Fans of vampires and Marvel who also happen to subscribe to HBO Max are in luck. The recently-launched streaming service has revealed the list of titles arriving in July and the Blade trilogy is among them. The Wesley Snipes action trilogy was one of the earliest, sincere efforts at making a comic book movie for the modern age and, for people of a certain age, the movies tap into a major nostalgia center.
Blade, Blade II and Blade: Trinity will all be available on HBO Max starting July 1. While Disney+ has largely become the destination for the Marvel Cinematic Universe and other Marvel fare as of late, these R-rated, violent movies don’t exactly fit the family-friendly bill for the Disney brand. Plus, this was long before Marvel was sold to Disney, with the trilogy being produced and distributed by Warner Bros./New Line Cinema. Given that Warner Bros. and HBO Max both fall under the umbrella of WarnerMedia, it makes sense for them to show up on the new service.
The landscape of comic book movies was a dramatically different place in 1998. It simply wasn’t something Hollywood was taking very seriously, especially an R-rated take on a character few were familiar with. That made Blade groundbreaking and truly unique. While X-Men would kick the door wide open for mainstream superhero adaptations two years later in 2000, Marvel owes a great deal to Blade, which was a big success at a time when the company was in financial trouble. Directed by Stephen Norrington, the movie earned $131 million at the box office, working from a budget of $45 million. While that may not sound like much by modern standards, at the time, it was big.
That paved the way for a pair of sequels, starting with 2002’s Blade II. The sequel swapped directors, with Guillermo del Toro taking over. The sequel is widely regarded as the best entry in the trilogy, and is also the most financially successful, as it earned $154 million during its theatrical run. That carved a path for yet another sequel, which came in the form of 2004’s Blade: Trinity. Once again, a new director stepped in, with series writer David S. Goyer taking the reigns. While it still did decent business at the box office, $131 million (but against a $65 million budget), the movie was panned by critics.
Now, we are on the cusp of a new era for the Daywalker. It was announced last year that Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali will star in a Blade reboot set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Prior to the announcement, Wesley Snipes revealed that he had been developing a pair of projects that would potentially see him return to the role. But Marvel and Disney decided to go another route. There is no word yet on who will direct the reboot or when it will begin filming. In the meantime, fans can check out the original Blade trilogy starting next week on HBO Max streaming app.