Spider-Man: No Way Home isn’t streaming on HBO Max or Disney Plus, sorry – CNET

Spider-Man clutches the roof of a vehicle

Spider-Man: No Way Home opened Friday. 

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Spider-Man: No Way Home is the first film in the pandemic to hit $1 billion in the global box office. And the film’s streaming strategy surely helped pack people into cinemas, as Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s strategy was to hold it back from streaming completely. 

This year has seen an unprecedented number of new theatrical movies released on streaming services the same day they hit cinemas. HBO Max, in particular, has become synonymous with the practice. HBO Max just started streaming The Matrix Resurrections Wednesday, but it isn’t streaming Spider-Man: No Way Home. 

And even though actor Tom Holland’s Spider-Man appears routinely in Disney’s Marvel movies, that doesn’t mean the latest Spider-Man movie is coming anywhere near Disney Plus. 

Sony Pictures is the distributor releasing No Way Home, and it’s putting it exclusively in theaters.

Is Spider-Man: No Way Home going to stream on Disney Plus? 

Not anytime in the near future, unless Disney and Sony strike a new bargain. 

Spider-Man, as a character, derives from Marvel, but Disney’s Marvel has a complicated license-sharing deal with Sony for the Spider-Man characters on film. Basically, Sony is in charge of making and distributing standalone Spider-Man universe movies, and then Disney’s Marvel can “borrow” the characters for films in its own Marvel Cinematic Universe. That’s why Tom Holland’s Spider-Man shows up in the Avengers movies. 

That’s also why you can stream some movies on Disney Plus featuring Holland as Spider-Man — but you can’t stream any of the Spider-Man specific films there. 

The same arrangement extends to the Venom movies and the Morbius film coming next year. Those are Marvel characters, but the films are Sony-distributed flicks, so they aren’t destined for Disney Plus anytime soon. 

Will Spider-Man: No Way Home stream on HBO Max? 


HBO Max has been closely linked with the concept of same-day streaming, since it has released more movies this way than any other streaming service. HBO Max has been streaming every Warner Bros. movie on the 2021 release schedule the same day they hit the big screen, more than a dozen movies. That’s why Matrix 4, a Warner Bros. film, is streaming on HBO Max now. 

But this 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 about whether it’s one of the movies available on HBO Max too. 

But Spider-Man is being distributed by Sony, not Warner Bros., so it isn’t en route to HBO Max. 

OK, where will Spider-Man: No Way Home be available to stream — and when? 

Sony has an agreement in place for its 2021 movies to go to the premium cable network Starz first, where they’re available to watch on its traditional channels as well as on its streaming app. So Starz will be the first place you’ll be able to stream this latest Sony movie. 

Traditionally, the movie would make its way to Starz roughly six to nine months after its theatrical release. 

What about other movies in theaters now? Are West Side Story, Ghostbusters: Afterlife or other theatrical movies streaming now?

Halloween Kills and Clifford the Big Red Dog are two of the rare theatrical films streaming now while they’re in theaters. 

Clifford the Big Red Dog is streaming on Paramount Plus. The streaming service and the studio distributing the movie are both owned by ViacomCBS, which decided to release the film in theaters and on Paramount Plus simultaneously.

Halloween Kills is over on Peacock. Peacock is owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal, and Universal Pictures is the distributor of Halloween Kills. But there’s a paywall around the movie. You’ll need to sign up for a $5-a-month or $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 head 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.)

But pretty much any other movie in cinemas at the moment is unavailable on a streaming service. 

Encanto and Eternals — two of the latest Disney releases that have topped the US box office — aren’t available to stream yet. But they’ll be coming to Disney Plus soon: Encanto is set to start streaming there Friday and Eternals will join the service on Jan. 12.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife, like the latest Spider-Man, is being distributed by Sony Pictures, which is exclusively in theaters for now. Starz will be the first place to stream it eventually. 

And most other theatrical movies don’t have subscription streaming options. No Time to Die, VenomLet There Be CarnageAntlersSpencerLast Night in SohoThe French Dispatch, House of Gucci and West Side Story were all released in theaters exclusively over the last months. 

What new movies can I stream on HBO Max while they’re still in 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 some 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 was in the same boat, arriving on the service at an atypical time in the afternoon when it was released. 

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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