HBO Max, the long-anticipated streaming service that combines the libraries of HBO and Warner Brothers Pictures, has finally set May 27th as its launch date.
What is HBO Max?
The streaming platform will house all current and past HBO titles, including The Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Veep, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. But there’s much, much more…
Parent company Warner Media also controls the vast Warner Brother’s catalogue of movies, including recent hits like Crazy Rich Asians, A Star is Born and Joker as well as classics like Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane. Warner Brothers-produced TV shows are also included, like Friends and The Big Bang Theory. Friends had previously been an exclusive offering of rival Netflix but was removed from the platform as of January 1st of this year.
Months back, Warner promised a Friends reunion special with all six members of the sitcom’s original cast, but production was indefinitely postponed as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Finally, HBO Max will offer new, exclusive content, like the upcoming thriller The Flight Attendant starring Kaley Cuoco, a documentary about Amy Schumer’s comedy tour Expecting Amy, and a brand new season of the cult TV series Search Party, which originally aired on Warner-owned TBS.
Some sad news: The Harry Potter series, notably released in cinemas by WB, will not be available through HBO Max at launch, as NBC Universal still owns TV and digital distribution rights until April 2025.
How much will it cost?
HBO Max will cost $15 a month, which is notably higher than a basic plan on Netflix, which goes for $8.99/month. (Netflix also offers a Standard $13/month plan, and a Premium $16/month plan).
Still, HBO Now, the current monthly subscription service available to those who don’t have a cable subscription, already touts a $15 monthly fee. So for those who already pay for that service, it makes sense to switch to HBO Max, where you’ll get a ton more content for the same price.
Can a pandemic stop the launch?
Warner Media Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement that the ongoing shutdown of public life due to the coronavirus will not impede the platform’s debut: “Our number one goal is having extraordinary content for everyone in the family, and the HBO Max programming mix we are so excited to unveil on May 27 will bear that out,” Greenblatt stated. “Even in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, the all-star teams behind every aspect of HBO Max will deliver a platform and a robust slate of content that is varied, of the highest quality, and second to none. I’m knocked out by the breadth and depth of our new offering, from the Max originals, our Warner Bros library and acquisition titles from around the world, and of course the entirety of HBO.”