WarnerMedia Reveals Price, Launch Date, New Content for HBO Max


WarnerMedia has confirmed a price of $14.99 for HBO Max when it launches in the U.S. in May 2020, with a slew of newly unveiled programming highlights such as exclusive South Park rights, Greg Berlanti DC projects, all-new Looney Tunes cartoons and more.

“With this entire company coming together, we will have one of the most robust collections of premium streaming content that will appeal to all demographics in the household, and be able to achieve incredible scale and reach right out of the gate,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer. “We couldn’t achieve this without AT&T’s unprecedented and enthusiastic support. When you live in a world with ‘dragons’—it feels very good to have one of your own in the game!”

HBO Max will launch with 10,000 hours of content, including the entire HBO service, bundled with new HBO Max originals targeted at young adults, kids and families.

A new collection of kids’ and family programming from Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios is coming to HBO Max. All-new Looney Tunes cartoons and a new Jellystone series—featuring the beloved Hanna-Barbera characters—have been picked up from Warner Bros. Animation. The new animated series The Fungies! and Tig N’ Seek from Cartoon Network Studios have also been ordered. Academy Award winner Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Back to the Future) is behind Tooned Out, a hybrid live-action and animated comedy in development. HBO Max also secured a collection of classics from the libraries of Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies and Hanna-Barbera.

“As we build and expand our kids’ and family programming slate, we’re reintroducing some of the most cherished and iconic characters and creating new animated friends to fall in love with,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer for HBO Max and president for TBS, TNT and truTV. “These new series from the talented teams at Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios are sure to become instant classics.”

Comedy originals include Rap Sh*t (working title) from Issa Rae (Insecure, A Black Lady Sketch Show), a half-hour show that follows a female rap group from outside of Miami trying to make it in the music industry, and College Girls (w/t), the latest series from Mindy Kaling (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Mindy Project, The Office). DC Super Hero High is a half-hour comedy series, executive produced by Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels, Pitch Perfect, Shrill), which follows a group of students experiencing the fun and drama of adolescence at a boarding school for gifted kids.

“Elizabeth Banks, Issa Rae and Mindy Kaling are three of the most gifted women in our industry, and are now bringing their impressive, original projects to HBO Max,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max.

Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Titans, Doom Patrol) is behind Strange Adventures, a DC Super Hero anthology series. There’s also a Green Lantern-inspired series to come from Berlanti Productions. “Both of these original DC properties we’ll be creating for HBO Max will be unlike anything seen on television,” said Berlanti. “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.”

Ridley Scott (The Martian, Blade Runner, Alien: Covenant) is executive producing and directing Raised by Wolves, an epic serialized sci-fi series centered on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. “As we strive to set a high creative bar for HBO Max, there’s no better person to set that bar than Ridley Scott as he delivers his first season of yet another incredible vision realized,” said Reilly.

Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriquez (Jane the Virgin) is starring in Bobbie Sue, a feature-length film following the story of a headstrong young lawyer who lands a career-making case with an upper-crust law firm, only to realize she’s been hired for optics and not her expertise.

A brand-new Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, scored a straight-to-series order for HBO. Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the ten-episode series, which is set 300 years before the events of GoT, tells the story of House Targaryen. It is co-created by Martin and Ryan Condal. Miguel Sapochnik and Condal will partner as showrunners and will also serve as executive producers along with Martin and Vince Gerardis. “The Game of Thrones universe is so rich with stories,” commented Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming. “We look forward to exploring the origins of House Targaryen and the earlier days of Westeros along with Miguel, Ryan and George.”

Regarding acquisitions, HBO Max secured exclusive streaming rights in the U.S. to Comedy Central’s South Park. The multiyear licensing deal sees all 23 seasons of the award-winning animated satire become available exclusively on the streamer in June 2020 followed by three brand-new seasons, which will debut on HBO Max 24 hours after each episode premieres on Comedy Central.

South Park is unequivocally among the best—setting the satirical gold standard, with a consistent finger on the comedy pulse,” said Reilly. “Audiences have connected with Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny—either alive or dead—for over 20 years, and we look forward to connecting these characters to new audiences on HBO Max.”

The direct-to-consumer offering also secured streaming rights to Adult Swim’s Emmy Award-winning animated series Rick and Morty for the U.S. All three seasons of Rick and Morty that have aired to date will be available to viewers on the service when HBO Max launches. Future seasons of Rick and Morty will continue to premiere on Adult Swim before streaming on HBO Max.

The company is eyeing 50 million domestic subscribers and 75 million to 90 million premium subscribers by year-end in 2025 across the U.S., Latin America and Europe. At launch, AT&T will offer HBO Max to the roughly 10 million HBO subscribers on AT&T distribution platforms at no additional charge. HBO Now direct-billed users who subscribe through HBONow.com will also have access to HBO Max. AT&T customers on premium video, mobile and broadband services will be offered bundles with HBO Max included at no additional charge.

“We’ve positioned HBO Max in a way that makes sense for our company, our distribution partners and our customers,” said Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media. “We are creating a company-wide ‘membership model’ that taps into AT&T’s 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships, 5,500 retail stores and 3.2 billion annual customer touchpoints to achieve scale and reach at launch.”