Dune, Halloween Kills, HBO Max, Peacock? Where to stream movies in theaters now

Actor Zendaya stands on a rocky scramble in armored clothing.

Zendaya stars in Dune, which is streaming on HBO Max. 

Chiabella James/Warner Bros.

This year has been unprecedented in the number of new theatrical movies made available to stream online the same day they hit cinemas. HBO Max, in particular, has become synonymous with the practice. And HBO Max is already streaming what is expected to be this weekend’s biggest new movie: Dune, the big-budget, star-packed remake of the sci-fi classic.

But the other big movies debuting in theaters this weekend? It’s probably not streaming. Even Netflix movie The Harder They Fall is arriving in cinemas Friday but not on Netflix. Wes Anderson’s new film The French Dispatch and animated movie Ron’s Gone Wrong are both theatrical exclusives.

That’s because the only movies HBO Max streams while they’re still in theaters are Warner Bros. movies. Dune is a Warner Bros. films, qualifying it to stream on HBO Max. The others above are all distributed by other companies. 

But, occasionally, other studios follow the HBO Max playbook and drop a film into cineplexes and onto a streaming service at the same time. That’s how Halloween Kills came to be available to stream last week — and still is. (See below for more details about what movies are and aren’t streaming, and where.)

HBO Max made waves last year when it announced that it would stream new, theatrically released movies from Warner Bros. studios at no extra charge the same day they hit the big screen during 2021. That included Godzilla vs. Kong, In the Heights and Space Jam: A New Legacy earlier this year, as well as The Matrix 4 coming up. 

But it also means movies from any other studio won’t be on Max the same day. 

The strategy has created some misguided hope among moviegoers when any new movie hits theaters. Without knowing the studio distributing that new flick, lots of people get curious that maybe it’s one of the movies available on HBO Max too. 

Can I stream Dune on HBO Max? 

Yes, Dune
 is already available to stream on HBO Max. It’ll be available to watch there through Nov. 21. 

To stream Dune, like all the same-day releases of theatrical movies on HBO Max, you must be subscribed to the service’s ad-free, premium tier. Typically this costs $15 a month if you subscribe directly to the app, and it’s also included at no extra cost for most people who pay for regular HBO through a traditional TV provider. See sections below for full details on HBO Max’s tiers, prices and other deals. 

Note that the same-day movies, like Dune, are available only to stream in the US. While HBO Max as a service has rolled out in other areas of the world, the same-day movies are still limited to US-based members. 

The Many Saints of Newark, a film prequel to mobster series The Sopranos, is also still streaming on Max while it’s in theaters. 

Is Halloween Kills streaming?

Yes — Halloween Kills is the other big movie available to stream now, and it’s over on Peacock. Peacock is owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal, and Universal Pictures is the distributor of Halloween Kills (see the connection?). But there is a paywall around the movie. You’ll need to sign up for a $5-a-month or a $10-a-month premium tier if you want to watch Halloween Kills or any of Peacock’s other paywalled programming.

(HBO Max is the next place Universal movies like Halloween Kills are set to down the line. HBO has what’s known as a pay-one licensing deal with Universal, but those movies won’t reach HBO and HBO Max until about six to nine months after theatrical release.)

What about other movies coming out this weekend? Is The French Dispatch, Ron’s Gone Wrong or The Harder They Fall streaming?

None of these will be available to stream as they hit theaters this weekend. 

The Harder They Fall may be a Netflix movie, but this weekend is when the cowboy drama is set to start its limited theatrical release. The Harder They Fall will become available on Netflix to stream starting Nov. 3.

The French Dispatch is distributed by Searchlight and Ron’s Gone Wrong is distributed by 20th Century Studios, which are both part of the Disney empire. Disney is giving all of its upcoming movies at least 45 days exclusively in theaters (if not longer). So neither of those are streaming yet. 

However, the first place you’ll be able to stream The French Dispatch and Ron’s Gone Wrong is likely to be HBO Max, just not for months. Film licensing is complicated, and HBO locked up the rights years ago to be the first place to stream 20th Century movies. HBO Max will be the first streaming service to get Ron’s Gone Wrong and probably The French Dispatch too, because of the preexisting licensing arrangement, even though Disney is distributing the film and has its own streaming services Disney Plus and Hulu. (One or both of them may stream either movie eventually, just way after they run on HBO.)

But even HBO Max isn’t expected to start streaming Ron’s Gone Wrong or The French Dispatch until roughly six to nine months after its theatrical release. That means it won’t be available to stream there until next year. 

What about other movies out now? No Time to Die? Venom 2? Shang-Chi? 


No Time to Die, the latest James Bond movie, is also a theatrical exclusive and not available to stream.

Venom: Let There Be Carnage, the Marvel-related sequel, isn’t available to stream now either. When it does become available online with a subscription, Venom 2 won’t be streaming on Disney Plus or Hulu, even though Disney owns Marvel. Instead, it’s en route to Starz first, sometime in the middle of next year. (Yeah, it’s complicated.) 

And Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings isn’t streaming either — but it will be soon. On Nov. 12, it becomes available on Disney Plus at no added cost to a regular subscription.

What new movies can I stream on HBO Max while they’re still in theaters? 

All these titles will be available on HBO Max in the US the same day they hit US theaters. 

Generally, most other new Warner Bros. movies become available to stream on Max at 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET on the day of their release. But the arrival timing for movies like Dune has varied, depending on when the first cinematic screenings take place at theaters. Wonder Woman 1984, for example, became available at 9 a.m. PT/noon ET on Dec. 25 because that was the earliest theaters were open that day. Dune is in the same boat, arriving on the service at an atypical time. 

All Warner Bros. movies released in this “hybrid” model on HBO Max will be available to watch in 4K Ultra HD resolution and HDR image quality, even though those formats aren’t yet standard for the full Max library.

These movies are available to stream on HBO Max for 31 days. Typically, they are removed from the service at 11:59 p.m. PT on the last day of availability.

But these Warner Bros. movies also return to HBO Max relatively quickly, usually about five months after their original premieres in theaters and on Max. Several movies have already come, gone and returned, including Mortal Kombat and Godzilla vs. Kong. 

But 2021 is planned to be the only year for this phenomenon of streaming new big-screen movies on HBO Max as soon as they hit theaters. Warner Bros. has said that 10 movies produced by the studio will go directly to HBO Max in 2022, but big franchise movies will have 45 days in theaters exclusively without any streaming option during that time starting next year.

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