There’s hope 2021 won’t involve quite so many hours of isolation, but that doesn’t mean there still won’t be TV worth watching, especially as new streaming services like HBO Max and Disney+ continue to beef up their catalogs.
As Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter noted, “[Warner] is pretending that pirates won’t pounce as soon as these films are streaming on HBO Max,” but pounce, they certainly will.But next year, when all 17 new Warner films premiere on HBO Max, pirates will immediately have perfect copies to share.
Now, with theater attendance plummeting as Americans quarantine, services like Disney+, Peacock, and HBO Max allow their corporate owners to test whether going straight to consumers with major movie releases the same day they hit the big screen is a viable option.
With HBO—and its forthcoming HBO Max service, which will offer additional originals and, well, Friends—the content has always been a part of its branding: It was an alternative to what you’d find on the rest of television, with more sex, more violence, more complicated characters who barely resembled the one-note protagonists on network TV (and they could say “fuck”).
It’s hard to overstate the advantage this gives Disney over fellow newcomers like Apple TV+ and the forthcoming HBO Max. And it's important to understand that Disney’s head start comes not only from its extensive back catalog of TV shows and movies but also from a technological prowess in this space that that few companies can match.