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Zack Snyder's Justice League Sends HBO Max Crashing Down

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You may have noticed that a certain movie called Zack Snyder's Justice League has been dominating the internet this week. Thanks to years of fan lobbying, what started out as the borderline mythical Snyder Cut has turned into a 243-minute beast of a movie that finally brings Snyder's very, very lengthy original vision to screens around the world. This new (many would say "definitive") version of Justice League is an obvious repudiation of the ... less than cherished 2017 theatrical version, which Joss Whedon (in)famously took over after Snyder left the project due to a personal tragedy. 

Judging by the incredible amount of hype surrounding Zack Snyder's Justice League, it would be easy to assume that upon its debut on HBO Max, the massive movie was destined for one of two fates: Either it would turn out to be a massive flop, essentially dooming all future fan campaigns, or it would become a resounding success that sets a tantalizing precedent. So, which one is it shaping out to be? 

Right now, the scales are tipping toward "resounding success." It remains to be seen just what kind of monster business the movie does for HBO Max, but it certainly looks like business is booming. Not only have critics had plenty of good things to say about the Snyder Cut, but fans are loving the movie to the point that their love reportedly caused the streaming platform to crash.

Let's take a look at how Zack Snyder's Justice League sent HBO Max crashing down.

HBO Max vs. the massive viewer spike Zack Snyder's Justice League wrought

When HBO Max released Zack Snyder's Justice League on Thursday, March 18, 2021, people were ready. So ready, in fact, that the streaming service experienced a massive tsunami of eager viewers right away (via Comicbook.com). While "lots of customers" is nigh-universally perceived as a great thing, the sheer volume of this particular viewer spike reportedly caused parts of HBO Max to collapse under the sheer weight of pent-up SnyderVerse demand. 

HBO Asia seems to have taken the worst of it. In response to widespread outages, the official HBO Asia Twitter account tweeted: "Hi everyone, we are working hard to restore the service! Sorry to keep you waiting but thank you for your patience!" As the replies to this message made clear, the people — who, remember, had been waiting for years to see the movie — were not exactly amused, especially as some users reported that the crash lasted for several hours. "HOW!? we've been waiting for 3 hours," user @RizkymAArifin tweeted. "It's still not working! Come on! I have been waiting for so long," an exasperated @BatofGotham6 chimed in, complete with a crying emoji. One would think Zack Snyder fans would have learned that patience is a virtue at this point.

On the day the movie dropped, the issues with HBO Max reportedly started around 2 AM Eastern, and in under nine hours, the Downdetector tracking site received no less than 127 outage reports about the streamer. According to the site's data, things remained somewhat problematic for the rest of the day, with the biggest outage spike hitting just before 7 PM (119 reports). Reports continued to flood in until 11 PM, suggesting this was not just a temporary issue. The situation started to calm down around midnight, and by the wee early of hours of March 19, everything seemed to be back to normal across the network.

How could Zack Snyder's Justice League crash HBO Max?

HBO Max probably won't give the world a detailed technical report about all the back-end intricacies that caused the video streaming issues. Perhaps HBO Max didn't totally buy the absurd amount of hype surrounding Zack Snyder's Justice League, and had foolishly prepared for a much smaller pool of immediate viewers. Without proper prep on the tech side, it's certainly possible the site got blindsided by the massive influx of Snyder faithfuls who actually materialized to be among the first folks at the viewing party. 

Regardless of what exactly caused the problem, the spike was pretty substantial since HBO Asia actually addressed it. For context, when Game of Thrones season 8 premiered in 2019 and folks took to social media with similar outage issues, HBO specifically told Entertainment Weekly that it didn't "experience any service outages on HBO GO or HBONOW in the U.S. during last night's Game of Thrones season 8 premiere." Does this mean that Zack Snyder's Justice League blew the premiere of Game of Thrones' final season out of the water? 

The final numbers remain to be seen, but the fact that Zack Snyder's Justice League's release coincided with so many reported issues on HBO Max sure seems to speak volumes of the project's popularity. At the moment, all indications are that this precedent-setting experiment in revisionist filmmaking has been a resounding success.