With films getting unceremoniously yanked all the time, it can be hard to keep up with each streaming service's various departures. But HBO Max users are spotting an altogether more curious disappearance from the platform: cigars and cigarettes.
It seems the company has been editing the objects out of posters on certain films' splash screens, and the results look, well, a little daft. And what's even stranger is the fact that not every cigarette has been stubbed out. (Looking for poster inspiration? Check out the best print ads of all time.)
No Smoking!Twitter users report HBO Max removed Warren Beatty’s and Paul Newman's cigars from movie poster art used on its home page: McCabe & Mrs. Miller.The Life and Times of Roy Bean. pic.twitter.com/QLPz0olJz1September 13, 2022
The painted posters for 1970s classics McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, and There Once was a Crooked Man, no longer feature the lead actors puffing away. But their hands and fingers are still raised in the classic 'smoking' pose, as through they're partaking in a mime course – or a school drama performance.
When Twitter users began to spot the edits, Vulture writer Eric Vilas-Boas reached out to HBO Max (opens in new tab), but the company has "kept mum" on the issue. This means we still don't know exactly why the streamer has been culling the cigs – whether it's related to health, product placement or something else entirely.
Strangely, there are still some posters up there that do feature smoking, including The Nitwits, The Man who Knew Too Much, and The Many Saints of Newark. It's possible these are also facing the chop, or perhaps the cigarette removal system has since been abandoned.
HBO's ghost cigarettes are by no means the first movie poster design crimes we've seen in recent months. From The Northman's missing title to that DVD cover critic quote catastrophe, there's no shortage of big screen blunders out there.