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Dune to stream today on HBO Max, but French Dispatch, Ron's Gone Wrong won't

The Harder They Fall isn't streaming either, even though it's a Netflix movie.

Actors Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson look into the sunset as they stand on a mountain ledge surrounded by desert

Timothée Chalamet stars with Rebecca Ferguson in Dune, which is streaming on HBO Max starting Thursday afternoon. 

Chiabella James/Warner Bros.

This year has been unprecedented in the number of new theatrical movies made available to stream online the same day they hit cinemas. HBO Max, in particular, has become synonymous with the practice. And HBO Max is set to start streaming this weekend's biggest new movie too: Dune, the big-budget remake of the sci-fi classic, is set to hit the service to stream at no added charge Thursday, joining The Many Saints of Newark, a film prequel to mobster series The Sopranos

But that other movie hitting theaters that you're interested in streaming? It won't be online. Even Netflix movie The Harder They Fall won't be on Netflix, as it gets a short limited release in cinemas. And Wes Anderson's film The French Dispatch and animated movie Ron's Gone Wrong are both theatrical exclusives. (See below for more details about what movies are and aren't streaming.)

That's because the only movies HBO Max streams while they're still in theaters are Warner Bros. movies. Dune and The Many Saints of Newark are Warner Bros. films, qualifying them to stream on HBO Max. The others above are all distributed by other companies.  

HBO Max made waves last year when it announced that it would stream new, theatrically released movies from Warner Bros. studios at no extra charge the same day they hit the big screen during 2021. That included Godzilla vs. Kong, In the Heights and Space Jam: A New Legacy earlier this year, as well as The Matrix 4 coming up. 

But it also means movies from any other studio won't be on Max the same day. 

The strategy has created some misguided hope among moviegoers when any new movie hits theaters. Without knowing the studio distributing that new flick, lots of people get curious that maybe it's one of the movies available on HBO Max too. 

Is Dune streaming on HBO Max? 

Yup. Dune  will become available to stream on HBO Max on Thursday at 3 p.m. PT/6 p.m. ET.  It'll be available to watch there for a month. 

To stream Dune, like all the same-day releases of theatrical movies on HBO Max, you must be subscribed to the service's ad-free, premium tier. Typically this costs $15 a month if you subscribe directly to the app, and it's also included at no extra cost for most people who pay for regular HBO through a traditional TV provider. See sections below for full details on HBO Max's tiers, prices and other deals. 

Note that the same-day movies, like Dune, are available only to stream in the US. While HBO Max as a service has rolled out in other areas of the world, the same-day movies are still limited to US-based members. 

What about other movies coming out this weekend? Is The French Dispatch, Ron's Gone Wrong or The Harder They Fall streaming?

None of these will be available to stream when they hit theaters this weekend. 

The Harder They Fall is a Netflix movie, but this weekend is when the cowboy drama is set to start its limited theatrical release. The Harder They Fall will become available on Netflix to stream starting Nov. 3, though.

The French Dispatch is distributed by Searchlight and Ron's Gone Wrong is distributed by 20th Century Studios, which are both part of the Disney empire. Disney is giving all of its upcoming movies at least 45 days exclusively in theaters (if not more). 

However, the first place you'll be able to stream The French Dispatch is likely to be HBO Max, just not for months. Film licensing is complicated, and HBO locked up the rights years ago to be the first place to stream 20th Century movies. HBO Max will be the first streaming service to get The French Dispatch, because of the preexisting licensing arrangement, even though Disney is distributing the film and has its own streaming services Disney Plus and Hulu. (One or both of them may stream The French Dispatch eventually, just even later than HBO.)

But HBO Max isn't expected to start streaming The French Dispatch until roughly six to nine months after its theatrical release. That means it won't be available to stream there until next year. 

What about other movies out now? Is Halloween Kills streaming? No Time to Die? Venom 2? 

One of them is! 

Halloween Kills is available to stream on Peacock. Peacock is owned by Comcast's NBCUniversal, and Universal Pictures is the distributor of Halloween Kills. But there is a paywall up around the movie. You'll need to sign up for a $5-a-month or a $10-a-month premium tier if you want to watch Halloween Kills or any of Peacock's other paywalled programming (like the NFL's Sunday Night FootballPremier League matchesWWE and The Office).

(HBO is the next place Universal's movies like Halloween Kills are set to stream later. HBO has what's known as a pay-one licensing deal with Universal, but those movies won't reach HBO and HBO Max until about nine months after theatrical release.)

No Time to Die, the latest James Bond movie, is also a theatrical exclusive and not available to stream.

VenomLet There Be Carnage, the Marvel-related sequel, isn't available to stream now either. When it does become available online with a subscription, Venom 2 won't be streaming on Disney Plus or Hulu, even though Disney owns Marvel. Instead, it's en route to Starz first, sometime in the middle of next year. (Yeah, it's complicated.) 

What new movies can I stream on HBO Max now while they're still in theaters? 

All these titles will be available on HBO Max in the US the same day they hit US theaters. 

Generally, most other new Warner Bros. movies become available to stream on Max at 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET on the day of their release. But the arrival timing for movies like Dune has varied, depending on when the first cinematic screenings take place at theaters. Wonder Woman 1984, for example, became available at 9 a.m. PT/noon ET on Dec. 25 because that was the earliest theaters were open that day. Dune is in the same boat, arriving on the service at an atypical time. 

All Warner Bros. movies released in this "hybrid" model on HBO Max will be available to watch in 4K Ultra HD resolution and HDR image quality, even though those formats aren't yet standard for the full Max library.

These movies are available to stream on HBO Max for 31 days. Typically, they are removed from the service at 11:59 p.m. PT on the last day of availability.

But these Warner Bros. movies also return to HBO Max relatively quickly, usually about five months after their original premieres in theaters and on Max. Several movies have already come, gone and returned, including Mortal Kombat and Godzilla vs. Kong. 

But 2021 is planned to be the only year for this phenomenon of streaming new big-screen movies on HBO Max as soon as they hit theaters. Warner Bros. has said that 10 movies produced by the studio will go directly to HBO Max in 2022, but big franchise movies will have 45 days in theaters exclusively without any streaming option during that time starting next year.

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