The six Warner Bros. movies that disappeared from HBO Max recently are only the tip of the iceberg of removed content from the streaming platform. At least five other shows were recently pulled from HBO Max, and – more troubling – none of them were HBO Max originals. HBO Max confirmed some titles have been removed as Warner Bros. Discovery before HBO Max and Discovery+ are merged into one streaming service.
HBO Max users noticed that Vinyl (2016), Here and Now (2018), Camping (2018), and The Brink (2015) have all disappeared from the platform. These were all short-lived shows originally produced for HBO. However, HBO Max users have long been used to having access to every HBO show, no matter how successful they were when they aired. Kathryn Hahn's 2019 show Mrs. Fletcher also appears to be gone.
About a month ago, a Reddit user also pointed out that some foreign-language shows have disappeared, too. These include Amsterdam and Czech It Out. Others missing include Amy Sedaris' Amy, the Adult Swim animated series Final Space, and the reality series Full Bloom. Vulture points out that some shows, including Vinyl and Mrs. Fletcher, are still available through HBO On Demand for cable subscribers and VOD platforms.
Whenever an HBO Max user complained to the @HBOMaxHelp Twitter account, they usually received the same canned response. "As we work to bring together HBO Max and discovery+, we're making some changes to our services. Part of that process includes the removal of select content. Thanks for understanding and looking forward to other upcoming titles," the statement reads.
Amid the stunning cancellation of Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt, Variety reported that six Warner Bros. movies made for HBO Max were wiped off the platform. The Witches, Moonshot, An American Pickle, Superintelligence, Locked Down, and Charm City Kings are all nowhere to be found. The LeBron James-produced House Party remake was supposed to be released on July 28, but it never was.
While it is common for streaming platforms to cycle through licensed content, Hollywood has been rocked by HBO Max removing exclusive content. Variety suggested this could be to save costs, but how expensive can it be to just keep something you own available on your own streaming service? Indiewire further explains that content costs can be "amortized – or assigned a cost that gets recognized by an entity across multiple years – over the program or film's expected lifetime." So, if there are still years on that timeline left, Warner Bros. Discovery could pull the movie or show from distribution to "offset taxable income elsewhere." Another possible reason is whittling down the amount of content on the platform so users don't feel overwhelmed by choices.
This is all just the start. A source told Indiewire that the removal of the six movies is "part of a long list of films and series" being removed from HBO Max and Discovery+ while Warner Bros. Discovery merges the two into one. They are focusing on pulling content that has not performed well on the service and could lead to write-offs. This would explain why some of the HBO shows disappearing are shows that only lasted a season.