'Elvis' Isn't on HBO Max Yet, Here's Why

Baz Luhrmann's epic Elvis Presley biopic Elvis should be reaching HBO Max this week, but it's not. The film will be available to rent or buy through video-on-demand services on Tuesday though. Sources told IndieWire on Aug. 3 that Warner Bros. Discovery will not add it to HBO Max for subscribers, another chaotic sign of the changes behind-the-scenes at the recently-merged company.

In 2021, all Warner Bros. movies were released to HBO Max the same day they opened in theaters, an idea from former Warner Media CEO Jason Kilar to boost HBO Max subscriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2022, the company gave movies a 45-day theatrical exclusive window, meaning that subscribers didn't have to wait too long to see The Batman and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

There were no exceptions to this 2022 rule, as The Batman was still reeling in money in theaters when it hit HBO Max. That's all changing though, with the Warner Bros. Discovery merger complete and the company's CEO, David Zaslav, prioritizing theatrical releases over streaming. Sources told Decider that the 45-day window will only be followed on a "case-by-case basis." Considering Elvis is still doing really well at the box office, it's no surprise that it is the first Warner Bros. title not going to HBO Max immediately. Another source told Decider that Elvis will reach HBO Max eventually.

Warner Bros. Discovery set off shockwaves in Hollywood last week. First, the straight-to-HBO Max movies Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt were canceled, even though they were almost complete. Then, subscribers began discovering that some titles were disappearing from HBO Max. Finally, during Thursday's quarterly earnings call, Zaslav confirmed that HBO Max and Discovery+ will merge by the summer of 2023.

"This idea of expensive films going direct-to-streaming, we cannot find an economic case for it," Zaslav told analysts. "We're making a strategic shift. As part of that, we've been out in the town talking about our commitment to the theatrical exhibition and the theatrical window. A number of movies will be launched with shorter windows."

Elvis will be available on PVOD platforms for $19.99 to rent for 48 hours and $24.99 to purchase, far ahead of its September Blu-ray release. The movie, which stars Austin Butler as Presley, opened in theaters on June 24. It cost about $85 million to make and has already grossed over $251.2 million worldwide. It is Warner Bros.' third highest-grossing movie of the year so far, behind The Batman ($770.8 million worldwide) and Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore ($405.1 million).