[ad_1]

HBO Max logo on a phone

HBO Max will stream all of Warner Bros.’ new movies this year at the same time they first hit theaters, at no added cost to subscribers. 


Angela Lang/CNET

HBO Max is the premium network’s streaming service featuring all the channel’s regular programming plus an amped-up library of extra shows, movies and originals, such as its Snyder Cut of Justice League Thursday. In an unprecedented move, HBO Max will stream all Warner Bros.’ new, theatrically released movies at no extra charge the same day each film hits US cinemas this year — they’ll stay on HBO Max for one month only. Next up will be Godzilla vs. Kong on March 31. (See the next section for a list of all the titles and their expected release dates and times.)

HBO Maxis also launching a cheaper, ad-supported tier in the US in June, adding commercials to its programming in exchange for a discount to its now $15-a-month subscription price. Parent company AT&T didn’t specify the price for the new HBO Max membership level. But the cheaper tier won’t include any of those brand new Warner Bros. movies — if you want to watch those films at home at the same time they first hit theaters, you have to subscribe to the pricier, ad-free level. 

But HBO Max has killed its weeklong free trial. That means if you want to stream originals, like the four-hour-long (!) Snyder Cut of Justice League, or any of the Warner Bros. movies on its 2021 slate, including Matrix 4 and Dune later this year, you’ll either need to pay or figure out if your regular HBO subscription includes a free upgrade to a Max account. 

HBO Max launched in late May with a bumpy reception, crimped by a number of factors. It’s pricey at $15 a month, and people were confused about how HBO Max fit in with the other apps HBO Now and HBO Go. HBO Max also initially failed to get deals for support on the most popular streaming devices, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. But HBO Max is on Roku and Fire TV now, it has shut down the other streaming apps to clear up confusion, and it even has a cheaper tier coming sometime this spring, one that will lower the price by including advertising. 

ghi-totoro-select03

HBO Max launched with almost the full catalog of Studio Ghibli animated movies, streaming in the US for the first time. 


Studio Ghibli/GKids

Beyond those first-run Warner Bros. movies, HBO Max has padded itself with more content than you’ll find on the regular HBO channel. For the same price, HBO Max roughly doubles the amount of programming. AT&T, which owns HBO and Warner Bros. both as part of its WarnerMedia TV and film division, has been pouring billions of dollars into its budgets for original programming and into expensive deals to stream titles from DC, Studio Ghibli and the Criterion Collection, as well as popular shows like Friends, South ParkThe Big Bang TheoryRick and Morty, Doctor Who and new episodes of Adventure Time. (There’s an overview of shows and movies below.) 

The service’s Max Originals also offer new, exclusive shows and movies. Originals still in the pipeline include the Justice League Snyder Cut, coming Thursday, as well as Peacemaker, a DC spinoff series is designed to be linked to next year’s theatrical movie The Suicide Squad. Peacemaker, which will come to Max next January, will star John Cena reprising his role, with James Gunn writing and directing before he begins work on the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie. 

Some of most popular Max Originals so far: The Flight Attendant, a comedic thriller series starring Kaley Cuoco; Raised by Wolves, a sci-fi series from famed filmmaker Ridley Scott; and The Witches, a reboot of the classic Roald Dahl book and 1990 film, starring Octavia Spencer and Anne Hathaway. 

One highly anticipated original is still missing. A Friends reunion special was expected to function as the service’s marquee exclusive on day one. But HBO Max’s original productions, like every services’, were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. The company had said it was aiming to film the Friends reunion by the end of the last summer, but it was postponed again in August. 

HBO Max also has podcasts in its library linked to its programming, along the lines of last year’s podcast companion to the miniseries Chernobyl. Raised by Wolves, for example, has a podcast available now on Max

Which Warner Bros. movies are coming to HBO Max, and when are their release dates?

Warner Bros.’ 2021 slate of new movies is set for release in theaters and on HBO Max on the following dates: 

Titles listed with a “TBD” don’t have confirmed release dates yet, but they’re placed on the list in loose chronological order for when they’re expected to come out. All these titles will be available on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters in the US. 

Titles are generally expected to become available to stream on Max at 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET the day of their release. But the timing may vary, depending on when the first cinematic screenings take place at brick-and-mortar theaters. Wonder Woman 1984, for example, became available at 9 a.m. PT/noon ET on Dec. 25 because that was the earliest theaters were open that day. 

The movies will be available to stream on HBO Max for 31 days. They’re generally expected to be removed from the service at 11:59 p.m. PT on that 31st day. 

All Warner Bros. movies released in this “hybrid” model on HBO Max will be available to watch in in 4K Ultra HD resolution and HDR image quality, even though those format aren’t yet standard for the full Max library. 

Does it cost extra to watch these new theatrical movies on HBO Max? 

No. Everything on Warner Bros.’ 2021 slate of new movies will available on HBO Max at no added cost to subscribers — in other words, feels like free. But HBO Max doesn’t have a free trial, so you’ll either need to sign up with a paying membership or upgrade an existing HBO subscription to include Max. 

If you already have HBO from a TV provider or a tech company, or you paid for HBO Now, you may be able to upgrade to Max at no added cost — it depends whether HBO Max has struck a deal with your specific provider. And some AT&T customers have deals to get Max included in their service plans. See the section on “How do I get HBO Max if I already pay for HBO?” for more details. 

How much does HBO Max cost?

HBO Max is $15 a month. It doesn’t have a free trial, but the company occasionally offers discounts if you prepay for an extended period of time. For example, before launch, people who preordered the service at HBOMax.com unlocked a discount deal that lowered the price to $13 a month for the first year. 

AT&T, the parent company of both HBO Max and Warner Bros., is also offering a complicated matrix of promos for HBO Max. Some customers get Max at no extra cost, while others qualify for a one-month, three-month or one-year free trial. Your best shot at figuring out whether you qualify is to check your account or the myAT&T app, but CNET also lists AT&T’s qualification terms for its HBO Max promos

A cheaper tier with advertising is on the way. HBO Max will launch a lower-priced, ad-supported version in June. The company hasn’t set a price yet for this cheaper tier. And this lower-priced level had a major limitation: It won’t include any of the brand new Warner Bros. movies. If you want to stream any of them while they first hit theaters, you have to be on the costlier, ad-free subscription.

Compared with rival streaming services, HBO Max’s $15-a-month pricing may feel steep. Disney Plus is $7 a month, going up to $8 a month in March; and Apple TV Plus is $5, though it keep extended free trials for anyone who has bought a new Apple gadget. But HBO Max’s price is on close to Netflix’s most popular plan, which is $14. 

Does HBO Max have a free trial? 

Not anymore. HBO Max eliminated its one-week free trial in December. 

How do I get HBO Max if I already have HBO? How much will it cost me?

Some people who already have an existing subscription to HBO are able to unlock HBO Max at no extra cost, but not everyone. Nearly 200,000 regular HBO subscribers in the US aren’t eligible for an HBO Max upgrade; it all depends on which company provides your regular HBO subscription.

But many HBO Max distributors unlock an HBO Max upgrade at no extra cost for current HBO and legacy HBO Now customers, thanks to deals HBO Max struck with them. You qualify for the HBO Max upgrade at no extra cost if you already pay for HBO through: 

If you previously paid for an HBO streaming subscription through Roku (that is, through The Roku Channel), you need to cancel that subscription and then sign up for HBO Max itself to be able to access Max. 

Where can I sign up for HBO Max? 

The simplest way to get HBO Max is to sign up for it directly at hbomax.com

Through Apple, HBO Max will be an iOS app for iPhone and iPad, which will allow you to sign up and pay through an in-app purchase. Apple will also integrate HBO Max into its own TV app, which allows you to congregate certain streaming channels to watch them in one place. 

Through Google, HBO Max will have an app for Android phones and tablets in the Google Play store, and you’ll be able to sign up inside the app with an in-app purchase. You’ll also be able to stream HBO Max on Android TV, Chromebook and Google Chromecast. If you already subscribe to HBO Now through Google Play, you’ll automatically be able to log in to HBO Max at launch at no additional charge, and you’ll continue to be billed through Google. And YouTube TV, the streaming pay-TV service operated by Google’s YouTube, will also carry HBO Max. 

People with Samsung Smart TVs that support the HBO Max app will also be able to sign up directly there. 

Roku also allows people to sign up for HBO Max directly on its devices using is payment system Roku Pay. 

What devices support HBO Max?

HBO Max is available on a variety of devices.

  • Most Apple devices that can stream video support HBO Max — iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD. However, customers with second- and third-generation Apple TV models will need to stream HBO Max content from their iPhone or iPad to their TV with AirPlay.
  • Google’s Android operating system for phones and tablets have an app for Android TV devices, Chromebooks, Google Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices will support HBO Max too. 
  • Sony’s PlayStation 4 systems can download the HBO Max app via the PlayStation Store. 
  • Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming consoles have the HBO Max app via the Microsoft Store.
  • Select Samsung internet-connected smart TVs — models from 2016 through 2020 — can download and purchase HBO Max directly.
  • Amazon Fire TV devices and Fire tablets have support for HBO Max’s app 
  • Roku devices support HBO Max for streaming and for signing up to the service as a new user.

When will HBO Max launch elsewhere?

HBO Max launched May 27 in the US. 

Friends

HBO Max brokered a reported $425 million deal for all episodes of ’90s hit Friends, which exited Netflix to start streaming on HBO Max at launch.


NBC

HBO Max’s first international expansion kicks off in late June with 39 territories across Latin America and the Caribbean. Those territories include: Anguilla, Antigua, Argentina, Aruba, B.V.I., Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Uruguay and Venezuela.

After that, the HBO-branded streaming services in Europe — including the Nordics, Spain, Central Europe, and Portugal — are scheduled to be upgraded to HBO Max later this year. 

What product features does HBO Max have? 

In a long-anticipated feature for anyone who previously used HBO Go, HBO Max has downloads for its mobile apps. 

HBO Max allows you to stream to three different devices simultaneously. By comparison, Disney Plus allows four simultaneous streams, and Netflix allows between one and four depending on how much you pay each month. 

You can also create up to five profiles to keep recommendations separate for different members of the household, and it also has kid accounts that are unlocked by entering a PIN. These parental controls allow moms and dads to set the maturity levels of the programming each kids’ profile can access, based on ratings like PG and TV-14. 

Another missing element: HBO Max doesn’t offer 4K resolution nor high dynamic range image quality for most of its catalog. The exception is all the theatrical movies that Warner Bros. is releasing on HBO Max the same day as cinemas; all those films will be available in 4K Ultra HD and HDR.

Shows and movies: What can I watch?

Generally, HBO Max includes all the shows and movies on HBO, plus a selection of high-profile licensed content, like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Rick & Morty and South Park. It layers exclusive original programming on top of that. HBO Max said it will have 30 originals in year one and 60 in year two. And all of Warner Bros. 2021 theatrical movies will be released on Max the same day as they hit cinemas, available to stream for 31 days at no extra cost.

Now that the service is live, an easy way to see what’s available without signing up is third-party catalog search services like Reelgood

The following section summarizes what HBO Max has and what’s coming. 

The simplest part of the catalog to understand is HBO itself. HBO Max includes everything on regular HBO, so that means all the theatrical movies that come and go from the channel; new episodes from all HBO series, like Euphoria and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver; and the past seasons of those programs as well as the full HBO back catalog, like Game of Thrones, Silicon Valley, Veep and The Wire; plus all of HBO’s original films, documentaries and specials. 

Movies are a crucial part of the catalog. And any movie that’s available to watch on the traditional HBO network will also be available to stream on HBO Max. 

Highlights of the HBO Max film catalog will include the following (but films may come and go as licensing changes):

  • Justice League Snyder Cut, slated to arrive on HBO Max on Thursday.
  • DC films like Joker, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Shazam and tons of older Batman and Superman movies 
  • Studio Ghibli anime films that have never been released for streaming in the US before.
  • Anime selections like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and other top titles from anime-focused streaming service Crunchyroll, which is also owned by AT&T. 
  • Classic movies like The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Gone With the Wind, Singin’ in the Rain, 2001: A Space Odyssey and others.
  • Newer hits like The Invisible Man, Jojo Rabbit and Ford v Ferrari.

On top of that, AT&T has been licensing outside hit shows to beef up HBO Max’s catalog. The most eye-popping deals have been:

  • A reported $425 million deal for all episodes of ’90s hit Friends, which exited Netflix to start streaming on HBO Max at launch.
  • A reported $500 million deal to stream The Big Bang Theory.

It’s also secured deals for past seasons of Rick and Morty; 11 of the most recent seasons of Doctor Who, plus another three to come; CW dramas like Pretty Little Liars, Batwoman, and Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene as well as more upcoming CW series; The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; The West Wing; and British series like Luther and Ricky Gervais’ original The Office, among many others. 

Animated satire South Park will not only contribute its full back catalog to HBO Max but also stream new episodes. The latest episodes of South Park will stream on HBO Max 24 hours after they air on Comedy Central for the next three seasons.

And HBO Max will have exclusive new shows and movies called Max Originals. For the most part, original series on HBO Max will drop new episodes on a weekly basis. Some of the originals have included:

  • Love Life, a romantic comedy starring Anna Kendrick and produced by Kendrick and Paul Feig, who is known for blockbuster comedies like Bridesmaids. 
  • Doom Patrol, the second season of the DC Universe series.
  • Adventure Time: Distant Lands-BMO, which is the first of four specials resurrecting Cartoon Network’s franchise Adventure Time.
  • Expecting Amy, a three-part docuseries about comedian Amy Schumer’s life on tour during her pregnancy.
  • American Pickle, the Seth Rogen comedy that is HBO Max’s first original film, about a 1920s immigrant who gets preserved in pickle brine for 100 years and meets his great-grandson (both characters portrayed by Rogen) in modern-day Brooklyn. 
  • Class Action Park, the indie doc about the world’s most dangerous theme park. 
  • Raised by Wolves, the sci-fi epic from director and executive producer Ridley Scott; the 10-episode series focuses on two androids raising human children on a mysterious planet.
  • The Witches, the new movie based on the classic book starring Octavia Spencer and Anne Hathaway.
  • The Flight Attendant, starring and executive produced by Kaley Cuoco based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Special, getting the series’ remaining cast members together for a family reunion on set in the Banks’ home.
  • Superintelligence, a movie starring Melissa McCarthy about an all-power artificial intelligence that chooses to study the most average person on Earth.

HBO Max is adding other originals coming up, including: 

  • The Friends unscripted cast reunion special.
  • A reboot of Pretty Little Liars.

Of HBO Max’s originals, about half are targeted at young adults aged 16 to 34, and the rest will be divided between more adult fare and kids and family content outside the HBO brand. 

Some of the other highlights of the originals in the pipeline for HBO Max include: 

  • New DC titles. A Green Lantern series that producer Greg Berlanti (a young-adult TV guru behind Riverdale and Arrow) says will travel to space and “promises to be our biggest DC show ever made.” Strange Adventures, a one-hour drama anthology series also produced by Berlanti that explores the intersecting lives of mortals and superhumans. DC Super Hero High will be a half-hour comedy from Elizabeth Banks, the producer and actress known for the Hunger Games films and 30 Rock, that’ll focus on a group of adolescent students at a boarding school for “gifted” kids.
  • Projects by J.J. Abrams. Abrams, known for a parade of television and box office hits, signed a megadeal with AT&T and WarnerMedia to make projects for the company. On HBO Max, he’ll help produce a show set in the Justice League Dark universe; Overlook, a thriller based on Stephen King’s The Shining and set in the Overlook Hotel; and a 1970s crime show called Duster. 
  • A half-hour comedy from actress-producer Issa Rae. Rae’s Rap Sh*t explores the music business in Miami through the eyes of three women: an upstart hip-hop duo and their hustling manager.
  • A half-hour comedy from actress/producer Mindy Kaling. College Girls (a working title) tracks three 18-year-old freshman roommates at Evermore College in Vermont. 
  • The Boondocks animated series is getting “two reimagined seasons” along with a 50-minute special originally planned for fall 2020. 
  • A new Jellystone animated series with the classic Hanna-Barbera characters from Warner Bros. Animation. 
  • Comedy specials produced by Conan O’Brien featuring up-and-coming comics

The service will have a smaller slate of original films, between five and 10 per year, according to the original plan. Early highlights on the original movie slate include: 

  • A two-picture deal with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. 
  • A documentary about Anthony Bourdain.
  • A four-picture deal with Berlanti, including Unpregnant, a September release about two teenage girls who go on a road trip to New Mexico after one finds out she’s pregnant, based on the young adult novel by Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan.
  • Bobbie Sue, a comedy feature starring Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez as an up-and-coming young lawyer who joins a stuffy Boston law firm.


Now playing:
Watch this:

What’s new to stream for February 2021



4:08

[ad_2]

Source link