Warner Bros. Discovery has quietly removed the content from HBO Max – including several Warner Bros. films. which were streaming exclusively on the service — in what appears to be an effort to cut costs.
In recent weeks, at least six Warner Bros. have been removed from HBO Max: “Moon shota sci-fi romantic comedy starring Lana Condor and Cole Sprouse; artificial intelligence dystopian comedy”Superintelligence“, with Melissa McCarthy; Robert Zemeckis’ 2020 remake of “The Witches”, with Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Chris Rock; the comedy “An American Pickle”, starring Seth Rogen as a immigrant who wakes up after being marinated for 100 years; Doug Liman’s heist picture “Locked Down” starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor; and director Angel Manuel Soto’s drama “Charm City Kings.”
All six films were labeled as “Max Originals”. The moves were Noted by users on Reddit in a discussion on the decision by Warner Bros. to cancel plans for the release of “Batgirl” – in theaters, on HBO Max or through any other platform.
During this time, the reboot of the comedy classic “House Party”, by LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill, was previously scheduled to premiere July 28 on HBO Max, but has been removed from the release schedule.
Admittedly, streaming platforms are constantly adding and removing content. What is unusual is that Warner Bros. Discovery has not announced the removal of the six WB streaming exclusives from HBO Max. (The films are available to rent or buy through third-party VOD services.) It’s also worth noting that “Moonshot” was pulled from HBO Max only about three months after its March 31 debut.
HBO Max’s removal of Warner Bros. could be part of WBD’s decision to obtain streaming content payment obligations for underperforming titles in its books. In the case of an unreleased film like the remake of “House Party”, the media conglomerate could account for it as tax depreciation, as we expect to see with “Batgirl” and “Scoob: Holiday Haunt” (the latter being a sequel to the “Scoob!” animation).
Representatives of Warner Bros. Discovery did not respond to inquiries about HBO Max movie removals. The company is expected to release its second-quarter 2022 results Thursday, August 4, after market close. Warner Bros. Discovery took on a whopping $43 billion in debt as part of the WarnerMedia deal; the combined company had a leverage ratio of approximately 4.6x after the transaction closed.
Like other streaming services, HBO Max releases monthly updates on added and removed titles – for example, it announced that all eight original ‘Harry Potter’ movies will hit HBO Max in late Augustwhile it also adds a large bucket of content including 28 movies from A24 such as “Room” and “Ex Machina”. But none of the original Warner Bros. purged from HBO Max has only been included in recent updates.
Currently, several Warner Bros. movie exclusives. for HBO Max are still in service. These include the 2022 remake of “Father of the Bride” starring Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan; “Let Them All Talk” by Steven Soderbergh with Meryl Streep and “Kimi” with Zoë Kravitz; and “The Fallout”, “No Sudden Move”, “Unpregnant”, and “8-Bit Christmas”.
In December 2021, before David Zaslav’s Discovery completed the WarnerMedia deal with AT&T, WarnerMedia released a campaign touting major releases coming to HBO Max in 2022, including “House Party”, “Scoob: Holiday Haunt”, and “Moonshot”. . The campaign sizzle reel that was originally shared on YouTube has since been made private. You can still watch it on Twitter:
Pictured above: Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor in “Moonshot”
The best of variety