Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is hitting theaters Friday. But the COVID-19 pandemic, with its profound disruptions to new movies, triggered an unprecedented wave of theatrical films being released on streaming services at the same time they hit cinemas. HBO Max, in particular, became synonymous with the practice last year.
So with Secrets of Dumbledore hitting theaters and the Harry Potter universe back on the big screen this weekend, is the first place people are likely to look. Not only was Max the most prolific same-day streaming service last year, it’s also home base for streaming the rest of the Harry Potter films.
Confusion around this same-day streaming practice has led to some misguided hope among moviegoers when any new movie hits theaters. Without new standards for when movies move to streaming, lots of people get curious whenever a film hits the big screen about whether it’ll be streaming too.
But Secrets of Dumbledore is being released exclusively in theaters Friday, without a subscription streaming option.
Is Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore available to stream on HBO Max?
No, but it will be.
At first, Secrets of Dumbledore is being released exclusively in cinemas. It is distributed by Warner Bros., which is run by the same company as HBO Max. However, HBO Max has ended its practice of putting every Warner Bros. release on HBO Max to stream the same day it hits theaters. While some films may get same-day Max releases like that, Secrets of Dumbledore isn’t one of them.
When will Secrets of Dumbledore be streaming?
HBO Max will be the first place that Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore will be available to stream eventually, but the company hasn’t confirmed the date yet.
However, it’s most likely it will land on HBO Max on or about May 30. Warner Bros. has committed to giving its films at least 45 days in theaters exclusively. While it’s not obligated to put films on HBO Max as soon as those 45 days are over, that’s just what it did for its last big theatrical release, The Batman. Assuming Secrets of Dumbledore gets the same 45-day treatment, it would be available to stream on HBO Max at the end of May.
Will it be ‘free’ to stream?
Since HBO Max requires a paid subscription, nothing on the service is literally free. But HBO Max has never charged an extra fee to watch a movie on its service. It has two tiers, and when it was streaming movies the same day they hit theaters, those same-day releases were “paywalled” behind the pricier plan. However, Secrets of Dumbledore is expected to be available for all HBO Max subscribers.