Accio irony: Warner Bros. new streaming service can’t show the Harry Potter films

Jan 18, 2020

Posted by: Amanda Kirk

Films, Legal, Movies, News, Warner Bros.

Remember when Pottermore couldn’t post anything related to the films until they struck a deal with Warner Bros., and then it was still so complicated that they ended up ditching Pottermore and creating a new website, Wizarding World?  Remember the distinction between unofficial and official Harry Potter products, such as the Unofficial Harry Potter Knits and the official Harry Potter: Knitting Magic and the restrictions on each?  That’s all to do with copyrights and intellectual property law.  Corporations like Warner Bros. are strict about enforcing their copyrights but now they’re in an unfortunate position:  They’re about to launch their own streaming service, HBO Max, but they sold the digital rights to their own Harry Potter movies to NBCUniversal in 2016.  So, they can’t show them via their new digital platform until the contract expires in 2025.  Oops.  As Vanity Fair noted dryly, Warner Bros. may be wishing they had a Time-Turner about now.

HBO Max is slated to launch in May at a cost of $15/month.  NBCUniversal is planning its own streaming service, called Peacock, which will launch on July 15 with tiered pricing, and which will be able to show the Potter movies—for now.  It’s possible that Warner Bros. and NBCUniversal will strike a new deal before the current contract’s expiry date, so keep an Extendable Ear out for news.  It should always be possible to stream the Potter films somewhere, you may just have to switch providers to keep up with the contracts.  Now, what’s the spell for making popcorn?

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.