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HBO Max unveils Europe rollout

·2-min read
Warner's HBO sits of a back-catalogue gold mine, including the hit series "Friends" (AFP/Chris Delmas)

HBO Max -- home to cultural touchstones from Batman and Harry Potter to The Sopranos and Friends -- detailed the rollout of its streaming service across Europe on Tuesday.

The company used the event to offer a teaser of Game of Thrones prequel, "House of the Dragon", which is due next year.

It also announced that the follow-up to "Sex and the City", which is titled "And Just Like That", will air from December.

As the streaming service for WarnerMedia, HBO Max will also get new Warner Bros movies 45 days after their release in cinemas, the company said.

That is potentially controversial since filmmakers have sometimes reacted angrily to the increasing shift towards home viewing for new blockbusters.

"Dune" director Denis Villeneuve has villified Warner for choosing to release his film simultaneously in theatres and on HBO Max in the US this month, saying it showed "no love for cinema, nor for the audience".

Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for doing the same thing with her blockbuster "Black Widow" this summer, saying it cut into her profits.

HBO Max launched in the US last year and has expanded across Latin America and the Caribbean.

It will launch in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra on October 26.

It will then expand to 27 European territories in 2022.

That will not include several key markets, including Britain, France, Germany and Italy, where HBO and Warner have distribution deals with local providers that have a few more years to run.

But the company said it plans to expand globally to reach 190 territories by 2026.

WarnerMedia owns the rights to a vast back-catalogue of films, including classics such as "Singing in the Rain" and "The Shining" through to blockbusters such as "The Matrix" and "Justice League".

It also has some huge TV titles, including "Friends", "The Big Bang Theory" and "Two and a Half Men", which have proved perennial favourites on streaming platforms.

er/pbr

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