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They’ll be there for you — but not on Netflix anymore. The much-publicized move of “Friends” to its new streaming home of HBO Max is finally here — and it’s incredibly easy to sign up to watch the sitcom there.
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HBO Max subscription starts at $14.99 a month, but you can save more than 20 percent if you pay for six months in advance at a rate of $69.99 (compared to $89.94 at the standard rate) with a limited time only introduction offer.
While the new service was supposed to launch with Jennifer Aniston (Rachel), Courteney Cox (Monica), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe), Matt LeBlanc (Joey), Matthew Perry (Chandler), and David Schwimmer (Ross) reuniting on the show’s set on Stage 24 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, filming of the special was delayed due to COVID and will be filmed at some point in 2021 instead.
“I became aware of ‘Friends’ when it was in the very early stages of development and then had the opportunity to work on the series many years later and have delighted in seeing it catch on with viewers generation after generation,” then-HBO Max chief content officer Kevin Reilly said in a statement at the time of the special’s announcement. “It taps into an era when friends — and audiences — gathered together in real time and we think this reunion special will capture that spirit, uniting original and new fans.”
At the time, Deadline reported the special, directed by Ben Winston, could command a $20 million price tag thanks to the hefty fees for each of the superstar cast members. Winston is also set to executive produce alongside “Friends” executive producers Kevin Bright, Marta Kauffman, and David Crane, and all six stars.
Netflix pulled “Friends” from its service in late 2019 when its licensing deal expired, which led to an uptick in DVD and digital sales according to Variety. You can buy the complete series on DVD or Blu-ray here to avoid any further “Friends” interruptions, and it’ll set you back less than $60 for either format (yes, even for the Blu-ray set).
“Friends,” of course, isn’t the only draw to the streaming service. HBO Max will also be home to Warner Bros.’ entire slate of theatrical films throughout 2021, which will arrive on the service the same day they hit theaters and stay streaming for a month after release. That includes tentpoles like “Dune,” “In the Heights,” “Suicide Squad,” “Matrix 4,” and many, many more.
The hybrid distribution model “was created as a strategic response to the impact of the ongoing global pandemic,” per the release announcing the news, and as of right now is only being used for the studio’s 2021 slate.
“This hybrid exhibition model enables us to best support our films, creative partners and moviegoing in general throughout 2021,” Warner Bros. Pictures Group Chairman Toby Emmerich said in a statement. “We have a fantastic, wide ranging slate of titles from talented and visionary filmmakers next year, and we’re excited to be able get these movies in front of audiences around the world. And, as always, we’ll support all of our releases with innovative and robust marketing campaigns for their theatrical debuts, while highlighting this unique opportunity to see our films domestically via HBO Max as well.”
If you’re ready to upgrade your home theater setup ahead of 2021’s many at-home movie releases (or just because you’ve been in denial but have now finally realized how much time you’re going to spend using it for the foreseeable future), check out our post with some suggestions on what to buy and why.