It may be time to pour one out for the streaming service trial. CNET reports that HBO Max is no longer offering users a free week of watching its content, following both Disney Plus and Netflix’s examples earlier in the year. This change, probably not coincidentally, comes just weeks before December 25th, when Wonder Woman 1984 is set to launch on the service (as well as in theaters, but you should probably stay home). While it can’t compete with free, the $14.99 you’ll now have to pay to see the movie still compares favorably to the price of a theater ticket (and it’s a month of entertainment as opposed to two-ish hours).
It’s not the first streaming service to nix a free trial before a big release: Disney Plus did it just a few weeks before it started streaming Hamilton. The logic is sound, if annoying: people want to watch the Big New Thing, and if you offered a free trial, they might just watch it and bounce. If they have to pay for it for a month, a lot will, and they might get hooked on something else while they’re looking around for other content to justify their month-long subscription. Or, if you’re HBO Max, they might see the absolute deluge of movies coming to the service next year and decide it’s worth keeping around.
Free trials don’t recoup a $200 million production budget.
So, if you were hoping to use the free trial to watch Wonder Woman 1984, it’s not an option anymore. Is it worth paying for a month of HBO Max? You’ll have to decide, though whether or not you’re willing to pay will probably be determined by how many of the other streaming services you pay for, because there sure are a lot of them. As for me, I’m just sad I have to cancel my plans of having an incredible week of free movie watching at the end of next year.