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House of Gucci isn't streaming on HBO Max, sorry

HBO Max is known as a streaming destination for new movies as soon as they hit theaters, but not every movie streams there.

HBO Max logo on a phone screen
Angela Lang/CNET

This year has seen an unprecedented number of new theatrical movies being released on streaming services the same day they hit cinemas. HBO Max, in particular, has become synonymous with the practice. And HBO Max just started streaming King Richard, about the father to young Venus and Serena Williams, last week. But don't come to Max looking for movies like House of Gucci. 

That's because the only movies HBO Max streams while they're still in theaters are Warner Bros. movies. King Richard is a Warner Bros. film, qualifying it to stream on HBO Max. But Warner Bros. isn't releasing anything new in theaters over the Thanksgiving weekend. 

Occasionally, other studios follow the HBO Max playbook and drop a film into cineplexes and onto a streaming service at the same time. That's how Halloween Kills and Clifford the Big Red Dog came to be available to stream when they hit cinemas. (See below for more details about what movies are and aren't streaming, and where.)

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 about whether it's one of the movies available on HBO Max too. 

Can I stream House of Gucci on HBO Max? 

Nope, House of Gucci is being distributed in the US by United Artists Releasing, not Warner Bros. It's getting a theatrical exclusive starting Wednesday. 

Can I stream Dune on HBO Max? 

Not right now. Dune was streaming on HBO Max for the first month of its release, but it left the service late Sunday night. 

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 premiered, disappeared and returned, like Godzilla vs. Kong. 

What about other movies in theaters now? Is Ghostbusters: Afterlife, Halloween Kills, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Eternals, No Time to Die or anything else streaming?

Halloween Kills and Clifford the Big Red Dog are two of the rare theatrical films streaming now while they're in theaters, just not on HBO Max. 

Clifford the Big Red Dog is streaming on Paramount Plus. The streaming service and the studio distributing the movie are both owned by ViacomCBS, which decided to release the film in theaters and on Paramount Plus simultaneously.

Halloween Kills is over on Peacock. Peacock is owned by Comcast's NBCUniversal, and Universal Pictures is the distributor of Halloween Kills. But there's a paywall 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.

(HBO Max is the next place Universal movies like Halloween Kills are set to head the line. 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 six to nine months after theatrical release.)

But Ghostbusters: Afterlife is being distributed by Sony Pictures, which is making it exclusive to theaters. Sony has an agreement in place for its 2021 movies to go to Starz first, where they're available to watch on its traditional channels or stream on its app. So Starz will be the first place you'll be able to stream this latest Sony movie, which should become available there in roughly nine months or so. 

Eternals -- the star-packed Marvel movie that's next up in the superhero franchise -- isn't available to stream. It'll be in theaters exclusively for at least 45 days. When it does become available on a streaming service, it'll land on Disney Plus.

Spencer, distributed in the US by the companies Neon and Topic Studios, is exclusively in theaters.

And most other theatrical movies don't have streaming options. No Time to Die, VenomLet There Be CarnageAntlersLast Night in SohoThe French Dispatch and Ron's Gone Wrong were all released in theaters exclusively over the last months. 

What new movies can I stream on HBO Max while they're still in 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 some 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 was in the same boat, arriving on the service at an atypical time in the afternoon when it was released. 

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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