Harry Potter has been a staple of cinema for the greater part of the millennium, and the books even more still. Hundreds, if not thousands of new fans are made every day and go out into the world looking for the best way to watch the movies. We live in a digital age with more streaming services than I can count, and so it has to be pretty easy to find the Harry Potter films right?
Sadly, the answer is not so simple, and is a direct result of all the new streaming services popping up. Even though Harry Potter is one of the biggest film and book franchises of all time, trying to find a way to watch it on streaming services has been shockingly difficult, which is a bummer for fans looking to marathon the series with friends only to find out they have to rent each individual movie. The series has been infamously difficult to watch without shelling out money for a box set or rental, and with eight films and two prequels, that isn’t going to be cheap.
The Harry Potter franchise took the world by storm in November 2001 with Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson headline the now beloved children’s book adaptation. The franchise may have completed Harry’s saga in 2011 with the two-part finale Harry Potter and the Deadly Hollows, but the franchise has hit gold again with the prequel series Fantastic Beasts. It’s likely that many new fans have popped up from the two new films and are looking for more, so it would make sense to have an easy and cheap option to do so but sadly there just is not.
The Blockbuster hit series created by author JK Rowling is part of a very small group of franchises to never be featured on Netflix US or Hulu (while it’s available in other locations), but as of 2021 there is a streaming service to finally showcase the Boy who Lived and his eight films, but it comes with a catch in the form of tons of caveats.
Watch Harry Potter Movies on Peacock
NBC Universal launched their streaming platform in late 2020 and quickly garnered headlines for snatching uber-popular sitcom The Office from Netflix. Many were slow to trust Peacock because of an initial lack of content but the platform now features hit shows and movies such as:
- 30 Rock
- WWE Network
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- The Office
- The Harry Potter Franchise and the Fantastic Beasts movies
The relationship between Peacock and the Harry Potter franchise is somewhat confusing, so buckle up for some licensing talk. The Harry Potter films were all produced entirely by Warner Brothers, and so originally the Harry Potter films were featured on HBO Max, but left the platform in August of 2020 and showed up on Peacock in October 2020. Unfortunately the Harry Potter series only lasted about a month before it was taken off of Peacock in November, until it re-returned in 2021. I’m sure that you can see how unreliable the service is to watch the film. Worse than that is that the Harry Potter franchise will not consistently be available on Peacock in its entirety. NBC has instead chosen to release one or two of the films at a time before then vaulting them, making for an unenjoyable watching experience.
Watch Harry Potter Movies on HBO Max
In theory you would think that Warner Brothers, who own HBO and therefore want HBO Max to succeed, would want to put the Harry Potter franchise on the platform, but rights issues are a tricky animal. Although the series left HBO Max last August, it is entirely possible that you will be able to watch the Blockbuster franchise again on HBO Max, especially since a television series based in the Harry Potter universe is expected to release exclusively on the platform in the near future. Just because a new Harry Potter show is coming out doesn’t necessarily mean the films will return to the platform, however, and so it’s best not to hold your breath.
Is there any other option to stream Harry Potter?
Unfortunately at this time the answer is no. It seems like everyone is launching their own streaming service right now, and so a lot of popular film franchises like Harry Potter are being fought over right now. Look at when Disney Plus came out, how Netflix retained a lot of the Marvel films for a while since they had purchased the rights for the year.
The good news is that since Harry Potter is so huge, it should only be a matter of time before either Peacock or HBO Max end up showcasing the series as a selling point to subscribe!
As of now it seems that your best bet if you want to watch the film is to rent the movies yourself. Here are some options:
Where to Rent Harry Potter?
If you’re looking to rent each movie individually, your options start to open up. Each of the following streaming services costs about $3.99 per movie or $14.99 to buy each film and rid yourself of worrying about licensing deals forever:
- Apple TV
- Google Play
- Amazon Prime
So what should I do?
Honestly, your best bet right now if you are a huge Harry Potter fan or are looking to watch them for the first time is to bite the bullet and rent each individual movie. Looking at the way Peacock has vaulted the series is a bit concerning, and we are still a ways off from HBO regaining the rights to the hit franchise. If you feel that you can wait a while before going in for a re-watch, then I think your best bet is to save up for an HBO Max subscription when the television series comes out.
Most likely this problem will solve itself in the coming years, since Harry Potter is profitable and both HBO and NBC seem to value the property. Much like the Spider-Man debacle between Disney and Sony, oftentimes things can get messy when a hugely recognizable property becomes available.