Over the past year or so, Disney Plus subscribers have become used to the studio dropping their movies exclusively on the platform when it’s time for them to go up on streaming – whether that’s simultaneous with their theatrical release or otherwise. Disney’s newest blockbuster, Free Guy, however, won’t be headed to either D+ or Hulu at first, though, and will instead be making its streaming debut on a rival service. Namely, HBO Max.
This is all to do with the fact that Free Guy is a 20th Century Studios movie that began work when it was still 20th Century Fox. Fox and HBO had a longstanding deal in place that gave the latter exclusive first streaming rights for all the former’s films, and that remains in tact despite the Disney takeover. 20th Century productions still have to go to HBO Max first. We saw that last summer with The New Mutants, for instance. That’s why, despite the fans demanding it, the X-Men spinoff couldn’t be released on D+.
Obviously, Disney won’t be extending this deal once it expires, however, and luckily for them it runs out next year. So that means that upcoming 20th Century projects can go straight up on either D+ or Hulu from 2022 onward. That said, those other movies released under the banner that are scheduled to drop later this year, such as Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel or Kingsman prequel The King’s Man, will have to debut on HBO Max.
Free Guy is the sort of film that would’ve most likely performed extremely well for Disney Plus, but instead HBO Max is going to reap the benefits of Ryan Reynolds’ well-reviewed video game action comedy. It will no doubt end up on D+ at some point, though, so any subscribers who aren’t also signed up to HBO will just have to sit patient. Or else check it out in theaters now.