New Welcome to Derry update could spell good news for the prequel's success

Warner Bros. makes a strategic shift for the release of Welcome to Derry and other major IP titles.
BILL SKARSGÅRD as Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller "IT CHAPTER TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
BILL SKARSGÅRD as Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller "IT CHAPTER TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. /

We're still a while away from the release of Warner Bros.' It prequel series, Welcome to Derry, but we just got an interesting update this afternoon that seems promising. As reported by Variety, the company is making a strategic shift in how they're billing their HBO titles, making the decision to move big IP projects under the HBO umbrella instead of Max. This includes the upcoming Harry Potter show, along with Welcome to Derry, which were previously announced as Max Originals.

What's the distinction between HBO and Max? They're both owned by the same company, right? That's correct, though Warner Bros. has traditionally kept their premium titles, such as Succession, The White Lotus, and The Last of Us, under its prestigious HBO name, while other series are kept under the Max umbrella. Shows that are considered HBO Originals have linear showings as well as the option to stream on Max, while Max Originals only have the latter.

That means that while fans of Max Original Pretty Little Liars: Summer School no doubt enjoyed watching new episodes every Thursday at various times of the day (or later in the week), the majority of HBO Original House of the Dragon fans watch new episodes at the same time every Sunday night, making it an appointment viewing experience Max Originals have not been able to capture. Live-tweeting episodes as they air and discussing all the biggest moments at work the next morning only strengthens a show's community, and, in turn, strengthens viewership numbers.

Welcome to Derry being billed as an HBO Original should work in its favor

Now that Welcome to Derry is billed as an HBO Original, that means it will air on linear once a week on the channel HBO, and episodes will be simultaneously released on the Max streaming service. This is definitely the best combination, providing the show with the best of both worlds and the best potential to perform.

BILL SKARSGÅRD as Pennywise in New Line Cinema’s horror thriller "IT CHAPTER TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo Credit: Brooke Palmer. /

Chairman and CEO of HBO and Max Content, Casey Bloys, spoke to the strategy shift, confirming they are looking to keep Thursday night and Sunday night releases for their HBO Originals. Even if Welcome to Derry doesn't get that sought-after Sunday night spot, new episodes coming out every Thursday night at 9:00 p.m. ET, for example, should only help the show's popularity.

Moving forward, as Variety puts it, all "tentpole series" will be branded as HBO Originals, a move that totally makes sense. We can assume Warner Bros. is giving their tentpole titles the biggest budgets for both production and marketing, and they'd want them to have the widest reach. But this also begs the question of why Warner Bros. even wanted to drop the HBO name in the first place. The groundbreaking network has produced some of the best TV shows of all time, and everyone knows the name HBO. It's not surprising the company is backpedaling.

As Bloody Disgusting's John Squires puts it:

Whatever you think about Warner Bros.' decisions at this point, the move to make Welcome to Derry an HBO Original should only help its chances of succeeding, and hopefully, we'll get multiple seasons of the prequel if that's what Andy Muschietti and co. want. I cannot wait to see Bill Skarsgärd reprise his role as Pennywise, and I'm truly rooting for this show!

There's no release date yet for Welcome to Derry, but we can expect it to premiere sometime in 2025.

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