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HBO Max's DC Movie Access Is More Confounding Than Any Riddler Puzzle

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Same, Bats. Same.
Same, Bats. Same.
Image: Warner Bros.

Ever since HBO Max launched a few months ago, DC fans have been left confused, from the streamer’s odd relationship with DC Universe—which increasingly seems like it’s on the way out—and its puzzling approach to just what DC movies are available on the service and when. Unsurprisingly, even now, the platform continues to confound.

Back in June, Max caused a hubbub among DC fans when it revealed that, just a month into operations, a chunk of the already-sporadic DC movie content on the platform was set to leave, leading to HBO and Warner announcing plans for regular rotations of the DC content available on Max. Just a few weeks later, the studio partially backpedaled: some of the content DC movies set to leave in July had their stays extended, with Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, Catwoman, Jonah Hex, and The Losers leaving the service for an undisclosed period of time.


Turns out that undisclosed period of time was a month... at least for the Batman films in that list. Yes, Batman Returns returns to Max, as do the rest—joined in the DC universe (not that DC Universe) by The Dark Knight and both seasons of Harley Quinn, as previously rumored. To make things even more confusing, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight will also land on NBC’s rival streaming service, Peacock, this month.

The sporadic notification of just what is leaving HBO Max—and now seemingly equally as important, how long it’s leaving Max for—is especially frustrating with the DC material, in the wake of DC Universe’s increasingly peculiar relationship with the new platform. If there’s already meant to be a one-stop place for all things DC Entertainment when it comes to streaming, why is HBO Max’s offering so wildly disparate from month to month?


When io9 reached out to HBO to see how long these movies would be staying around on Max (again), an official simply told us that “films cycle in and cycle out as all catalog titles on streaming platforms,” and would not further clarify if any of the returning titles this month would see their licenses extended in the same way multiple DC films did in July.

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