WarnerMedia is moving into the already-crowded streaming service market next year with HBO Max. The new streaming platform will combine titles from across the Warner Bros. film and TV library as well as introduce original films and series, but it will have to compete with legacy services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, as well as CBS All Access, Disney+, and NBCUniversal's forthcoming content library.
So, how will HBO Max set itself apart? Let's take a look at everything we know so far about this upcoming service.
HBO Max arrives in 2020. WarnerMedia has not yet announced an exact release date, but the service is slated to debut next year.
It won't be the cheapest service on the market. According to The Wall Street Journal, the price tag for an HBO Max subscription is expected to fall somewhere between $16 and $17 a month. This is a bit stiffer than Disney+'s planned price tag.
Expect to see a lot of familiar favorites. The new streaming service will combine titles from across Warners' properties, including HBO, Cinemax, New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, TruTV, Turner Classic Movies, and Cartoon Network.
This library will also include the exclusive streaming rights to all 10 seasons of Friends, which leaves Netflix in the new year, as well as The West Wing, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Pretty Little Liars, Batwoman, and the Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene. HBO Max will also boast the exclusive streaming rights to the BBC's Doctor Who (though not the classic series that aired from 1963-1989), Top Gear, and Luther starting next year, and WarnerMedia will also be the first streaming home for all 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory. The service is reportedly pursuing the addition of fellow Chuck Lorre comedy Two and a Half Men to its list of offerings as well.
Sesame Street is moving to HBO Max. There's about to be a new way to get to Sesame Street. The mainstay in children's TV is moving from HBO — and its on-demand platforms, HBO Now/Go — to HBO Max. The change will take effect in Season 51. (Season 50 premieres on HBO in fall 2019.) The deal, per Deadline, includes five new 35-episode seasons of Sesame Street; four new shows, including an Elmo-hosted talk show and an animated Sesame Street spin-off; annual specials; and the show's entire 50-year library, which includes more than 4,500 episodes. This is the first time the full Sesame Street library has been made available, though all episodes might not be streamable at once. Episodes will continue to air for free on PBS Kids following their premieres on HBO Max.
Search Party is on the move too. The dark comedy is moving from TBS to the streaming service for its upcoming third season, which will be available upon the platform's launch (as will the first two seasons). The streaming service has also picked up the show for Season 4 already.
HBO's new content will be a major feature. Count on seeing some of your HBO favorites available on the streaming service, including upcoming new shows that will also be available to HBO subscribers, like Stephen King's The Outsider, Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams' horror series Lovecraft Country, Joss Whedon's The Nevers, Julian Fellowes' The Gilded Age, and David E. Kelley's The Undoing.
The spin-off game is underway. One of the earliest titles announced for WarnerMedia's service was Dune: The Sisterhood, which is being shaped by Denis Villeneuve as a companion series to the upcoming Dune reboot set to hit theaters next November. The series will focus on the women of Bene Gesserit as they navigate the political framework of The Imperium to make way for the planet Arrakis.
Other vintage properties on HBO Max's slate include a Gremlins prequel series, which will spend (at least) 10 episodes exploring Gizmo's history. Fans of The CW's Gossip Girl will get to see a sequel to the series that focuses on a new generation of Upper East Siders grappling with the social landscape of New York private school life. And a revived new edition of the satirical animated series The Boondocks got a two-season pick-up with creator Aaron McGruder back in the fold. The original series that aired on Adult Swim will be coming to the service, too.
And most unnecessarily/intriguingly of all, the service is doing a Grease musical series called Grease: Rydell High. It will be set in the '50s and touch on "the peer pressures of high school, the horrors of puberty, and the rollercoaster of life in middle America with a modern sensibility."
Get excited for a lot of literary adaptations. HBO Max is wasting no time getting into the book-to-screen business. The Flight Attendant will feature The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco in an intercontinental homicide mystery, based on Chris Bohjalian's best-selling 2018 novel. Tokyo Vice will center on Ansel Elgort as an American journalist who tries to sniff out corruption in the eponymous police department; the series is an adaptation of Jake Adelstein's 2010 memoir of the same name.
Cristin Milioti is set to star in an adaptation of Alissa Nutting's Made for Love, with Ray Romano on board as her estranged father. Maniac's Patrick Somerville will serve as showrunner for both that series and for an adaptation of 2014 post-apocalyptic novel Station Eleven, which will be helmed by celebrated director Hiro Murai.
HBO Max has also ordered a pilot for a potential series adaptation of Alice Hoffman's Rules of Magic, a prequel to the story of 1998's Practical Magic, with Melissa Rosenberg writing and executive producing. And hot off the success of When They See Us, Ava Duvernay will direct and executive a pilot called DMZ, based on a DC Comic about a near future in which the United States is embroiled in a new civil war. Confederate who?
Classic novel retellings are another hot commodity for HBO Max, as Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver will deliver an eight-episode adaptation of Madeline Miller's Circe, a new take on The Odyssey. They've also secured the rights to adapt Jenny Lee's upcoming novel Anna K: A Love Story, a modern, multicultural version of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.
And then there's The Shelley Society, which is a sort of made-up literary historical adaptation from Riverdale's Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Tessa Leigh Williams, and James DeWille. It's described as a "Victorian X-Files" where "young author Mary Shelley leads a band of Romantic outlaws — among them, her lovers Percy and Lord Byron — against all manner of supernatural threats and monsters... including Frankenstein author Shelley's own iconic Creature." The potential series has gotten a pilot order.
Some completely new series are in the works as well. Following a massive bidding war, J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot is beginning to roll out its original offerings within this new partnership. They production company will be connected to Drama Queen, a half-hour dramedy series pilot based on the childhood of TVLine co-founder Michael Ausiello. Abrams' secretive sci-fi project Demimonde has been given a straight-to-series order as well. Nicole Kidman is also producing a psychosexual love story series called Crime Farm for the streaming service.
Meanwhile, Anna Kendrick will star in and executive-produce a new romantic comedy anthology series called Love Life, with the help of Paul Feig. And the streaming service has also ordered pilots for Generation, a half-hour dramedy from Zelda Barnz about high school and sexuality, and Red Bird Lane, an hour-long YA horror drama that centers on a group of strangers who find themselves drawn to an isolated house. New Zealand's Rose Matafeo will also create, write, and star in a six-part comedy series called Starstruck, and Jessica Rothe will star in the pilot for the potential half-hour comedy series Delilah.
It's getting into the unscripted game. HBO Max has ordered two unscripted series from Queer Eye and The Amazing Race producers. There's Legendary, which is a voguing competition in the vein of RuPaul's Drag Race, and The Greatest Space (working title), a design competition show where interior designers travel all over the world and make over empty rooms into spectacular spaces. Both are produced by Queer Eye's David Collins, Michael Williams, and Rob Eric, with The Amazing Race's Bertram van Munster & Elise Doganieri and Mark Dziak joining for The Greatest Space.
The film slate is coming together. HBO Max is expected to bring some new films from Greg Berlanti and Reese Witherspoon to the service and it has also acquired the rights Steven Soderbergh's Let Them All Talk, starring Meryl Streep as an author who goes on a journey with old friends. In addition, the Melissa McCarthy comedy Superintelligence, previously set for release by Warner Bros. in December, will exclusively debut on HBO Max in 2020. The comedy, directed by McCarthy's husband and longtime collaborator, Ben Falcone (Life of the Party, Tammy), also stars Bobby Cannavale, Brian Tyree Henry, Jean Smart, and James Corden. Superintelligence will premiere when HBO Max launches in spring 2020.
On the the documentary side, there's 15 Minutes of Shame, from Monica Lewinsky and Catfish's Max Joseph. The doc explores public shaming in the modern era. A documentary chronicling Amy Schumer's difficult pregnancy, tentatively titled Expecting Amy, is also in the works.
Sports might become a fixture ... eventually. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson revealed over the summer that HBO Max might eventually get into the live sports business, with an eye on NBA, MLB, and soccer games.
HBO Max is expected to arrive in 2020.