Universal is losing the Jurassic Park trilogy to Netflix this month NFLX while HBO Max is losing all eight Harry Potter movies (as they gain six Batman movies) at the end of August.
One of the odd circumstances of studios launching their own individual streaming platforms while at least some of their product is still licensed to other services is you have skewed scenarios like the one playing out on Peacock. The Comcast CMCSA streaming site launch two weeks ago and yet, by August 1 it will have lost its only Fast & the Furious movie (Fast & Furious), the first three Jurassic Park films (which are going to Netflix) and Shrek. For that matter, Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2, two of DreamWorks Animation’s very best movies, will be arriving on HBO Max next month. And the two Stephen Sommers Mummy movies (the two good ones with Brendan Fraser AND Rachel Weisz) will depart Peacock on August 31 for parts unknown.
The idea of big movies coming and going from a given streaming site is, well, that’s how it’s done. But it’s a little bemusing for Universal’s big streaming platform to lose almost every trace of its biggest franchises just weeks after debuting. As of August 1, they will have no Jurassic movies, no DreamWorks toons, no Fast & Furious movies and neither The Mummy nor The Mummy Returns. Sure, they’ll apparently still have episodes of the animated The Mummy episodic that ran on KidsWB for two seasons beginning in 2001, but that’s not exactly a selling point. Even the “Almighty” franchise will be MIA as A) Bruce Almighty is not on the service and B) Evan Almighty departed on July 15, the day the platform launched for all interested consumers.
In terms of recent big Universal franchises, well, they’ve got the Matt Damon Bourne trilogy, so that’s something. But the whole “enter and exit” scenario at the heart of the current streaming platforms has led to a bemusing situation where the Universal streaming service, just after launching, will lose (or never had) most of its biggest movies and biggest franchises. Offhand, Hobbs & Shaw and Fast Five are currently on HBO Max, which itself will lose all eight Harry Potter films at the end of August. No, it has little to do with J.K. Rowling’s inflammatory (and arguably transphobic) Twitter commentary, as the franchise has remained popular. HBO Max is gaining six Batman movies but losing eight Harry Potter flicks.
The eight-film set has remained popular over the quarantine/social distancing era as a digital purchase on the likes of FandangoNow, Google GOOGL and Amazon AMZN . If Warner Bros. does “take action” in terms of the Fantastic Beasts franchise going forward, it’ll be because Fantastic Beasts 3 may take a Divergent/Dark Fate/Dark Phoenix-style crash on the third go-around, not just because Rowling has become (arguably) morally toxic. So, no, the eight Harry Potter movies are not being pulled from HBO Max at the end of the month because J.K. Rowling lived long enough to see herself become the villain. If you’re struggling with how to enjoy the Harry Potter series, I’d offer Yoda’s words of wisdom: “We are what our students grow beyond.”
There will be some corporate reunions, like Fox’s X-Men leaving HBO Max and heading to Disney+. Ditto Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp which will left Netflix yesterday and will debut on Disney+ on August 14, or the same day as Magic Camp and Disney Channel’s Zombies 2. After being one of the more popular catalogue titles at the various VOD platforms over the last few months, The Greatest Showman will arrive on Disney+ on August 14. One of the biggest non-Disney family hits is now officially under the Disney umbrella. If that’s not a metaphor for Bob Iger’s legacy I’m not sure what is. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight will be leaving Hulu this month and taking flight over at HBO Max.
The whole “Batman comes to HBO Max” thing is a little simpler. Oddly enough, none of the live-action Batman movies are currently on DC Universe, and it’s another sign (along with Harley Quinn arriving on HBO Max in the middle of August) that DC Universe may be folded into a part of HBO Max sooner rather than later. Truthfully, as long as we don’t lose the terrific comics sub-section, there’s little harm in making the DC Comics-specific streaming service an add-on. Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin will now be available on HBO Max alongside Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. Since Batman v Superman and Justice League are already available, that only The Dark Knight Rises will be “MIA.”
Ironically, this will allow fans to treat The Dark Knight as the end of a two-part “rise and fall” Batman story, since The Dark Knight, like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Godfather part II and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, works as a natural conclusion to the story without necessarily requiring a third chapter. Although, to be fair, The Godfather part III and The Dark Knight Rises are (warts and all) better than The Rise of Skywalker. It’s another example of the almost random nature of how these new studio-specific streaming platforms are still dealing with some of their crown jewels still going to their competition. I’d be shocked if Jurassic Park wasn’t one of the most-watched movies on Netflix in August.