Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Reveals One Of Streaming’s Biggest Problems

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

We’re mere months away from the release of the highly anticipated Beetlejuice sequel, and yet the original movie is not available to stream anywhere. You would think Warner Bros. would want easy access to the original movie as anticipation grows for the long-awaited sequel, and yet the only way to watch it digitally is by renting it on Amazon Prime. Is Warner Bros. trying to boost its cut of the rental profits before the new release, or is there more to why they’ve removed the 1988 cult classic from all streaming platforms, including its flagship service, Max?

Max Removed Beetlejuice From Streaming

Beetlejuice used to be available for streaming on Max, but the platform strangely removed the classic Tim Burton feature last fall. Now, it’s not available to stream at all unless you’re willing to part with four bucks to rent it on Amazon Prime or buy the digital version for $9.99. While it’s not unusual for old movies to fluctuate in streaming availability, the timing for Beetlejuice’s disappearance seems pretty strange. 

Warner Bros. Wants To Make It Hard To Watch The Original?

michael keaton beetlejuice 2

Why wouldn’t Warner Bros. want the original Beetlejuice getting as much streaming play as possible in the lead-up to the new movie? While there could be a handful of reasons why Beetlejuice is harder to find online, its evaporation in the lead-up to the sequel begs a broader question: Why don’t streaming platforms in general better highlight original IP movies when sequels/reboots come out?

Marketing strategy plays a crucial role in generating buzz around a new release, whether it’s an original story, sequel, or reboot. One such marketing tactic for a sequel or reboot, in particular, is creating scarcity. It’s entirely possible that Warner Bros. is deliberately limiting access to Beetlejuice in online streaming to enhance the perceived value of the upcoming release.

A Subscription Boosting Plan


By making the original Beetlejuice less accessible on streaming platforms, Warner Bros. could create a sense of exclusivity around the movie. When something is harder to obtain, it often becomes more desirable. This exclusivity can drive up interest among fans who want to revisit the original before the sequel’s release.

Scarcity can also contribute to building anticipation for the sequel. If audiences know they have limited time to watch or rewatch the original Beetlejuice before the sequel hits theaters or streaming platforms, they may be more eager to see the new installment. This anticipation can lead to increased ticket sales or streaming subscriptions once the original and sequel are both available.

A Stategic Marketing Ploy

The original Beetlejuice holds a special place in the hearts of many fans who grew up watching it. By restricting access to the movie, studios can tap into fans’ nostalgia and emotional connection to the franchise. This can further heighten excitement for the sequel, as fans reminisce about their favorite moments from the original and speculate about what the new installment will bring.

By strategically controlling the availability of the original Beetlejuice, Warner Bros. can maximize the impact of its marketing efforts for the sequel. They can focus their promotional campaigns on generating excitement for the new movie without diluting their messaging with competing content. This concentrated marketing approach can help ensure that the sequel receives maximum attention and visibility leading up to its release.

More Money From Rentals

Meanwhile, with Warner Bros. pushing out marketing efforts around the new sequel, boosting the emotions of nostalgia in fans who grew up watching the original movie, and creating scarcity on where to access the original Beetlejuice movie on streaming, they’re guiding fans directly to Amazon where they’re forced to shell out a few extra bucks to watch the original. 

While it’s just speculation, as fans rewatch the old movie in anticipation for the new film, odds are Warner Bros. stands to make a lot more from rentals and digital purchases of the original Beetlejuice, then than would have made from streaming revenue. 

While it might seem counterintuitive not to promote the original Beetlejuice on streaming platforms, creating scarcity could be a deliberate tactic to increase its perceived value and drive anticipation for the sequel.