Seven months after it hit theaters, Spider-Man: No Way Home is finally streaming, but it's not on Disney Plus, HBO Max or Netflix.
Spider-Man: No Way Home was the first film in the pandemic to hit $1 billion in global box office receipts. But even as months passed since its theatrical release, and even as it became available to buy online, the movie wasn't streaming on a subscription service at all, until Friday.
And it won't be on one of the services that first come to mind. The latest Spider-Man movie isn't coming anywhere near Disney Plus anytime soon, even though actor Tom Holland's Spider-Man appears routinely in Disney's Marvel movies. Netflix is getting Sony's movies that hit theaters this year, but No Way Home was released late last year. And HBO and HBO Max have a reputation as a prime place for big movies to head to after cinemas, but HBO Max isn't -- and won't -- be streaming Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Sony Pictures is the distributor behind No Way Home, and its deal with Starz means No Way Home is streaming there now.
No Way Home started streaming on Starz on Friday.
Sony has an agreement in place for its 2021 movies to go to the premium cable network Starz first, where they're available to watch on its traditional channels as well as on its streaming app.
It's possible, but it won't be on Disney Plus anytime in the near future, unless Disney and Sony strike a new bargain.
Spider-Man, as a character, derives from Marvel, but Disney's Marvel has a complicated license-sharing deal with Sony for the Spider-Man characters on film. Basically, Sony is in charge of making and distributing standalone Spider-Man universe movies, and then Disney's Marvel can "borrow" the characters for films in its own Marvel Cinematic Universe. That's why Tom Holland's Spider-Man shows up in the Avengers movies.
That's also why you can stream some movies on Disney Plus featuring Holland as Spider-Man -- but you can't stream any of the Spider-Man specific films there.
The same arrangement extends to the Venom movies and the Morbius film coming this year. Those are Marvel characters, but the films are Sony-distributed flicks, so they aren't destined for Disney Plus anytime soon.
You may have read some articles about how Spider-Man movies will be coming to Disney Plus thanks to a new deal struck last year. That's true but it's tricky -- the deal may not apply to No Way Home.
Disney secured a deal with Sony in April to stream some catalog Spider-Man movies as well as Sony movies released in theaters between 2022 and 2026. First of all, those 2022-2026 theatrical releases won't make it onto Disney Plus for many, many months; they'll actually be exclusively on Netflix first. But since No Way Home's theatrical release was in 2021, that part of the deal doesn't apply to it anyway. Second, neither Sony nor Disney are confirming when -- or even if -- No Way Home would be considered a "catalog" movie that could stream on Disney Plus.
Bottom line: If you're holding your breath for No Way Home to stream on Disney Plus, it'll be a long time before you can exhale -- if ever.
No, not for the foreseeable future.
HBO Max streams every Warner Bros. movie, and it's known for aggressively securing the TV and streaming rights to top films. And HBO Max has been closely linked with the concept of same-day streaming, since it released more movies this way than any other streaming service. This has created some misguided hope among moviegoers when any new movie hits theaters. Without knowing which studio is distributing that new flick, lots of people get curious about whether it's one of the movies available on HBO Max too.
But Spider-Man is being distributed by Sony, not Warner Bros., and HBO doesn't have a deal to stream Sony movies first, so No Way Home isn't en route to HBO Max.
Highly unlikely. Sony struck a deal with Netflix last year for all its 2022 theatrical releases to stream on Netflix before they're available on any other service or TV network, but No Way Home was released in 2021, before the pact was in effect. The deal also included terms about Netflix also licensing "select titles from [Sony's] vast movie library," but it isn't likely that No Way Home will qualify as a library title anytime soon.