HBO Max Tweaks ‘Currently Available’ Content List

In the rush to launch HBO Max, WarnerMedia announced a “currently available” list of movies accessible on day 1 (May 27) of SVOD platform’s existence. Turns out the list was a bit wishful thinking.

Max bowed claiming more than 10,000 hours of original and largely catalog content. Some of that included movies such as The Dark Knight, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, 13 Going on 30 and The Matrix. While many are Warner Bros. titles, they are not yet available due to existing third-party rights issues. Other titles not available include Man of Steel, “Gossip Girl,” The Iron Giant and “The West Wing.”

First reported by The Verge, the mix-up underscores ongoing growing pains for the upstart high-profile service hoping to attract maximum early attention in a competitive over-the-top video market. About 90,000 people downloaded the Max app on the first day — an unremarkable tally considering Disney+ generated 4 million app downloads on its first day.

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Regardless, Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy has been key to Max pre-launch marketing materials — despite the fact none of the director’s movies are actually available to stream on the service. The animated Harley Quinn” TV series was expected to be on Max. Instead it’s on DC Universe, a separate $8 monthly streaming service owned by WarnerMedia.

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Separately, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which is now available on Max, will reportedly be leaving the platform for an undisclosed period of time. The pending director’s cut is making a high-profile debut on Max in 2021.

“[We are] updating this [‘currently available’] section and will post again once it’s complete,” a Max spokesperson said in a statement.

AT&T Eyes Retail Stores for Movie, TV Show Marketing

With more 2,200 standalone retail stores nationwide, AT&T has significant access points to consumers at the street level.

With the acquisition of Time Warner and creation of WarnerMedia, AT&T wants to use its retail presence as a marketing tool for Warner Bros. movies, HBO and Turner programming, John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications, told an investor group.

Speaking June 5 at the at the Credit Suisse Communications Broker Conference Call in New York, Donovan said the average AT&T customer visits branded stores three times a year, spending upwards of 30 minutes per visit typically focused on wireless issues.

“That retail presence … becomes a great [marketing] outlet for us to do things,” Donovan said.

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Specifically, AT&T stores gave away movie tickets to Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, sequel to 2016’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and episodic insights to the final season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Donovan said he was impressed employees at AT&T stores were familiar enough with “Thrones” to share viewing information about the series.

“That drives traffic for us, provides more exposure to the media business, and you start to see these symbiotic relationships,” he said. “They’re getting very familiar with our whole portfolio, and then it just gets to be easier. It doesn’t look like you’re trying to sell or force-fit something.”

While CEO Randall Stephenson’s suggestion that AT&T stores market Warner DVDs might be wishful thinking, Donovan wants to up in-store marketing promotions to increase foot traffic and expand brand awareness.

“Content is a natural draw into the stores,” he said.

Indeed, with much of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight filmed in Chicago, the AT&T Michigan Ave. store has long featured props to Warner superheroes.

Last year, the store featured the Batmobile, which Donovan said contributed to 70,000 “door swings,” up from 40,000 average door swings.

“Do you know what that’s worth to us?” he asked rhetorically. “We’re learning as a company what are these new currencies that you have and how to manage them and execute them. We’re very enthused about what WarnerMedia is going to do for the wireless business, for the TV business and so on.”

 

 

Warner Bros. Re-Releasing Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ Movies on Imax Screens

In honor of the 80th anniversary of the first published appearance of the Batman comic in May 1939, Warner Bros. March 13 began selling tickets to special Imax screenings for all three movies from director Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy featuring Christian Bale as the masked crusader.

Moviegoers who acquire tickets for all three films receive a lanyard and special “Dark Knight” Trilogy collectible.

Christopher Nolan directs Christian Bale and Tom Hardy in ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’

On March 30, the films — 2005’s Batman Begins, 2008’s The Dark Knight and 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises— will screen back-to-back at the Universal Cinema AMC in Los Angeles. During an interlude between the second and third films, Nolan will join the audience for a moderated Q&A discussion on the movies.

On April 13, the three films will screen at AMC Lincoln Square in New York and AMC Metreon in San Francisco, followed by Cinesphere Ontario Place, Toronto, and Imax Theatre at the Indiana State Museum, Ind., on April 20, each accompanied by the footage of Nolan’s Los Angeles appearance.

In all five cities, all three movies will be seen in the director’s preferred 70mm format, providing an all-encompassing moviegoing experience.

Nolan with The Dark Knight (with Heath Ledger as The Joker) was the first director to shoot action sequences of a major feature film with Imax cameras, revolutionizing the integration of Imax and standard formats. He utilized Imax cameras more extensively in The Dark Knight Rises.

Heath Ledger as The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight.’

“Christopher Nolan broke new ground with the ‘Dark Knight’ Trilogy, and this is a rare chance for today’s audiences to experience these extraordinary films as they were meant to be seen,” Jeff Goldstein, president, domestic distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, said in a statement. “To have the added privilege of hearing Chris’s insights firsthand makes this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”