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HBO Max Announces ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Streaming Date; Returning to 45-Day Window for Drama-Plagued Film

David Satin

The unusual path that Olivia Wilde’s “Don’t Worry Darling” has taken through its production and release schedule is taking another unexpected turn. Warner Bros. Discovery, which is distributing the film, has announced via Twitter that the movie is coming to streaming on HBO Max on Monday, Nov. 7, exactly 45 days following its cinema premiere.

“Don’t Worry Darling” has struggled mightily in theaters. It was released on Sept. 23 in the U.S., but has since grossed just $83.5 million globally, and only $44.8M domestically. Many felt that the numerous controversies surrounding the film might get audiences curious enough to go see it for themselves, but the movie could not overcome its 38% rating on the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

The film has been all over the entertainment and gossip headlines for weeks, due to a series of public controversies, including (but not limited to) Wilde’s rumored relationship with the film’s star Harry Styles. Co-star Florence Pugh’s reported refusal to do press for the film was also a big story, as were conflicting accounts of actor Shia LaBeouf’s departure from the project, Wilde’s press tour gaffes, an alleged spitting incident, and more.

Don’t Worry Darling

September 21, 2022

Alice and Jack are lucky to be living in the idealized community of Victory, the experimental company town housing the men who work for the top-secret Victory Project and their families. But when cracks in their idyllic life begin to appear, exposing flashes of something much more sinister lurking beneath the attractive façade, Alice can’t help questioning exactly what they’re doing in Victory, and why.

All of those factors have conspired to force WBD to pull the film from theaters much sooner than it probably would have liked to. The company seemed to have nixed the idea of sending movies to streaming in as little as 45 days after their theatrical debut, but obviously that is flexible. CEO David Zaslav has repeatedly made clear that the company wants its movies to be in theaters or available for purchase on premium video-on-demand platforms for as long as possible.

This trend started with the summer release of Baz Luhrmann’s “Elvis” biopic, which deviated from the traditional 45-day window and landed on POV platforms while the film was still in theaters, before eventually arriving on HBO Max 70 days later. Even the animated family film “DC’s League of Super-Pets” got 59 days in theaters before moving to streaming, showing that WBD is going to be flexible when it comes to its windowing.

Presumably, audience reaction and continued box office momentum will play a huge part in these decisions moving forward. Although “Don’t Worry Darling” has already exceeded its $35 million budget (not including marketing costs), the box office returns are striking. WBD’s latest superhero tentpole “Black Adam” has delivered over $250 million at the global box office in its first two weeks in theaters. The films are markedly different, but “Black Adam” also had to overcome a tepid response from critics, and has done so resoundingly. We estimate that “Black Adam” will arrive on HBO Max around Jan. 19, 2023.

The controversies surrounding “Don’t Worry Darling” will cool off sooner or later, but the film itself will live on in infamy. Starting Monday, Nov. 7 it will do so in its new home: HBO Max.


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