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HBO Max sees subscribers surge due to Warner Bros. movies debuting direct to streaming

Releasing hits like ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ for free on the service the same day the film landed in theaters has paid off.

HBO Max sees subscribers surge due to Warner Bros. movies debuting direct to streaming
Daniel Kaluuya as Chairman Fred Hampton, Ashton Sanders as Jimmy Palmer, Algee Smith as Jake Winters, Dominique Thorne as Judy Harmon, and LaKeith Stanfield as Bill O’Neal in Judas and the Black Messiah. [Photo: Glen Wilson/Warner Bros. Entertainment]
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AT&T has reported that HBO and HBO Max had a terrific first quarter of 2021, reports Deadline. The company’s subscription and streaming services added 2.7 million subscribers in the quarter that just ended. That subscriber growth can be thanked in large part to WarnerMedia’s controversial decision to release all 2021 Warner Bros. films on HBO Max the same day they debut in theaters.

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In the quarter just ended, Warner Bros. released four Hollywood flicks on HBO Max: The Little Things, Judas and the Black Messiah, Tom & Jerry, and Godzilla vs. Kong. It’s the last film, Godzilla vs. Kong, which was probably the biggest draw for subscribers. Godzilla vs. Kong was one of the most hotly anticipated tentpoles of the year and the fact that HBO Max subscribers got access to it at no additional cost on the day it released in theaters was one of the best value propositions for potential subscribers. Also during the quarter, HBO Max debuted Zack Snyder’s Justice League, another anticipated title (with an almost mythical status among fans).

While 2.7 million new subscribers are something for AT&T to celebrate, the take still comes in below Netflix’s 4 million additional subscribers in its most recent quarter. However, Netflix’s 4 million haul was well under the 6 million subscribers expected. And if HBO Max’s numbers now reveal anything, it’s that viewers subscribe to get access to new, hit content like Godzilla vs. Kong. That’s something for Netflix to keep in mind going forward.

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About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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