HBO Max’s 45-Day Theatrical to Streaming Window is No Longer a Guarantee from Warner Bros.

One of the most significant benefits of HBO Max is the short window to wait once a Warner Bros. film releases in theaters. For most of their recent catalog, a movie would release at the cinema, and after a 45-day window, the film would make its way to HBO Max. During the pandemic, this was taken even further, as most of the Warner Bros. movies released in 2021 would go day-and-date to their dedicated streaming service as well. That means movies like Godzilla vs. Kong, The Suicide Squad, and Dune would reach the streaming service on release day, allowing anyone with a subscription to check out the latest blockbuster.


Of course, the 2021 strategy wouldn’t last forever. However, the 45-day theatrical release was supposed to be the guaranteed method for the streaming giant. Now, the merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia has changed everything for HBO, with canceled movies and funds being rerouted to different projects. Unfortunately for fans, the 45-day theatrical release schedule may be extended if Warner Bros. deems it necessary, according to reports from Decider.

The shift comes from Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, who made it clear that he wants to change how the companies have been running before his leadership. During an earnings call with investors on Thursday afternoon, Zaslav announced the combined services of HBO Max and Discovery+, which will begin as a new streamer launching in summer 2023. The changes bring the end of the quick releases to HBO Max, and the expensive direct-to-streaming era is over. During the earnings call, Zaslav spoke on the success of HBO Max.

“Our strategy is to embrace and support and then drive the incredible success that HBO Max is having. It’s really to the culture and the taste of Casey and the team and the fact that they not only read the scripts, but they fight with all the creatives to make the content and story telling as strong as possible. It’s a very unique moment. We think it’s an extraordinary asset, an extraordinary advantage.”

We will have to wait and see how these massive changes work for Warner Bros. Discovery and whether the recent cancelations were worth it for their brand.

Warner Bros. Discovery Stock is Plummeting Following Earnings Loss

It’s been a drama-filled week for HBO and Warner Bros. Discovery. The upcoming Batgirl film was canceled along with Scoob! Holiday Haunt, and now stocks are falling after their after-market second-quarter earnings report on Aug 4. Batgirl reportedly cost nearly $90 million to make and would’ve cost the company at least double to market and release the film. Instead, Warner Bros. decided to cut their losses with the movie, taking a tax break by not releasing Batgirl in any form.

On Friday, shares were down more than 17% to the $14.50 range, according to Variety’s reports. The company’s valuation has plunged in the four months since Discovery completed its transaction with AT&T. Warner Bros. Discovery posted a loss of $3.4 billion, including a $1 billion write-down for the restructuring charges for the company and the new regime. As a result, CEO David Zaslav and WBD chief financial officer Gunnar Wiedenfels were forced to think of ways to save the company money, sparking the end of the theatrical windows for HBO Max.

“Strategically, we’ve looked hard at the streaming business and how direct-to-streaming movies perform. The idea of expensive films going direct to streaming — we can’t find an economic case for it. We can’t find an economic value to it so we’re making a strategic shift.”

Big shakeups are coming soon for HBO and Warner Bros. Discovery, and their ideas better turn into profits sooner rather than later to avoid significant trouble for the merged company.