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Do you find it maddening when a movie or TV show you enjoy leaves a streaming service just as you were getting into it? This happens constantly. We know, because we’re always writing up stories about what’s coming to and leaving Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and others—and we often see the same title crop up on a specific service months after we already discussed it.
This is only getting worse as more streaming services launch. There are nearly 300 of them in the United States alone. Many are working to create exclusive content they’ll never share (such as all those Netflix Originals or the new Star Trek shows on CBS All Access/Paramount+) or to take back their content to make it exclusive (as when The Office and Parks and Recreation went to Peacock). But plenty of licensed content that any streamer would want doesn’t (yet) have a permanent home.
Services including ReelGood and JustWatch try to give people a handle on where to find the content as it skips from place to place. But to underscore exactly how hard that is, ReelGood sent us this infographic that shows the hopping around of two movies: 2005’s Batman Begins and 2008’s Oscar-winning The Dark Knight, the first two Batman films in the trilogy directed by auteur Christopher Nolan and his production company Syncopy.
You’d think that with Batman being a DC Comics character, and DC being owned by Warner Bros., and Warner Bros. running HBO Max, that Bruce Wayne would have simply ended up over on HBO along with a lot of other DC super-hero content (such as Wonder Woman 1984). But that wasn’t the case, even in a year like 2020.
The films were on Netflix for a long time, left it as the COVID-19 quarantine hit, and then went to Hulu for a total of 3 months. In August, they became HBO Max exclusives—but only until November 30. They then went to Peacock for exactly one month (it was supposed to be six!). By January 1, 2021, they were back on HBO Max—where both remain, while also moving back to Netflix as of March 1. (You can also find Batman Begins on a third service: fuboTV.) Plus, you can buy and rent both films on Google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube, Microsoft, and Amazon Prime Video.
This is the world of Hollywood wheeling and dealing. HBO and WB would, of course, love to keep all the Batmans all to themselves, but Warner Bros. signed deals with NBCUniversal as far back as 2016 that dictate these moves. A similar thing happened with the Harry Potter franchise—all eight films are WB-owned and helped with the debut of HBO Max, but are exclusive to Peacock. Again. For now.
Disney had similar problems trying to get all the Marvel Cinematic Universe titles under one roof at Disney+ because of previous deals. And that doesn’t account for Sony running the newest Spider-Man flicks wherever it wants.
And as for The Dark Knight Rises, the third film in the series? You can’t find that on any streaming service right now. It’s available only to rent or buy.
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