Warner Bros. Films No Longer Guaranteed to Stream on HBO Max After 45 Days

By Jessica Lerner 

The days of streaming a Warner Bros. film on HBO Max beginning 45 days after theatrical release are now over.

Warner Bros. Discovery has reversed course on the practice, which was common for the first half of 2022, and moving forward, the timing of releases of Warner Bros. films’ premieres on the streamer will be decided on a case-by-case basis, multiple news outlets report.

The studio is still committed to the 45-day theatrical window, according to The Wrap, but may lengthen the interval between a film’s theatrical release and its HBO Max debut.


This change is already in effect, and its first casualty is Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic. The film was presumed to be released on HBO Max this week, 45 days after its theatrical release, but that’s no longer true.

A new release date hasn’t been announced, but Luhrmann previously told IndieWire it wouldn’t come to the studio’s streamer until fall.

The move comes on the heels of Warner Bros. shelving the nearly completed feature film Batgirl, adapted from the DC Comics character and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, a follow-up to the 2020 film Scoob, and quietly removing content from HBO Max, including six original films.

These changes reflect Warner Bros. Discovery’s strategic shift in leadership.

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav’s vision differs from former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar‘s. Under Kilar, every Warner Bros. film in 2021 was simultaneously released theatrically and on HBO Max.

The movies had a 45-day limited theatrical run in 2022, following which they will debut on HBO Max. Before the pandemic, movies would normally run in cinemas for 75 to 90 days before going online.

Zaslav alluded to the change last week during the company’s earnings call where he reaffirmed his dedication to movie theaters by stating that an exclusive theatrical release generates buzz for a film’s eventual release on other platforms, per Business Insider.

He also said that the company does not believe in compressing theatrical release dates and releasing a film simultaneously on all platforms but noted that streaming will be a major aspect of its strategy in the future, the news outlet reports.