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The major benefit of streaming is supposed to be that it gives users easy access to a wide variety of content. With just a couple of simple button presses you get access to any number of new and classic movies and TV shows. But as every major media company comes out with their own streaming service, things begin to get complicated, and the content becomes anything but easy. Case in point: the Harry Potter films are about to leave one streaming service for another, for the second time in less than a year.
The next movie in the larger Wizarding World, Fantastic Beasts 3, is currently in production, but the core franchise is still where most of the fans can be found. When HBO Max launched just about a year ago, the service surprised fans by including all the Harry Potter movies on day one. That had not previously been announced. However, the honeymoon was short lived, as the movies only remained on the WarnerMedia streaming platform for a couple months before jumping over to NBCUniversal's Peacock service, due to a previously existing contract. That happened last summer, but now, less than a year after Harry Potter left HBO Max, he's headed back, as the streaming service has announced the eight Harry Potter films will all be on the platform June 1.
The Harry Potter movies are from Warner Bros., so it makes sense to see them on HBO Max. However, many distribution deals that are being executed now were signed years ago, long before many of them had plans for their own streaming platforms. As such, many studios find themselves contractually obligated to let other platforms benefit from their films, at least until those deals expire.
Interestingly, it was reported at the time that the deal between WB and NBCU for the Harry Potter movies was set to last until 2025, so we weren't expecting the movies to return to HBO Max this soon. It's unclear what happened but more than likely the two sides came to some sort of agreement, that probably included WB paying a large sum of money to NBCU, to end the deal early.
If so, then this should be the last move we can expect the Harry Potter movies to make, as it likely means they'll remain home on the Warner Bros. streaming service going forward. This is of course assuming that nothing unexpected comes out of the recent deal between AT&T and Discovery that will likely change the way WB works in numerous ways.
If nothing else, this means that viewers who want to be able to watch all the Harry Potter films will need to shell out the cash for HBO Max. The first three Harry Potter movies were available as part of Peacock's free service and even getting all the movies without ads costs less per month than HBO Max. Although, that will change slightly when HBO Max releases its own ad supported tier, which will be out alongside all the Harry Potter movies.