Warner Bros. Discovery has quietly removed content from HBO Max — including several Warner Bros. movies streamed exclusively on the service — in what appears to be an effort to cut costs.
At least six Warner Bros. movies have been removed from HBO Max in recent weeks: “Moonshot,” a sci-fi rom-com starring Lana Condor and Cole Sprouse; artificial intelligence dystopia comedy “Superintelligence”, starring Melissa McCarthy; Robert Zemeckis’ 2020 remake of “The Witches”, starring Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Chris Rock; comedy “An American Pickle,” starring Seth Rogen as an immigrant who wakes up after 100 years in the acid; Doug Liman Robbery Photo “Locked Down” With Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor; and drama “Charm City Kings” by director Angel Manuel Soto.
All six films were labeled ‘Max Originals’. The takedowns were noticed by users on Reddit in a discussion about the Warner Bros. decision. to negate plans to release “Batgirl”—in theaters, on HBO Max, or through any other platform.
Meanwhile, the relaunch of LeBron James’ comedy classic “House Party” and Maverick Carter’s SpringHill was previously scheduled for July 28 on HBO Max, but was scrapped from the release calendar.
To be on the safe side, streaming platforms are continuously adding and removing content. What is unusual is that Warner Bros. Discovery has not announced the removal of HBO Max’s six WB streaming exclusives. (The movies are available for rent or purchase through third-party VOD services.) Also worth noting, “Moonshot” was cut off HBO Max only about three months after its March 31 debut.
HBO Max’s removal of the Warner Bros. films could be part of WBD’s move to remove streaming content payment obligations for underperforming titles from the books. In the case of an unreleased film like the “House Party” remake, the media conglomerate could view this as a tax write-off, as is expected to do with “Batgirl” and “Scoob: Holiday Haunt” (the latter of which has a sequel). on the animated “Scoob!”).
Representatives of Warner Bros. Discovery did not respond to questions about HBO Max’s movie takedowns. The company is expected to report its second quarter 2022 results on Thursday (Aug. 4) after the market close. Warner Bros. Discovery took on a massive $43 billion in debt through the WarnerMedia deal; the merged company had a debt-to-equity ratio of approximately 4.6x after the deal closed.
Like other streaming services, HBO Max provides monthly updates on titles being added and removed. For example, it announced that all eight original “Harry Potter” films will come out of HBO Max by the end of August, while also bringing a large bucket of content, including 28 films from A24, such as “Room” and “Ex Machina.” But none of the original Warner Bros. movies removed from HBO Max have been included in recent updates.
As of now, there are still several Warner Bros. exclusives. for HBO Max on offer. Those include the 2022 remake of “Father of the Bride” starring Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan; Steven Soderbergh’s “Let Them All Talk” starring Meryl Streep and “Kimi” starring Zoë Kravitz; and “The Fallout,” “No Sudden Move,” “Unpregnant” and “8-Bit Christmas.”
In December 2021, before David Zaslav’s Discovery closed its WarnerMedia transaction 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’s sizzle reel originally shared on YouTube has since been made private. You can still watch it on Twitter:
Today @HBOMax released a new campaign introducing the 2022 lineup, featuring highly anticipated original programming, @WBPhotos movies made exclusively for HBO Max, new content from @DCComics and Wizarding World franchises, hit movies and more: https://t.co/DoS8nv519e pic.twitter.com/bsfy6oOZUQ
— Inside HBO Max (@InsideHBOMax) December 22, 2021
Pictured above: Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor in “Moonshot”