The streaming wars have almost begun in earnest, with AppleTV+ and Disney+ approaching soon. HBO Max will be joining them shortly, and they held a live streaming event today laying out more of what their programming is going to look like. When it launches in May 2020, they are promising to include over 10,000 hours of content — the amount available will only increase from there.
Their library of "existing" content will include programming from TBS, TNT, The CW, CNN, Tru TV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, and, of course, HBO, which will remain the cornerstone of the service. Casey Bloys, the president of programming for HBO, revealed some of what customers can expect.
For one thing, the entire existing library of HBO series will be available. Returning shows such as Westworld will eventually appear there as well, as will completely new HBO programming — which includes an adaptation of Stephen King's The Outsider, Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country, a new spin on Perry Mason starring Matthew Rhys, and the space comedy Avenue 5 from Veep creator Armando Ianucci. 2021 will see Joss Whedon's new series, The Nevers.
In terms of Hollywood blockbusters, HBO Max will have an insane number of titles available, and will be the new streaming home for The Lord of the Rings trilogy as well as The Matrix trilogy. They also promise to feature every recent film from DC, including every Batman and Superman movie from the last 20 years. And Joker will be available to stream at launch.
J.J. Abrams appeared at one point, as his production company, Bad Robot, will find a home for its television and films at HBO Max, via WarnerMedia. Abrams revealed that he is in talks with the service for a variety of new shows right now, and that the most exciting "is yet to come."
The entire Studio Ghibli catalog will also appear on the service (the first time it has ever been completely available), and all of the classic shows from Cartoon Network will appear, as will the first three seasons of Rick & Morty. New episodes of that show will eventually appear on the service after continuing to debut on Adult Swim.
The real draw of the service, however, will be the "Max Originals." These shows, as you have likely guessed, are being exclusively created for the streamer. In their launch year, they are promising to have 31 such shows, which will grow to 50 in 2021. These originals will be released gradually, instead of leaving viewers to, as they said, "binge and burn."
Sarah Aubrey (Head of Original Content) and Michael Quigley (Executive Vice President, Content Acquisition & Strategy for WarnerMedia) are heading up the Max Originals, and they took the stage to share what some of these new movies and shows include.
One of the most exciting announcements are two new DC shows coming from Arrowverse mastermind Greg Berlanti. The first is a comic anthology series called Strange Adventures, and the other is none other than a Green Lantern series.
Berlanti himself was present, noting (per THR), "Both of these original DC properties we’ll be creating for HBO Max will be unlike anything seen on television. ... An anthology series of cautionary tales set in a world where superpowers exist, and, in what promises to be our biggest DC show ever made, we will be going to space with a Green Lantern television series, but I can’t reveal any more about that just yet."
Whether it ties into the Arrowverse (or will feature David Ramsey, which has been teased on Arrow) is unknown at present.
Also in the mix will be a series called Jellystone, which will bring in a bunch of classic Hanna-Barbera characters. Looney Tunes will also see new life, as a live-action/animated hybrid show coming from Robert Zemeckis.
They're also developing DC Super Hero High from Elizabeth Banks' Brownstone Productions, which centers around a group of teens at a boarding school for the gifted — just regular kids, dealing with the highs and lows of high school, who don't yet realize their superhero futures.
Ridley Scott's 10-episode drama, Raised by Wolves, will now feature on HBO Max rather than TNT. Produced and directed by Scott and starring Travis Fimmel, the series will revolve around two androids raising human children on another planet.
Warner Bros. themselves will also have a large presence on the service, and a vast amount of their films will be available for streaming either at launch, or at a later date. 60 years of classics from MGM, and more classic titles from the Criterion Collection will be also be a part of the ever-shifting library. As if this wasn't enough, it was once again confirmed once that HBO Max will be the exclusive new home of the sci-fi BBC classic, Doctor Who.
In the wake of today's earlier news that the Naomi Watts-fronted Game of Thrones prequel will not be moving forward, HBO saved its biggest bomb for last — House of the Dragon was given a full series order of 10 episodes. This is the official Targaryen-based Game of Thrones spin-off that we'd heard of previously, co-created by George R.R. Martin along with Ryan Condal (Colony), who is also showrunning along with Thrones super director, Miguel Sapocknik.
“The Game of Thrones universe is so rich with stories,” said Bloys (via EW). “We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros along with Miguel, Ryan and George.”
HBO Max will cost $14.99 a month, but current AT&T customers with HBO will receive the service for free. Regular HBO customers (and HBO Now) subscribers will have a variety of ways to slide right over to this greatly expanded affair, using their current credentials. You'll also be able to get personalized viewing recommendations from Zac Efron, just in case that seals the streaming deal for you.
Can't wait to get going? HBO Max is set to launch in May of 2020.