It had been an unusual arrangement. British JK Rowling’s “Harry Potter” book series were adapted into film by Warner Bros. Pictures from 2001 to 2011. But for a time, the basic rights to air the films on cable were held by Warner Bros. rival Disney, which aired the series on its cable channel Freeform. This changed when in August 2016 Warner transferred the cable rights to NBCUniversal, for airing on its channels SyFy and USA Network, starting this year 2018. Now, another cable channel will be able to air the “Harry Potter” movies on streaming service: none other than HBO.
Entertainment Weekly has it that this Monday, January 2, HBO announced that they have added all eight installments of the “Harry Potter” film series, from “Sorcerer’s Stone” to “Deathly Hallows – Part 2,” to their streaming service HBO NOW. Much like a number of digital platforms, HBO NOW offers fresh subscribers a free one-month trial of their services before committing to a paid subscription. That means a trial NOW member will be able to binge-watch “Harry Potter” for free. In addition, they can also catch the 2016 spinoff “Fantastic Beats and Where to Find them,” also by Warner Bros. Pictures and with Rowling writing the screenplay.
There’s no doubt that HBO would not be lacking in viewers for the fantasy film series on their NOW streaming service. Debut film “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” had a domestic box office gross of $317.6 million when it opened on November 16, 2001. Seven more films followed with a succession of directors offering varied atmospheric styling, eventually leading to a combined total box office of $7.7 billion globally by the time the last film adaptation of the books came out in 2011.
But the “Harry Potter” franchise has grown significantly from the original books and movies. “Fantastic Beasts,” which is also included in the HBO NOW library, is set to become a multi-film series of its own. A sequel, “Crimes of Grindewald” is coming this November 2018, for a proposed total of five installments in all. This entire cable airing arrangement was made possible due to the Warner Bros. studio and HBO being both owned by Time Warner Cable.
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