Barring an unlikely decision to back-peddle and cater to the demands of several high-profile filmmakers, Warner Bros.’ decision to put all of its 2021 movies on HBO Max on the same day they’re released in theaters means people are going to be watching a lot more content on the platform in 2021 than they did in 2020—so “some” instead of “none.” Now, ahead of that unprecedented move, HBO Max is wisely making it easier to actually, you know, watch HBO Max by announcing this week that the service is now available on both PlayStation 5 systems and Roku devices.
The former isn’t a huge deal, since just getting a PlayStation 5 on its own is still the harder part of the equation, but the latter is a nice surprise. Corporate drama has evidently kept HBO Max off of Roku until now, with CNET suggesting that the companies were unable to come to an agreement about who gets to control and profit from the personal data you give up (the sad/scary kind of corporate drama, not the fun kind), but now they’re apparently best friends. In a press release, Roku’s senior vice president of platform business said that they believe “all entertainment will be streamed” and so they’re “thrilled to partner with HBO Max” in its mission to make that a reality—especially now that they’ve been able to come to “mutually beneficial agreements.” (Yes, the statement makes a point to say “hey, we’re getting something out of this,” which seems like a pretty clear indicator that things were rocky until now.)
No word from Christopher Nolan on this, as he was once another of WarnerMedia’s best buddies but has since soured on the company in light of this HBO Max deal, going so far as to declare—absurd as it is, given the state of some apps—that HBO Max is “the worst streaming service.” He predicted back in November that studios would use Tenet’s crummy U.S. box office returns as an excuse to move further into streaming, which is exactly what’s happening here, but at the time he also didn’t seem to be in favor of bumping everything deeper into 2021 or 2022. No other movies that have come out since the pandemic started have even come close to Tenet’s mediocre box office gross, but at least this way people have the option to see the 2021 Warner Bros. movies on HBO Max (on Roku!) or in theaters.