6:01am PT by Lesley Goldberg
WarnerMedia Sets Late May HBO Max Launch
HBO Max will enter the streaming wars on May 27.
The streaming service is set to debut amid the shutdown brought about by the novel coronavirus outbreak, bringing with it 10,000 hours of library programming from across the WarnerMedia portfolio, including Friends and The Big Bang Theory. The $15-per-month offering will serve up the entire HBO experience supplemented with movies and TV shows from the Warner Bros. library, as well as a handful of new original series.
WarnerMedia began running social media ads on Tuesday morning announcing the date of the launch.
With HBO Max, WarnerMedia is the latest legacy entertainment company to jump into the streaming fray. Disney kicked off the so-called streaming wars on Nov. 12 with the launch of Disney+. It was followed by the soft launch of NBCUniversal's Peacock on April 15. They, and five-month-old offering Apple TV+, are all chasing Netflix and its 167 million global subscribers.
Amid the competitive landscape, WarnerMedia top brass were hoping to use a buzzed-about reunion special featuring the cast of Friends to draw attention to HBO Max, which will be the exclusive home to all 236 episodes of the sitcom classic. But the coronavirus shutdown prevented the special from being filmed in time for the launch. Instead, WarnerMedia will rely on a handful of originals — including scripted comedy Love Life with Anna Kendrick, documentary On the Record, ballroom dance competition series Legendary and Sesame Workshop late night entry The Not Too Late Show With Elmo — to lure subscribers.
Other originals set to debut later in the year include thriller The Flight Attendant, starring Kaley Cuoco; documentary Expecting Amy, about comedian Amy Schumer's life on tour during a difficult pregnancy; and J.G. Quintel's adult animated comedy Close Enough. TBS comedy Search Party will also move to HBO Max, where it will return with a new season.
"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," WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement. "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."
WarnerMedia is consolidating its library of IP under one umbrella with HBO Max. The service will feature all current and former HBO shows, including The Sopranos, The Wire and Game of Thrones, as well as current and classic WB movies like Crazy Rich Asians, A Star Is Born, Joker, Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz and Citizen Kane.
Watch the trailer for Love Life below: