earliest theaters were open that day.
The movies will be available to stream on HBO Max for 31 days. They’re generally expected to be removed from the service at 11:59 p.m. PT on that 31st day.
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