News about a few new and returning Canadian shows, plus some free previews underway this month.
In the Heights, the film adaptation of the musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes, starring an ensemble cast led by Anthony Ramos and Corey Hawkins, was released in North American theatres on Thursday, June 10, 2021, by Warner Bros. Pictures.
Because of the ongoing closures of cinemas in much of Canada during the coronavirus pandemic, the Warner Bros. Canada website has confirmed that In the Heights is being made available both in movie theatres, where now permitted to open (such as in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and much of Atlantic Canada), and as a premium video-on-demand (PVOD) rental, which is initially retailing for about $24.99 (plus tax) for a 48-hour rental, as of 3:01 a.m. EDT / 12:01 a.m. PDT on June 10.
Note that unlike the U.S. day-and-date release on HBO Max, the film will not be available through a subscription streaming service in Canada like Crave until several months after the release. We'll explain why a bit further down.
In the Heights is now available to rent in Canada through the following retailers. Although some of these are part of the same websites and apps as subscription streaming services, no subscription should required to be able to rent.
- Amazon Prime Video Store
- Apple TV / iTunes Store
- Cineplex Store
- Google Play Movies & TV
- Microsoft Movies & TV
- YouTube Movies
In addition, if you subscribe to a cable or similar TV service provider, the movie should be available to rent for a similar price through most video-on-demand services (on your set-top box), via providers including Bell, Rogers, Cogeco, SaskTel, Shaw, Telus, and Vidéotron.
PVOD, also known by names like "premium rental" or "Home Premiere", is a relatively new model for the home entertainment industry that allows consumers to watch new-release movies from home at the same time as, or very shortly after, they're released in theatres. Because it's only possible to charge per household, not per viewer (i.e., per seat as with a regular theatre), these rental prices are set quite high to start, comparable to two adult movie tickets. However, in most cases, they've come down to "regular" VOD prices within a few months.
I'm seeing ads promoting this movie on HBO Max. Can't I watch it there, or on Crave in Canada?
In the U.S., In the Heights is part of Warner Bros.' "Same Day Premieres" distribution model for late 2020 and 2021 releases which began with Wonder Woman 1984, and continued with films like Godzilla vs. Kong, in which WB theatrical films have a day-and-date release on co-owned streaming service HBO Max, and are then made available for streaming for no extra charge to subscribers on that service for 31 days after release.
Clearly, WarnerMedia is hoping that last year's success of the filmed version of Lin-Manuel Miranda's other well-known musical Hamilton, which boosted subscriptions for rival service Disney+, will carry over to HBO Max.
Unfortunately for Canadians, this streaming release does not apply in Canada, or in most of the rest of the world for that matter, where HBO Max is not available.
International services that are otherwise closely related to HBO Max, including Crave in Canada, and even other HBO-branded services serving different parts of the world, have not been given any similar early access to these films either. We have discussed this situation further elsewhere, like in our post about Wonder Woman 1984. (Some other HBO Max original movies, like Zack Snyder's Justice League and Charm City Kings, are available on Crave, because Warner Bros. chose not to release these movies in theatres at all, at least in North America.)
That said, as a Warner Bros. release, In the Heights will be covered by a "pay-1" output deal that sends the studio's first-run films to Crave (with Movies + HBO, i.e. the version of Crave that costs about $20 per month), several months after their theatrical runs. In normal circumstances, WB films are made available to Crave about 8-10 months after theatrical release. But given that this schedule moved up for films starting with WW84 (which arrived on Crave in late May, about five months after release), there's a strong possibility of similar streaming release timing for this film, which could be as soon as late October 2021 (but don't be surprised if it's a few months later).