It seems HBO Max, in the 11th hour, pulled off an acquisitions charm.

By Nick Romano
May 27, 2020 at 09:45 AM EDT
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The Boy Who Lived now miraculously lives again on the HBO Max streaming platform.

The new service from WarnerMedia officially debuted on Wednesday and with it came the addition of all eight Harry Potter movies, much to the surprise of those keeping track of Hollywood business dealings.

It seemed like this wasn't a possibility. In 2016, NBCU acquired the rights to the blockbuster franchise, including the Fantastic Beasts spin-offs starring Eddie Redmayne. This meant the company could air the movies across all their television channels, including USA Network and Syfy, through the year 2025. It was considered one of the largest movie franchise rights acquisitions of all time.

By 2018, Time Warner Cable's HBO accio-ed the eight films in a deal that would see them arrive on the HBO Now streaming service. When asked by Business Insider in a recent interview about the status of their impending arrival on HBO Max, Kevin Reilly, the service's content chief, said there was "no timetable" but mentioned it was "high on our priority list."

"I'll just say there is active engagement around that discussion," he said. "In terms of the marketplace, there's a lot of opportunities for horse-trading. The marketplace is shifting, with the impact of COVID and different companies launching different services, and it creates a lot of opportunities for horse-trading. We're seeing that across the board." What a tease.

Daniel Radcliffe, who starred as the titular wizard-in-training Harry Potter in the films adapted from J.K. Rowling's best-selling book series, returned to the franchise to read a chapter from the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. It was part of a celebrity-filled initiative to give all of us stuck in quarantine something to do. This new update on the eight films also helps with that.

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