Movies will be 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 (but not necessarily be available at launch):
The so-called Snyder cut of Justice League, slated to arrive on HBO Max in 2021
The full sets of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix trilogies.
The Lego movies.
DC films like Joker, Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Shazam, Aquaman and every Batman and Superman movie of the last 40 years.
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, The Shining, Singin’ in the Rain, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Goonies, Blade Runner: The Final Cut, the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise and many others.
Newer hits like Crazy Rich Asians and A Star Is Born.
Ultimately, HBO Max will have more than 18,000 movies, the company has said.
On top of that, AT&T has been licensing outside hit shows to beef up HBO Max’s catalog. The most 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.
At launch Wednesday, the originals will be:
- Love Life, the romantic comedy starring Anna Kendrick and produced by Kendrick and Paul Feig, known for blockbuster comedies like Bridesmaids
- On the Record, a controversial Me Too documentary film about record executive Russell Simmons.
- Legendary, a competition show based on underground drag balls.
- Craftopia, a YouTuber-hosted craft series.
- New Looney Tunes cartoons.
- The Not Too Late Show with Elmo.
After launch, the next Max Originals that are scheduled for release are:
- Karma, an unscripted kids adventure competition series – June 18.
- Doom Patrol, the second season of the DC Universe series – June 25.
- Esme & Roy, the second season of the preschool animated series from Sesame Workshop – June 25.
- Search Party, the third season of the comedy thriller that originally aired on TBS – June 25.
- Adventure Time: Distant Lands-BMO, which is the first of four specials resurrecting Cartoon Network’s franchise Adventure Time – June 25.
- Expecting Amy, a three-part docuseries about comedian Amy Schumer’s life on tour during her pregnancy – July 9.
- Close Enough, an animated comedy about millennial roommates – July 9.
- The House of Ho, a multigenerational family docusoap – July 16.
- Tig n’ Seek, an animated children’s series from Cartoon Network Studios about an 8-year-old and his gadget-building cat – July 23.
- Frayed, a scripted comedy about a wealthy Londoner who goes back to her Australian hometown – July 30.
- The Dog House, an unscripted British animal rescue series – July 30.
- 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 – Aug. 6.
Then over the course of the fall and beyond, HBO Max will add other originals, including:
- The Flight Attendant, starring and executive produced by Kaley Cuoco based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian.
- The Friends unscripted cast reunion special.
- Sci-fi epic Raised by Wolves from director and executive producer Ridley Scott. The 10-episode series focuses on two androids raising human children on a mysterious planet. The show had already wrapped production in South Africa.
HBO Max originally planned to have 31 original series in its launch year (which totals 69 series when combined with HBO content). Then in 2021, HBO Max planned to expand Max Originals to a slate of 50 shows. 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 set 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.
A new animated series from Cartoon Network Studios called The Fungies, as well as a hybrid live-action/animated comedy, Tooned Out, from Oscar-winning director Robert Zemeckis.
Comedy specials from Conan O’Brien and the team behind his TBS show. They’ll be developing five stand-up specials for HBO Max: O’Brien will host two specials that feature short sets from multiple up-and-coming comics and curate hourlong sets from three comedians. That slate will join another one-hour special from comedian James Veitch.
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, 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.
- Super Intelligence, a comedy starring Melissa McCarthy about a woman whose romantic life is selected for observation by artificial intelligence.
- 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.