You have Netflix. Perhaps you subscribed to Disney+ because how could you resist Baby Yoda? You’ve “stolen” an ex’s Hulu password, and a calendar alert has been set to remind you when Quibi’s 90-day free trial expires. However, HBO Max has entered the streaming wars, and it may be just what you’re looking for—if you can figure out what it is.
Today marks the introduction of HBO Max Movies, WarnerMedia’s new streaming service. It will feature a plethora of content, including hit HBO programs, renowned television shows such as Friends, a slew of classic titles from Warner Bros.’ film library, and other treasures like Studio Ghibli flicks. And with the majority of the population trapped indoors due to the coronavirus outbreak, HBO Max has a lot to offer. However, what is it exactly? Here are the answers to the most often asked HBOMax questions, beginning with the most obvious:
Are HBO Max Movies the Same as HBO’s?
No. Or, more precisely, not at all. WarnerMedia, the relatively new giant formed by the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, desired to enter the streaming game: they have a wealth of content, even more, potential revenue, and severe competitors in Netflix and Disney. How can a company differentiate itself? WarnerMedia also owns, through Time Warner, HBO, a network with considerable prestige and brand awareness. Thus, the new streaming service is called HBO Max—but it is not synonymous with HBO, HBO Now, or HBO Go, the three primary ways to view HBO shows.
HBO is the conventional cable channel that you know and love, with a foothold in the world of streaming: perhaps you subscribe to HBO Now or use HBO Go to watch Game of Thrones on your laptop. On the other hand, HBO Max Movies are an over-the-top streaming service that contains all of HBO’s TV series, movies, and documentaries—as well as a slew of other content—still perplexed? HBO has an explainer that may help
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I Have Already HBO Subscription. Do I have to pay an additional fee for HBO Max?
The majority of existing HBO members should obtain HBOMax with little additional effort—though this depends on their method of accessing HBO. Individuals who subscribe to HBO Now (HBO’s streaming-only service available without a cable subscription) will automatically receive access to HBO Max Movies.
If you subscribe to HBO through a premium cable provider, you’re likely to get HBO Max for free at launch if you use AT&T TV, DIRECTV, AT&T U-Verse, Hulu, Spectrum, Altice, Optimum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios TV or Cox Contour. If you subscribe to the cable through a smaller provider or one that wasn’t included in that list, you’ll have to wait for WarnerMedia to strike a deal with your provider—or you can switch providers.
Consider the following: HBO Max is $14.99. As a result, it is more expensive than several other streaming services (and more than double the price of Disney+). However, that amount is already comparable to what regular HBO costs—plus, you receive all of the Max stuff for free. HBO Max Movies are available to new customers and includes all of the HBO content you know and love.
In essence, if you currently subscribe to HBO, you probably woke up today and were automatically signed up for HBO Max. If you are not a subscriber, continue reading.
Will I receive Good Movies?
You’ll receive an abundance of content, beginning with over 600 films at launch. Warner Bros. has been creating films for nearly a century, and while HBO Max will not feature every movie the studio has ever released, it will feature a slew of noteworthy titles from the studio’s illustrious history. Ben-Hur, Doctor Zhivago, Singin’ in the Rain, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Wizard of Oz are great Warner Bros. films available at launch. And that’s just a sampling of the library’s offerings.
There are also more recent releases, though license deals with competing broadcasters mean that this section has more gaps. While Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is not included, HBO Max will feature DC films like Aquaman and Wonder Woman. The Harry Potter films were not intended to be available when HBO Max began since a pre-existing streaming arrangement with Universal was set to expire in 2025. However, all eight films are now available to stream, implying a last-minute deal was struck. Among the other movies is The Lego Movie, IT: Chapter 2, and Crazy Rich Asians.
HBO Max will also feature a selection of Criterion Collection movies, though not all of them. The highlights are Battleship Potemkin, Eraserhead, Eyes Without a Face, and various Godzilla films from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. (Subscribers to the Criterion Channel, a separate streaming service, will notice that some movies are available on HBO Max but not on the Criterion Channel, and vice versa.)
HBO Max movies will also be the streaming home for Hayao Miyazaki and other Studio Ghibli films, which is significant because it is the first time movies like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro will be available to stream—at least in the United States.
HBO Max will also stream movies that are currently accessible on conventional cable HBO, implying that the service will have a rotating selection of third-party titles as the months’ pass. For instance, Jaws and Alien are both presently airing on HBO, which means they’re also available on HBO Max.
Does HBO Max Also Have A Good TV Library?
In a word, yeah. Cartoon Network, Watchcartoononline, Adult Swim, Tru TV, TBS, and TNT are all owned by WarnerMedia, so expect to see programming from those networks in the library. Once the CW’s Riverdale and Batwoman seasons are complete, they will be streamed on HBO Max. Doctor Who and Top Gear from the BBC will also be available on HBO Max, as will every season of South Park.
HBO’s crown gem is Friends, which WarnerMedia famously removed off Netflix last year following a lengthy run as one of the service’s most popular shows. HBO Max will also host the TBD reunion special for that TV show. The West Wing, The Big Band Theory, Two and a Half Men, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air are older HBO’s TV shows.
Finally, anime streaming provider Crunchyroll has struck an agreement with WarnerMedia, meaning titles like Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Bersek will be available to stream immediately upon release.
Are There Any New Original HBO Max Movies Or Series In Development?
Yes, but unlike most other streaming services launched recently, HBO Max’s launch is not driven by new projects. There are currently only a few original shows streaming, including Love Life, an anthology romance series starring Anna Kendrick; a new Looney Tunes series; and The Not-Too-Late-Show with Elmo, a conversation show hosted by the Sesame Street stalwart.
HBO Max movies will eventually release some high-profile originals—these will be distinct from whatever new shows HBO produces regularly. (However, Max subscribers will be able to stream those as well.) Doom Patrol, a cult-favourite superhero series that launched last year on (WarnerMedia-owned) DC Universe, will air its sophomore season on HBO Max, as will Search Party’s third season.
However, incredible things are on the way! The site will premiere Seth Rogen’s An American Pickle in August, a comedy about a 1920s New Yorker who slips into a pickle vat and awakens in the current day. Further down the road, there will be significant shows such as a J.J. Abrams-directed spin-off of The Shining, a reboot of Gossip Girl, Green Lantern, and Justice League Dark, as well as an adaptation of the comic DMZ.
And, of course, in 2021, HBO Max will #ReleaseTheSnyderCut—a new, currently unfinished version of Justice League in the manner in which Zack Snyder allegedly always planned. It’s a brilliant strategy as a means to entice a vocal, loyal segment of fans to join up for HBO Max. As evidence that focused, often obnoxious campaigns can successfully convince major firms to bow to the loudest voices on the internet, it’s a little foreboding.
Finally, Should You Subscribe To HBO’s New Service?
If you already have an HBO subscription, the answer is an emphatic yes! You almost certainly already have it; the price of your HBO subscription now includes a lot more content. The upcoming originals look exciting, but HBO Max is genuinely compelling because of its vast, deep archive of great films and television episodes. When paired with the features already included in ordinary HBO, HBO Max establishes itself as a serious challenger in the Streaming Wars.
If you don’t already have HBO, HBO Max is probably still worth considering. HBO is perhaps the only genuine prestige brand on television, yet plenty of viewers seek more depth than the channel offers. And HBO Max offers a slew of additional features, including far more kid-friendly programming—one of the few launch titles is an Elmo chat show. Being the product of a giant company that owns vast sections of entertainment history and the future, HBO Max has something for nearly everyone. And, while the long-term consequences of such a monopolistic approach to pop culture and viewership are frightening, it’s difficult to say no to that much entertainment in one location for one fee, especially now.