When Do the ‘Harry Potter’ Movies Leave HBO Max and Are J.K. Rowling’s Tweets to Blame?
The end of July 2020 marks the birthday of both the character, Harry Potter, and the author behind him, J.K. Rowling. And for fans of the film franchise, it also means there’s not much time left to watch the movies on HBO Max. Did Rowling’s recent comments on social media lead to this? Here’s what we know.
J.K. Rowling is the author of the ‘Harry Potter’ books
Rowling is best known for writing the novels that inspired the films. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone in her native U.K.) was her first published work and quickly became an international phenomenon at the time of its turn-of-the-century release, and beyond.
The author followed the book up with six sequels: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
What part did she play in turning the books into movies?
Not long after Rowling published the first novel in the series, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights. As she continued to write, the movies went into production, always just a couple of years behind the book’s release. Rowling reviewed all of the scripts and consulted in various ways.
Despite this, she wasn’t credited as a producer on the first six films. It wasn’t until The Deathly Hallows — Part 1 and Part 2 that she received that distinction. For the spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and its subsequent sequels, Rowling has screenwriter and producer credits.
All seven films are available to stream on HBO Max — for now
Both HBO and Warner Bros. are under the larger umbrella of the WarnerMedia. The conglomerate joined the streaming game with a new service, HBO Max, launched in May 2020. Due to a licensing agreement with NBCUniversal, it was initially thought that the Harry Potter films would not be available.
Fortunately, WarnerMedia was able to work out an agreement. When the streaming service launched, all eight films (plus the second of the two Fantastic Beasts installments) were available to view. However, as of August 25, 2020, they will no longer be there, according to Variety.
Rowling’s views have nothing to do with it
The publication specified that the movies are leaving HBO Max because of “standard licensing terms.” But given Rowling’s prevalence in the news cycle, it’s understandable to assume she’s to blame. The author has been spending a lot of time on Twitter lately sharing her views, and some have said she’s “canceled.”
In June 2020, after tweeting on the subject of transgender individuals, Rowling published a divisive essay titled “TERF Wars.” The social media dialogue continued to escalate. Rowling then signed “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate” for Harper’s Magazine, which further ignited the conversation.