Every Movie We're Excited to Watch on HBO Max
Harry Potter! Studio Ghibli! Batman! Hooray!
Now that HBO Max is officially here, we've been touring around and we definitely like what we see. Beyond the Friends and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reruns, the current and classic programming associated with the streaming service's namesake (like Sex and the City, The Wire, and Game of Thrones), and the small batch of Max original series ready for launch (like the Anna Kendrick rom-com Love Life), we've been most excited while exploring HBO Max's sizable library of feature films from across cinema history.
In both quantity and variety, HBO Max goes far beyond HBO in this regard. Seriously, you'll feel as gluttonous as the pigs in Spirited Away, which you can watch via the service as part of its exclusive-to-streaming Studio Ghibli collection. Plumbing the vast Warner Bros. archives, HBO Max is also stocked with Hollywood classics that you definitely should have seen by now, Criterion Collection masterpieces that have been on your must-watch list forever, and complete movie franchises, including A Nightmare on Elm Street and Harry Potter. But where to start? Here are the movies and collections we're putting in our queue.
All the Harry Potter movies
You are humming the John Williams theme right now. I know it. Yes, all eight Harry Potter movies are now at the wave of your remote control wand. Sure, pressing play isn't quite as fun as stumbling across a marathon on TV, but you know you're going to snuggle in for a watch anyway.
Lots of Batman movies
Okay, so HBO Max doesn't have every Batman movie ever (the Christopher Nolan trilogy is notably absent), but any fan of the caped crusader is going to find a lot to rewatch here. Not only will you find the Burtons, the Schumachers, and the Snyders (though you'll have to wait until 2021 for the fabled Snyder Cut of Justice League), there are a few animated offerings (like the two-part Dark Knight Returns) to check out, as well as Batman-adjacent DCEU movies and others focusing on DC Comics characters, like Joker and Green Lantern.
All the Studio Ghibli movies
Sorry, Friends -- this is WarnerMedia's most impressive coup with HBO Max. Never before have the Ghibli movies -- which include the Oscar-winning Spirited Away and beloved My Neighbor Totoro -- been available to stream. Hayao Miyazaki's studio had previously been hostile to the idea of making their films accessible online, but WarnerMedia convinced Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki to get with the times. (You can also buy or rent them in their digital form via iTunes and other VOD sites.) And it's not just the Miyazaki-directed classics. You can also delve deeper into the studio's catalogue and check out selections like Pom Poko, about a group of folkloric magical raccoons who are able to fly with their scrotums.
The A Nightmare on Elm Street movies
Yes, all nine movies about the gruesome Freddy Krueger are streaming on HBO Max. That means you've got everything from the original A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise starring Robert Englund to the panned 2010 reboot with Jackie Earle Haley donning the red-and-green sweater and bladed glove.
A bunch of Charlie Chaplin movies
HBO Max doesn't have every Charlie Chaplin movie ever, but it does have a hefty selection from the cinematic legend, including some of his most seminal films. Why start a Sunday morning movie club working through Chaplin's most iconic material like The Kid, Modern Times, City Lights, and The Great Dictator.
The Hobbit trilogy
When HBO Max launched, the first and third entries in Peter Jackon's Hobbit trilogy were available to watch, but bizarrely not the second. Never fear Hobbit-heads: Now The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies are all available to binge. Spend the nine hours and wonder why Jackson decided to turn this short children's book into this overstuffed epic series.
The Land Before Time movies
Do it: regress back to your childhood with 10 Land Before Time movies. Lest you forget, the cute dinosaur franchise, which kicked off in 1988 with a film directed by animation legend Don Bluth and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, is equally traumatizing and charming.
All versions of A Star Is Born
And for something completely different: Why don't you watch every version of the tragic A Star Is Born. Start with the 1937 Janet Gaynor version, move to the 1954 musical starring Judy Garland, swing into the '70s with Barbra and Kris Kristofferson, and end with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper as Ally and Jackson Maine. Unfortunately, all that's missing is the 1932 film What Price Hollywood? that kicked this whole thing off. Still, these four movies offer you a lot of chances to cry your face off. Watch as I dive in.
Four of the Final Destination movies
Okay, so HBO Max actually doesn't have 2011's Final Destination 5, so you can't go through the complete horror series about various groups of hot teens trying to cheat Death, but still dying in elaborate ways. You can start with the 2000 original starring Devon Sawa and Ali Larter and get up through 2009's The Final Destination.
Criterion Collection gems
Sure, there is overlap with the Criterion Channel here. But if you don't happen to have that streaming service or for some reason you can't get it to stream to your TV, HBO Max has you covered with a slew of vital films, including Eraserhead, Grey Gardens, Metropolitan, 8½, Amacord, Hoop Dreams, Down by Law, and so many more.
Old Hollywood classics
Thanks to Warner's significant library, HBO Max has a bevy of gems from the Golden Age of Hollywood, served up under its TCM banner. Among the Turner Classic Movie selections: the Gene Kelly musicals Singin' in the Rain and An American in Paris, the Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn team-ups The Philadelphia Story and Bringing Up Baby, and the immortal 2001: A Space Odyssey, Citizen Kane, Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz.
You know it, you love it, you're sobbing already while the strains of "My Heart Will Go On" echo in your head. HBO Max is now the streaming home of James Cameron's disaster masterpiece. Start from the beginning or skip the Bill Paxton parts and get right to the meat of the doomed romance between Jack and Rose. Drop in on your favorite scenes or strap in for the whole ride. You're the King of the World. You can do anything.
Nora Ephron's greatest hits
Settle the eternal question of whether men and women can really be friends with When Harry Met Sally... and You've Got Mail, two of the all-time great rom coms written by Nora Ephron and starring Meg Ryan. (Ephron also directed You've Got Mail.) There's a good chance you know the deal already with these two. Harry and Sally bicker until they become friends and then fall in love. Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly are warring bookstore owners who fall in love via AIM. These are witty, comforting movies, perfect for a lazy night in.
The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies
You're having a pizza party and what else are you going to watch other than the original three '90s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. Cowabunga, dude. The Secret of the Ooze is, after all, one of the best subtitles of all time. (HBO Max also has the animated TMNT if you just can't get enough of Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo.)
Need help finding something to watch? Sign up here for our weekly Streamail newsletter to get streaming recommendations delivered straight to your inbox.