HBO Max might have won the streaming wars with one single announcement: It will have the “Snyder Cut.” In the lead up to the streamer’s launch, it was announced that HBO Max will premiere director Zack Snyder’s version of the 2017 film Justice League in 2021. This is a move that fans have demanded pretty much since the movie’s release to divisive reviews — one that they’ve passionately covered on social media, usually with the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut.
“I want to thank HBO Max and Warner Brothers for this brave gesture of supporting artists and allowing their true visions to be realized. Also a special thank you to all of those involved in the SnyderCut movement for making this a reality,” Snyder said in a statement
This came off the back of another announcement of a second wave of titles that will come to the platform after launch, on June 18.
The WarnerMedia division, which had earlier announced its launch titles, set premiere dates for premium Max Originals including scripted comedy Frayed, DC Universe comic book–based series Doom Patrol, a new season of comedy thriller Search Party, adult animated comedy Close Enough, comedian Amy Schumer’s three-part documentary Expecting Amy, family docusoap the House of Ho, unscripted animal rescue series The Dog House, unscripted kids competition series Karma, animated special Adventure Time: Distant Lands – BMO, animated series Tig N’ Seek, and Sesame Workshop’s animated series Esme & Roy.
Learn more about each title and its release date below.
HBO Max will launch on May 27. WarnerMedia first announced that the service will launch in May with 10,000 hours of programming for $14.99 per month back in October 2019.
The AT&T division unveiled the news about its streaming service’s price to press and investors on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank in a presentation that featured announcements about more new originals from Ridley Scott, Greg Berlanti, Mindy Kaling, Elizabeth Banks, Issa Rae, Conan O’Brien, Looney Tunes, and Cartoon Network Studios. (The event also revealed that Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon got a 10-episode straight-to-series order — read more.)
At launch, AT&T will immediately 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 directly through HBONow.com will also be given access. AT&T customers on premium video, mobile, and broadband services will be offered bundles with HBO Max included at no additional charge.
The company is aiming for 50 million domestic subscribers and 75-90 million premium subscribers by year-end 2025 across the U.S., Latin America, and Europe.
(Photo by )
The HBO Max launch slate includes the scripted comedy Love Life, starring Anna Kendrick; Sundance 2020 Official Selection feature documentary On the Record; underground ballroom dance competition series Legendary; Craftopia, hosted by YouTube sensation LaurDIY; the all-new Looney Tunes Cartoons, from Warner Bros. Animation; and Sesame Workshop’s The Not Too Late Show with Elmo. (Read detailed program descriptions below.)
The streaming service will offer 10,000 hours of programming, including all of HBO’s library, Warner Bros. titles past and present, partner content, and a monthly slate of scripted and unscripted Max Originals for all ages (series, documentaries, animation, and movies).
Max Originals will continue to premiere on the streamer throughout summer and fall, including The Flight Attendant, starring and executive produced by Kaley Cuoco (pictured), from Berlanti Productions, and based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian; the Friends unscripted cast reunion special; all-new original episodes of DC series Doom Patrol; a new season of mystery comedy Search Party; the three-part documentary series Expecting Amy, an intimate look at comedian Amy Schumer’s life on tour creating a stand-up special during her difficult pregnancy; sci-fi series Raised by Wolves from director and executive producer Ridley Scott (Blade Runner); Close Enough, an adult animated comedy from Regular Show creator J.G. Quintel that portrays the surreal life of a millennial family living with roommates; and Adventure Time: Distant Lands- BMO, the first of four specials resurrecting Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time.
Craftopia is an epic kids crafting competition show hosted and executive produced by YouTube influencer Lauren Riihimaki aka (LaurDIY). Creating and demonstrating crafts to over 8.9 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, LaurDIY has been deemed the “millennial Martha Stewart” by Forbes. On Craftopia, 9 to 15-year old contestants put their imaginations to the test and make their crafting dreams come true in a magical studio. After racing to fill up their carts with inspiring materials from the studio “store,” crafters meet larger-than-life challenges, making truly inventive and amazing creations in order to take home the ‘Craftrophia.’
Craftopia is executive produced by Rhett Bachner and Brien Meagher for B17 Entertainment.
Pulling directly from the underground ballroom community, voguing teams (aka “houses”) must compete in unbelievable balls and showcase sickening fashion in order to achieve “legendary” status. The cast includes MC Dashaun Wesley and DJ MikeQ as well as celebrity judges Law Roach, Jameela Jamil, Leiomy Maldonado, and Megan Thee Stallion. From Scout Productions, Emmy Award–winning Queer Eye executive producers David Collins, Rob Eric, and Michael Williams serve as executive producers. Jane Mun (People’s Choice Awards) and Josh Greenberg (Lip Sync Battle) serve as executive producers and showrunners.
Love Life, the first full-length scripted series to star Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect franchise), is about the journey from first love to last love, and how the people we’re with along the way make us into who we are when we finally end up with someone forever. This fresh take on a romantic comedy anthology series is from creator and co-showrunner Sam Boyd (In a Relationship) and is produced by Lionsgate Television and Feigco Entertainment. The series will follow a different protagonist’s quest for love each season, with each half-hour episode telling the story of one of their relationships. Kendrick stars in the first season along with Zoë Chao (Downhill), Peter Vack (Someone Great), Sasha Compere (Miracle Workers), and Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread).
Kendrick serves as an executive producer alongside Paul Feig (A Simple Favor) and Dan Magnante (Someone Great). Sam Boyd, who wrote the pilot and directs, also executive produces with co-showrunner and executive producer Bridget Bedard (Transparent).
LOONEY TUNES CARTOONS
Looney Tunes Cartoons, an all-new series from Warner Bros. Animation starring the cherished Looney Tunes characters. Looney Tunes Cartoons echoes the high production value and process of the original Looney Tunes theatrical shorts with a cartoonist-driven approach to storytelling. Marquee Looney Tunes characters will be featured in their classic pairings in simple, gag-driven and visually vibrant stories. The new series will include 80 eleven-minute episodes, each comprised of animated shorts that vary in length and include adapted storylines for today’s audience. Fans can also look forward to holiday-themed specials. Looney Tunes Cartoons is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and features a talented group of voice cast members including Eric Bauza, Jeff Bergman and Bob Bergen. Pete Browngardt (Uncle Grandpa) and Sam Register (Teen Titans Go!) serve as executive producers.
THE NOT TOO LATE SHOW WITH ELMO
Elmo is the host of his very own talk show and he’s going to bring you some (not-too-late) fun with an all-new, celeb-studded talk show series. This brand-new “primetime” series brings familiar Sesame Street friends like Elmo, Cookie Monster, celebrity guests, and laughs the whole family can enjoy! Elmo will interview guests such as fellow late-night hosts Jimmy Fallon and John Oliver, comedian John Mullaney, New York Times best-selling author Kwame Alexander, actress Blake Lively, and award-winning musical acts Lil Nas X and The Jonas Brothers.
The Not Too Late Show with Elmo is produced by Sesame Workshop.
ON THE RECORD
Directed and produced by Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering (The Hunting Ground, The Invisible War), and first reported by the New York Times, On The Record presents the powerful haunting story of music executive Drew Dixon (collaborator on hit records by Method Man and Mary J. Blige, Estelle and Kanye West, and Whitney Houston) as she grapples with her decision to become one of the first women of color, in the wake of #MeToo, to come forward and publicly accuse hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of sexual assault.
The documentary, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, chronicles not only Dixon’s story but that of several other accusers – Sil Lai Abrams, Sheri Sher – delving deeply into the ways women of colors’ voices are all too often silenced and ignored when they allege sexual assault, as well as the cultural forces that pressure them to remain silent.
(Photo by Courtesy HBO Max)
The entire first season of the unscripted kids adventure competition series Karma, led by YouTube host Michelle Khare.
An original second season of the critically acclaimed DC Universe fan-favorite Doom Patrol; an original second season of Sesame Workshop’s animated series Esme & Roy, taking preschool-aged viewers on learning adventures through Monsterdale; a brand new third season of the comedy thriller Search Party (the first two seasons will be available on the platform at launch on May 27); and Adventure Time: Distant Lands- BMO, the first of four hour-long breakout specials resurrecting the Emmy and Peabody award-winning franchise Adventure Time.
The premiere of the three-part documentary series Expecting Amy, an unfiltered and intimate view into comedian Amy Schumer’s life on tour creating a stand-up special during her difficult pregnancy, directed and edited by Alexander Hammer, and the adult animated comedy Close Enough, a hilarious look at the surreal life of a millennial family living with roommates, from J.G. Quintel, creator of the Emmy-winning Regular Show.
Multi- generational family docusoap The House of Ho, chronicling the daily lives of patriarch Binh Ho, matriarch Hue Ho, their daughter Judy Ho, their son Washington Ho and his wife Lesley Ho, Aunt Tina, and Cousin Sammy, lands on the platform.
Cartoon Network Studios’ animated children’s series Tig n’ Seek, following eight-year-old Tiggy and his gadget-building cat Gweeseek, pounces onto the service.
Scripted comedy Frayed, which follows a wealthy Londoner as she travels back to the Australian home she escaped as a teen, and the unscripted heartwarming British animal rescue series The Dog House have their U.S. premieres.
(Photo by Courtesy of HBO Max)
HBO Max announced in late April that it has acquired rights to distribute has acquired worldwide rights to An American Pickle, which will be released on August 6 under the upcoming platform’s Warner Max label. The film, starring Seth Rogen in dual leading roles, is an adaptation of the 2013 New Yorker series “Sell Out” by Simon Rich who also adapts, and is directed by Brandon Trost, the cinematographer from Rogen’s previous films This is the End, Neighbors, and The Interview.
HBO Max announced in a statement that it had acquired the film from Sony Pictures so that it would not be delayed due to Covid-19 theater closures and will reach audiences this year.
The film is based on Rich’s New Yorker novella and stars Rogen as Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1920 with dreams of building a better life for his beloved family. One day, while working at his factory job, he falls into a vat of pickles and is brined for 100 years. The brine preserves him perfectly and when he emerges in present day Brooklyn, he finds that he hasn’t aged a day. But when he seeks out his family, he is troubled to learn that his only surviving relative is his great grandson, Ben Greenbaum (also played by Rogen), a mild-mannered computer coder whom Herschel can’t even begin to understand.
(Photo by HBO Max)
(Photo by Warner Bros. / Courtesy: Everett Collection)
HBO Max will also include programming from Warner Bros. Television, responsible for many fan-favorite TV shows, including the CW superhero series (Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Black Lightning), Riverdale, and more, as well as original movies:
(Photo by HBO)
HBO Max will be the streaming home for HBO programming, including Game of Thrones and the network’s entire library of past, current, and upcoming series.
HBO Go (for subscribers to HBO on cable) and HBO Now (for non-cable subscribers) aren’t going anywhere, according to WarnerMedia. You can also get a digital subscription to HBO through Amazon, Hulu, DirecTV Now, or PlayStation Vue — but who knows what the future holds for all of those HBO-only options once HBO Max launches.
Just a reminder of some of the HBO original series in that library:
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)
HBO Max will offer 10,000 hours of curated premium content anticipated at launch, also including DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, and Looney Tunes. Then there are the movies from Turner Classic Movies, Warner Bros., and New Line (Wonder Woman, Shazam, A Star Is Born, and Crazy Rich Asians, among others).
HBO Max announced during the WarnerMedia Day event on October 29 that a number of classic and library titles will be coming to the streamer in its first year of launch, including: South Park, Rick & Morty, The O.C., Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Bachelor, Impractical Jokers, The Closer, Rizzolli and Isles, Major Crimes, The Alienist, The West Wing, United Shades of America with Kamau Bell, This Is Life with Lisa Ling, and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
In addition, a collection of classics from the libraries of Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, and Hannah Barbara will be available at launch.
(Photo by Studio Ghibli)
On October 17, HBO Max announced its deal for U.S. streaming rights to the complete collection of Studio Ghibli films, which will be available as part of the streaming service’s launch.
Studio Ghibli’s catalog of films include:
(Photo by BBC America)
On August 1, HBO Max announced a deal with BBC Studios that gives the streamer exclusive rights to the current Doctor Who series. All 11 seasons of the British sci-fi hit drama will be available on the WarnerMedia streaming service at launch and will mark the SVOD premiere of season 11. As part of the deal, HBO Max will also be the exclusive SVOD home for future seasons after they air on BBC America.
The streaming service will be fully integrated with the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV and available across Google platforms and devices and on Google Play when it launches on May 27, WarnerMedia announced in late April.
The launch strategy provides availability to U.S. customers on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD and across Android phones and tablets, Android TV devices, and Chromebooks.
Customers with second and third generation Apple TV models can stream HBO Max content from their iPhone or iPad to their TV with AirPlay. Existing HBO NOW customers who are billed through the App Store and HBO subscribers through Apple TV channels can log in and access the HBO Max app at no additional charge. New HBO Max customers will be able to subscribe directly in the app using in-app purchase.
Subscribers will also be able to stream their shows and movies via Google Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices, and current HBO NOW subscribers on Google Play will be able to log in and access the HBO Max app at no additional charge.
Throughout the year after its initial launch, HBO Max will roll out a variety of new features and functionalities not found on any other streaming platforms today, including:
HBO Max will also offer standard direct-to-consumer features, such as:
Sarah Aubrey, head of Original Content — who reports into Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer of HBO Max and president, TNT, TBS, and truTV — was previously executive vice president of Original Programming for TNT, with its lineup of original dramas such as Patty Jenkins’ I Am the Night (starring Chris Pine), Claws, Animal Kingdom, and the award-winning The Alienist.
Aubrey’s new team includes Joey Chavez, executive vice president of Original Drama; Jessie Henderson, EVP of Original Feature Films; Jeniffer Kim, senior vice president of International Originals; Suzanna Makkos, EVP of Original Comedy and Animation; and Jennifer O’Connell, EVP of Original Non-Fiction and Kids. Billy Wee, SVP, Original Animation, and Nikki Reed, vice president, Kids and Family Scripted Originals will report to O’Connell.
The business operations and strategy group also reports into Reilly. It includes Eric Besner, SVP of Business Development and Strategy; Sandra Dewey, president of Business Operations and Production; Meredith Gertler, EVP of Program Strategy and Planning (who reports into Casey Bloys, president, HBO Programming, with a dual function on HBO Max); and Michael Quigley, EVP of Content Acquisitions and Strategy. Patrick Kelly, EVP of Business Affairs, will report into Dewey.
Otter Media, under CEO Tony Goncalves, will be responsible for product design, customer experience and lifecycle, acquisition and retention marketing, customer data, reporting and insights, business development, and go-to-market Strategy and business operations. Goncalves reports to Robert Greenblatt, chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer.
(Photo by JSquared Photography/The CW)
With its glitz, glamour, and can-do attitude, The CW’s Katy Keene may seem more like an echo of the network’s Gossip Girl than an extension of the emerging Riverdale universe. And that difference may cause fans of the mothership series – or its Netflix cousin, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina – to look at it with some pause. Some of those fears may be unfounded, as Katy Keene charts a new corner of the Archie Comics world on television. Join us as we examine some of the program’s unique details and why it fits in both The CW’s lineup and a place not too far from Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse).
(Photo by Barbara Nitke/The CW)
From his earliest discussions about the program, executive producer Robert Aguirre-Sacasa promised it would have a magical tone. In much the same way Riverdale’s atmosphere stems from film noir and the series occasionally flirts with horror tropes, Katy Keene’s sense of magic seems to come from romantic comedies in which the world itself is, on the whole, a good place. The city Katy (Lucy Hale) walks through is brighter, its denizens smile widely, and a song could break out at any moment.
And although the series would seem to set up romantic travails for its four principal characters — and each has someone in their lives — their truest romance is with the city itself and the sense that anything can happen there. Compared to the way the Riverdale gang seem to loathe their hometown and the soul of Greendale seems a secondary concern for the Sabrina characters, the love of place is a refreshing change – but it might drive those less enamored with New York a little crazy.
(Photo by Barbara Nitke/The CW)
Though the program avoids specifics in its early episodes, the show takes place sometime in Riverdale’s future. Some reports indicated a five year gap exists between them, but we saw no indication of that. Early on, Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) makes references to the time spent between leaving town with her father (as seen last year on Riverdale), but avoids elaborating too much on where she’s been. Additionally, Katy herself is a contemporary of Veronica Lodge (Camilla Mendes) – who availed herself of Katy’s costume-making skills on Riverdale earlier this season – but tells the viewers in the first episode she has been working at Lacy’s Department Store for three years. Perhaps her guest appearance on the February 5th episode of Riverdale will clear up the question of time. If Katy is already working at Lacy’s when Veronica heads to New York for some catching-up and shopping, then we know the two shows are within three years of each other.
At the same time, the lack of a precise time gap offers both shows some flexibility in terms of future crossovers or characters making long-term migrations from one series to the other. It also means events on Katy Keene are less likely to conflict with Riverdale. Luckily for both shows, Sabrina takes place in an alternate reality and keeps its Devil far from The CW.
(Photo by Barbara Nitke/The CW)
Like Jughead before her, Katy narrates the goings-on of the story. Although, from the episodes we’ve seen so far, she is only privy to her own thoughts and her own life. But also like Mr. Jones, she seems to have some omniscience or future knowledge about her life and may be speaking from some future point in time.
Created by Bill Woggon and first debuting in 1945’s Wilbur Comics #5, Katy was a popular character in the Archie stable for roughly 15 years. She appeared in various Archie Comics titles and, eventually, her own self-titled comic, in which the twenty-something character aspired to become a model, actor, and singer. Reader engagement was high, as the company encouraged fans to submit their own dress ideas for Katy to wear. But as the character’s popularity declined in the early 1960s, along with other female-focused comic book genres, she is not as well known as Archie, Sabrina, or Josie. After a short-lived revival in the 1980s (spearheaded by fans of her 1950s exploits), she disappeared once again into Archie trivia.
The television series re-imagines her as a would-be fashion designer who has a major talent as a personal shopper at Lacy’s. Seemingly mentored by department head Gloria Grandbilt (Katherine LaNasa) – who reminds us of Sabrina’s Aunt Zelda (Miranda Otto) a great deal – Katy appears to be caught between these two aspects of her chosen industry, much as her comic book counterpart vacillated between three facets of the entertainment industry. At times, she has a Veronica Lodge energy to her, so it’s not a huge surprise she’s the de facto leader of her group of friends, but we wonder how she and V really got along all those years ago.
(Photo by Peter Kramer/The CW)
Like Riverdale and Sabrina, the fast, poppy dialogue remains a fixture, but with its references to Broadway, legendary recording studios, and fashion labels, viewers more aligned with the other shows’ reliance on film history and the macabre may find themselves missing some of the jokes. Nevertheless, Aguirre-Sacasa’s constant voice means fans of Riverdale and Sabrina will just pick up new knowledge bases as the series progresses.
(Photo by Barbara Nitke/The CW)
While Valerie and Melody are nowhere to be seen so far – and have been missing from Josie’s life since sophomore year of high school – Katy Keene features a lot of ideas from the Josie comic book and animated series. Pepper Smith, her original best friend in the comics, is one of Katy Keene’s four principal characters. Played by Julia Chan, she’s been re-imagined as a new media hustler with something of a shady past. Alexandra Cabot (Camille Hyde), complete with a white stripe in her hair, emerges as Josie’s first real antagonist on the series. Alexander Cabot (Lucien Laviscount) appears as a possible romantic interest for Ms. McCoy with a more idealistic vision for a record company than his comic book counterpart’s scheming for success and Josie’s affections. Nevertheless, Josie’s encounters with the Cabot siblings ring familiar from the comics, and Alexander’s interest in making Josie a star may lead to a reformed Pussycats — at least, we hope it does. Other Josie supporting characters like Albert and Sock are still missing, but maybe they’ll pop up at some pint. Long time Josie love interest Alan M. Mayberry is reportedly set to appear on the show (in the form of actor James Maslow), so it is possible the entire Jose and the Pussycats cast will populate Katy Keene.
But considering the traditional Katy Keene cast is pretty much limited to Gloria Grandbilt, her boyfriend K.O. Kelly (played on the show by Zane Holtz) and Katy’s sister (who has seemingly been erased for the TV show), the Josie group is a worthwhile set of characters to import into Katy’s orbit. Well, that’s presuming she’ll be an active participant in Josie’s story.
(Photo by Barbara Nitke/The CW)
Riverdale likes its music. Whether it be Kevin Keller’s (Casey Cott) annual school production or the entertainment Veronica programs at La Bonne Nuit, the show has relied on both reality-breaking musical numbers and more diagetic performances designed to showcase the chops of its cast.
But even with the excuse of the speakeasy and Kevin’s love of musical theater, Riverdale is somewhat limited in the amount of singing it can credibly feature; keeping such scenes down to one every few episodes.
Katy Keene takes it to a whole new level, with several musical interludes per episode. Some may just feature a single person playing piano and singing, while others take to the stage at Molly’s Crisis – the favorite spot of Katy’s circle – but it’s a definite uptick from the amount of singing one might find on Riverdale.
This is by design, of course. Initial descriptions of the series noted its intention to be a “musical dramedy.” And while it may not feature as much choreography as an episode of Glee or even the level of production one might see at La Bonne Nuit, Katy Keene is very much about its cast singing.
(Photo by David Giesbrecht/The CW)
Of course, it can’t all be magical nights filled with song on Katy Keene. Drama still must occur. And in lieu of murder or witchcraft, Katy Keene’s dramatic hooks come from the characters trying to make it while maintaining their romantic notions about life. And though the show is trying to play this material in a more whimsical way – particularly with Katy’s story — the struggles are there.
Jorge Lopez (Jonny Beauchamp), in particular, has it tough as the program’s only character trying to make it on the Big White Way. Like so many before him, he wants to be a dancer in Broadway shows, but his seemingly fluid gender presentation and his drag act as “Ginger Lopez” may cause him any number of difficulties, to say nothing of the way the theater eats hopefuls of all stripes.
Meanwhile, Pepper’s real story has yet to reveal itself. Early press materials suggested she has a secret business plan, but if it’s the one she expressed in the episodes we saw, it will lead her into some rough times in the very near future — perhaps even the greatest struggle of her life.
But the presence of these struggles will, hopefully, underscore the sense of magic Katy Keene wants to cultivate about New York and establishing oneself in their 20s. Sure, the show may only be paying lip service to things like rent or the rigors of finding a career in the entertainment field, but it is trying to be a hopeful show. At the same time, we wouldn’t be surprised if it makes some sort of pivot into darker material. It is a Riverdale adjacent show, after all.
Katy Keene Season 1 premieres on Thursday, February 6 on The CW.