There’s no love lost between The Rock and Warner Bros. First, the former wrestler-turned-actor had a falling out with DC over Black Adam and the direction of the DCEU. On top of that, Warner Bros. Discovery pulled Dwayne Johnson’s hit sports dramedy Ballers off their streaming service Max and sold it to rival Netflix, where it will be available to stream on August 15. Apparently, Warner execs could smell what the Rock was cooking, and they weren’t too impressed with his culinary skills.
Dwayne Johnson‘s HBO Original Ballers is now streaming on Netflix.
Ballers was created for HBO by Stephen Levinson and starred Dwayne Johnson as Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL player now working as a financial manager for other professional football players.
The show also starred Rob Corddry of Hot Tub Time Machine fame, and Tenet‘s John David Washington, as well as Jazmyn Simon, Brittany S. Hall, and Man of Steel‘s Richard Schiff. The series ran for five seasons, starting in 2015 and continuing until the series finale on October 13, 2019.
Ballers revolved around Dwayne Johnson’s Strasmore as he navigated the world of professional sports, including not just the players he represented but their families and friends as well. It was an exciting glimpse into a side of professional sports that occurs largely off the field and away from the fans.
The show was a hit for HBO both critically and financially, with one critic praising Dwayne Johnson for his “charm” while describing the series as “the NFL version of Entourage.” Meanwhile, football fans loved the show for its in-depth look into the personal lives of professional athletes—warts and all. The easy camaraderie between several of the characters as well as their over-the-top shenanigans, makes the comparison to Entourage more than fitting.
Given the show’s success and the fact that it originally aired on HBO, it would only make sense for the series to end up on HBO’s own streaming service Max. Unfortunately, ever since its merger with Discovery, Warner Bros might as well call itself a 1984 Talking Heads concert film because they’ve stopped making sense.
Following layoffs, cancelations, and even the shelving of completed films like Batgirl and the Scoob sequels, David Zaslav’s newest “hold my beer” decision is to dump a bunch of Max’s most popular shows onto rival streamer Netflix.
It was an exciting glimpse into a side of professional sports that occurs largely off the field and away from the fans.
Dwayne Johnson’s Ballers isn’t the only HBO series being exiled to a competitor’s platform. All five seasons of Insecure, a series starring Barbie‘s Issa Rae, are already available to watch on Netflix. While those two shows might not be the shows that immediately come to mind when fans hear the name HBO, Band of Brothers and Six Feet Under probably are.
Both shows are also coming to Netflix thanks to an exclusive deal between Warner Bros. and the streamer that also includes HBO hit True Blood—but only for countries outside the U.S.
One can only assume that Zaslav and Warner Bros. Discovery are trying to make a quick buck while they can in light of the uncertainty currently plaguing Hollywood productions thanks to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes.
Max To Netflix
Hopefully, moving Dwayne Johnson and the rest of the Ballers from Max to Netflix isn’t a harbinger of worse things to come. Luckily we know Warner Bros. and HBO haven’t hit “Fire sale, everything must go!” territory until they start selling off their absolute biggest properties, like The Sopranos and Game of Thrones.
Live-action shows aren’t the only things disappearing from Max and showing up on other streamers either. DC animated series The Batman (not to be confused with the Robert Pattinson film of the same name) was removed from Max earlier this year with little fanfare and quietly shuffled over to Netflix. Other cartoons, like the Max original Infinity Train, which disappeared from streaming entirely, haven’t been quite so lucky.
Zaslav and Warner Bros. Discovery’s content purge has been shining a light on one of the problems with streaming media, the fact that the viewer has no ownership of the product. Max can pull any show it wants, and if the show isn’t given a new home, then that’s it. It’s gone.
Luckily that didn’t happen to Ballers. Fans of the Dwayne Johnson sports comedy-drama can pop on Netflix whenever they’re in need of a quick dose of The Rock‘s million-watt smile. Ballers will be available to stream exclusively on Netflix starting August 15th.