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Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

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After first being announced back in late 2018, HBO Max has finally arrived and, with it, comes an array of content that’s sure to have people excited. However, one major Warner Bros. IP that fans were told not to expect right away is the Harry Potter film franchise. J.K. Rowling’s beloved Wizarding World was reportedly unable to be added at launch due to a prior licensing agreement. But when users logged into HBO Max today, they were greeted with a big surprise.

All eight Harry Potter films have been made available to stream on HBO Max at launch, a surprise that’s likely leaving fans in a state of shock. When advertising the service, WarnerMedia didn’t include any footage from the films, which seemed to confirm that the movies still had a ways to go before joining the streamer. Now, it would seem that the company was actually planning to catch fans off guard with the pleasant revelation.

In addition to the eight Harry Potter films, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is also available via HBO, though Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is not being offered at this time. This may be due to the licensing agreement that many believed was keeping the Harry Potter franchise from the streamer in the first place.

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That particular deal was struck in 2016 when NBCUniversal acquired the exclusive broadcast rights to the Wizarding World property from Warner Bros. At the time, the agreement was considered to be one of the biggest film franchise rights agreements of all time. Although it meant viewers could now enjoy series on Syfy and USA Network, it also meant WarnerMedia’s eventual streaming service (which became HBO Max) was likely to miss out on housing the content.

One has to wonder when and how NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia were able to come to an understanding regarding the Potter franchise. Details may be revealed within the coming days or weeks, but the two entertainment entities could very well choose to keep the specifics of the deal under wraps.

It goes without saying that the Harry Potter series is a major gain for HBO Max, and it will now stand alongside other major, cinematic franchises on the platform like The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix and the DC Extended Universe. Needless to say, HBO Max, which offers a 7-day free trial, is off to a strong start.

We may not exactly know how J.K. Rowling’s famous wizard and his friends ended up on HBO Max, but you can bet fans aren’t going to question the good fortune. All they have to do sit back, relax and take a trip back to Hogwarts with Harry and his friends.

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