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Old, Snake Eyes aren't streaming on HBO Max, sorry

HBO Max has become linked to the idea of streaming new movies when they hit theaters. But this weekend's big releases, Old and Snake Eyes, aren't available there.

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HBO Max streams new movies from Warner Bros. the same day they're released in theaters. 

Angela Lang/CNET

This year, all year, HBO Max is streaming new, theatrically released movies at no extra charge the same day each film hits US theaters. But this weekend's top releases -- Old, the latest paranormal horror movie from M. Night Shyamalan, and Snake Eyes, a G.I. Joe franchise flick -- aren't available to stream on HBO Max. (Though Old should stream there months later, and Snake Eyes will be available to stream elsewhere in about a month and a half.) 

That's because HBO Max is streaming only Warner Bros. movies the same day. Old and Snake Eyes are both distributed by different studios. 

HBO Max made waves last year when it announced that it would stream new, theatrically released movies from the studio Warner Bros. at no extra charge the same day they hit the big screen during 2021. That includes Space Jam: A New Legacy, and upcoming releases The Suicide SquadDune and The Matrix 4. But it also means other movies from any other studio won't.

That's sparking 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. 

Warner Bros. movies have the direct pipeline to Max because HBO Max and Warner Bros. are both owned and operated by AT&T's WarnerMedia. They're siblings, essentially.

But it's worth noting that this hybrid strategy is unique to Warner Bros. and HBO. No other Hollywood studios are being this aggressive in putting this many movies (including megabudget blockbusters) on a streaming service immediately at no extra charge. 

The hybrid release strategy is so aggressive, in fact, that WarnerMedia is ending it after 2021. Starting in 2022, Warner Bros. movies are expected to have a 45-day window exclusively in theaters before moving to other formats like online rentals and HBO Max. However, that theatrical window will be much shorter than it was before the pandemic. 

Is Old streaming on HBO Max? 

No. Old is distributed by Universal. It's available only in theaters for now. It's set to stream on HBO Max eventually, just not until late this year or early next. 

HBO has what's known as a pay-one licensing deal with Universal, which means HBO is the first place Universal's movies are shown on TV or streaming services. But they won't reach HBO and HBO Max until after the film has already been available first in theaters, then as an online rental and finally on Blu-ray and DVD for sale. Typically, these pay-one movies tend to be released to streaming roughly nine months after theatrical release, but no dates for Old have been announced yet. Regardless, it means HBO Max is on track to get it to stream first before any other services, likely late this year or sometime early next.

Is Snake Eyes streaming on HBO Max? 

Nope, Snake Eyes is distributed by Paramount Pictures, and it's only in theaters for now. 

But! Snake Eyes is expected to be available on streaming service Paramount Plus 45 days after its theatrical release. That puts it on track to be available to stream on or about Sept. 6. That's much faster than theatrically released movies would've made it to a streaming service before the pandemic. 

OK, so what new movies can I stream on HBO Max while they're in theaters? 

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

Generally, most of the 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 timing for other movies may vary, 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. 

The movies will be available to stream on HBO Max for 31 days. They're generally expected to be removed from the service at 11:59 p.m. PT on that 31st day. 

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