May 18, 2021

What is HBO Max? Here’s everything we know (Update: The Batman TV show)

HBO Max will be the home for an upcoming TV series set in the same universe as the upcoming DC superhero movie The Batman.

Update: July 10, 2020: We have updated this post with word that HBO Max will be the home for a new TV series based on the upcoming DC Comics superhero movie The Batman.

The success of Netflix and other premium video streaming services over the past several years has shaken up the entire entertainment industry. For a while, the major Hollywood studios were more than happy to license their movie and TV properties to these services. Now that has changed, as those streaming services are now creating their own original content that competes directly with the old school studios.

As a result, companies like Disney and NBCUniversal have launched or will launch their own streaming services. They are planning to take back their back catalog of films and TV series with them. That’s also what’s happening with WarnerMedia, the AT&T-owned entertainment group that operates, among many other things, HBO, Warner Bros, and CNN. Recently, the conglomerate announced its own dedicated streaming service, HBO Max.

HBO Max is now available in the US. Here’s what we know about this new streaming service. You can sign up for the service at the link below, with a seven day free trial, or you could be able to get it at no additional cost with certain deals.

What is HBO Max?

HBO Max is the name for the new streaming service from WarnerMedia. Subscribers can access 10,000 hours of content on the service. Even more content will be added in the months and years to come.

How is it different from HBO Now?

HBO Now running on the Pixel 3 OLED screen on a desk.

Credit: Adam Molina / Android Authority

HBO Now is the older streaming service from WarnerMedia. It offers access to all of the premium cable network’s current movies, along with current and past original HBO shows, without the need for a cable TV service. On July 31, HBO Now will officially disappear as HBO Max will replace it for most platforms.

When will HBO Max launch?

WarnerMedia has now launched the service in the US.

Platforms for the service

At the moment, WarnerMedia has confirmed HBO Max will be available on the internet-based TV service YouTube TV. We also know that Apple’s iOS devices like its iPhone, iPad, and the Apple TV set-top box will support the service. The Apple TV app will also allow people to sign up for an HBO Max “channel�. Also, HBO Max will be available on Android smartphones and tablets, Chromecast devices, and Android TV set-top boxes, and smart TVs. It will also be available for PCs via supported web browsers.

HBO Max apps will also be available on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s Playstation 4 game consoles. Samsung smart TVs from 2016 to current models will also be able to access the service directly.

Unfortunately, the service does not yet support the popular Roku or Amazon Fire TV streaming platforms. The current HBO Now apps will be updated for those platforms after July 31 and will simply be known as HBO app for Roku and Fire TV, with only access to HBO content. We will update this post when more platform info is revealed.

What does it cost to sign up?

HBO Max costs $14.99 a month. That’s also the same price WarnerMedia charged for the HBO Now service. That means those users will get all of HBO’s content, plus a ton of extra TV shows and movies, with no price increase. The service will be ad-free, although some reports have indicated that WarnerMedia might launch an ad-supported version of HBO Max at some point after the official launch. If that happens, it’s likely the cost to sign up will be much less.

Can current HBO and Now subscribers get HBO Max for free?

Some will, and some may not. HBO Now subscribers who have signed up directly from HBO will get HBO Max at no extra cost.

If you are a Charter cable TV user, and currently have an active HBO subscription, you can get HBO Max for free. Those subscribers will just need to sign into the HBO Max app and they are all set. Any new Charter customers can purchase HBO Max directly from the cable company.

WarnerMedia has also secured agreements with other cable TV providers. Altice USA cable users who have either HBO or HBO Now on their  Optimum and Suddenlink plans can get HBO Max for free. The same goes for HBO and HBO Now subscribers on Verizon’s Fios TV and Fios Internet services. Comcast HBO viewers and Cox Communication’s Contour HBO subscribers will get the same treatment. Smaller cable TV companies that are a part of the NCTC organizations can also provide HBO Max for free for their HBO subscribers.

If you signed up for HBO Now via any other third-party service, such as Amazon Prime Video, you can’t get HBO Max for free.

Has Friends left Netflix for HBO Max?

Friends sitcom on HBO max

The short answer is yes. Friends, the hit 1990s sitcom about six friends who work, live, and love in New York City, remains one of the most popular TV shows. Netflix bought the rights to all 10 seasons of the show from its owner Warner Bros to stream on its service, beginning in 2015. However, WarnerMedia is taking back those streaming rights for Friends. The show has left Netflix and is now back on HBO Max.

Is there really going to be a Friends reunion special on HBO Max?

Yes. Deadline reports that all six cast members, along with the original creators of the show, will reunite for an unscripted Friends special that will be shown exclusively on HBO Max. This won’t be an actual episode of the show. The cast and creators will be getting together on the original stage, but as themselves. They will likely talk about their time on the show and offer up some behind-the-scenes secrets. This will be the first time all six cast members will get together in one place for a filmed special (and they will all reportedly get paid a ton of money for it).

The Friends special was planned to be available on the first day of the launch of HBO Max. However, due to the current coronavirus outbreak, the production of the special has been postponed.

HBO Max is the new streaming home for The Big Bang Theory

big bang theory hbo max

HBO Max is the exclusive streaming home for one of the biggest recent sitcoms, The Big Bang Theory. All 12 seasons and 279 episodes of the show that centers on a group of geeky scientists will finally are now available on HBO Max. The Hollywood Reporter states that the deal will last for five years, and it cost hundreds of millions of dollars for HBO Max to secure the rights to the show.

HBO Max will also be the home for Young Sheldon, the spin-off series that’s now in its third season.

The Doctor Who reboot is available on HBO Max

doctor who HBO Max

HBO Max has also snapped up the US streaming rights to a number of BBC shows, including the first 11 seasons of the rebooted Doctor Who series that began in 2005. Previously, the US streaming rights to the new Doctor Who show were claimed by Amazon Prime Video. The classic Doctor Who series will continue to be available for streaming via BritBox. The current season 12 of Doctor Who will be shown first on the BBC America cable channel, but will be available for streaming via HBO Max after its cable TV run.

Other BBC shows that will be available on HBO Max will include the original UK version of The Office. You will also see past seasons of Top Gear, Luther, and The Honorable Woman on HBO Max.

Sesame Street is moving to HBO Max

sesame street

In the near future, the answer to the question, “Can you tell me how to get . . . how to get to Sesame Street� will be, “HBO Max.� The Hollywood Reporter states the long-running children’s show, now in its 50th season, will move from HBO to the HBO Max streaming service. It will begin in 2020 for the start of the show’s 51st season and will last for at least five years. The deal also includes a number of new spin-off shows and specials, plus the entire 50 previous seasons as library content. New episodes of Sesame Street will continue to be shown on the PBS broadcast network several months after they first go live on HBO Max.

South Park is now on the service

South Park, the hit animated comedy about four kids from South Park, Colorado, has now moved from Hulu to HBO Max. It will offer the entire 23 seasons on the service and will show the three upcoming seasons as well. Only five episodes from the show won’t be on HBO Max, due to content that might be considered offensive to members of the Muslim faith.

The #SnyderCut version of Justice League is coming to the service in 2021

justice league hbo max

Director Zack Snyder helmed the 2013 Superman reboot Man of Steel and returned in 2016 to direct its sequel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He then directed Justice League, which teamed up many of the major DC Comics superheroes in one big film. However, in May 2017, Snyder announced that he would not participate in post-production work on the film, due to a family tragedy. Joss Whedon was hired to write and direct two months of reshoots in the summer of 2017 so the film could be ready for release in November 2017.

Ever since the movie was released, many hardcore fans have wanted to see the original “#SnyderCut� of Justice League. On May 20, it was announced that HBO Max will debut Zack Snyder’s version of the film, and it will drop on the service sometime in 2021. Some unconfirmed reports claim the movie will actually be released as a mini-series, broken up into several 35-minute episodes.

The Batman-themed TV show is coming to the service

the batman

The Batman, the upcoming DC Comics superhero reboot movie, is getting a companion TV series on HBO Max. WarnerMedia’s press release stated the show will be set in the same universe as The Batman, but will center on the Gotham City police department. Matt Reeves, who is directing The Batman, will be in charge of the unnamed TV show, alongside Terence Winter, who created the critically acclaimed period crime drama Boardwalk Empire for HBO.

There’s no word on when the series will debut on HBO Max. There’s also no word if Robert Pattinson, who is playing The Dark Knight, or if Jeffrey Wright, who is playing Commissioner James Gordon, will make appearances on the show.

All eight Harry Potter films are on HBO Max

harry potter 1

In a previously unexpected move, HBO Max now has all eight of the Harry Potter fantasy movies available to stream. Previously, WarnerMedia sold the TV rights to those films to NBCUniversal, and they were supposed to have them until 2025. It appears that WarnerMedia was able to make a deal to get those highly popular films for HBO Max’s launch.

Does HBO Max have any anime movies or series?

You bet it does. If you love classic children’s animated movies that were not made by Disney, check out HBO Max. It will have the full library of the films from Japan-based Studio Ghibli. That includes titles like Howl’s Moving Castle, My Neighbor Totoro, and Spirited Away.

In addition, HBO Max is partnering with another streaming service, Crunchyroll. HBO Max will have 17 classic and current anime TV series from Crunchyroll when it launches. Some of the series will include Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Rurouni Kenshin, Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken, and Kill la Kill. Two more classic anime series, Hunter x Hunter and Death Note, will drop on the service sometime after the launch.

What other shows and movies are on HBO Max?

HBO Max is the new streaming home for shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Rick and Morty, and Pretty Little Liars. Also, the new shows that premiered on The CW network in the fall of 2019, like Batwoman and Katy Keene, will be streamed on the service.

HBO Max will also be the home for all current and upcoming HBO original series and movies. HBO Max will offer subscribers a ton of content from its other movie and TV networks. That includes movies from Warner Bros and New Line, along with content from DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, and Looney Tunes.

Specific movies on the service will eventually include all of the Superman and Batman feature films. Also, fantasy fans can watch nearly all of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Sci-fi fans will be able to watch the entire Matrix film trilogy as well on the service in the future.

What original shows are on HBO Max?

HBO Max will have its own range of exclusive original  TV shows. They will be known as Max Originals. Here is what’s currently available on the service.

  • Love Life: A half-hour romantic comedy series starring Anna Kendrick.
  • Looney Tunes Cartoons: The service is the home to 10 new 11 minute animated shorts featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and more.
  • The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo – The popular Sesame Street character hosts his own talk show.
  • Craftopia –  A reality competition show, as kids compete to show off their crafting skills.
  • Legendary – Another reality competition show, this time with teams of adults competing in their “voguingâ€� performances.
  • Search Party – A new third season of the acclaimed dark comedy series.
  • Karma: A competition show for kids age 12 to 15 who solve puzzle and complete challenges while being completely off the grid.
  • On The Record – A look at several women who have accused music producer Russell Simmons of sexual assault.

Future original scripted shows

HBO Max Originals has huge plans for original scripted TV series. Here are just some of the projects that are in the works.

  • Dune: The Sisterhood: Based on the classic Dune sci-fi novels, this 10-part series will focus on the Bene Gesserit group of women in this universe.
  • Tokyo Vice: This series will star Baby Driver actor Ansel Elgort and centers on the Tokyo Metropolitan Police.
  • The Flight Attendant: The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco will star as a flight attendant who wakes up in a Dubai hotel room next to a dead body.
  • Duster:
  • Station Eleven: This series will deal with the world after most of the population is killed in a pandemic.
  • Made for Love: This series will be about a woman who is trying to get away from her husband. He’s a tech CEO who is obsessed with finding her so she can be forced to link with him via brain chips.
  • Americanah: This limited series will focus on a young Nigerian woman who moves to the US. It will star Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o.
  • Circe: A limited series, based on the novel, that centers on the Greek mythological god Circe.
  • Raised by Wolves: This will be a sci-fi series directed by Ridley Scott.
  • Duster – Co-created by J.J. Abrams, this series will center on a getaway driver for a crime syndicate in the 1970’s Southwest.

What original DC Comics shows will be on the service?

grern lantern

HBO Max will have a number of shows based on DC Comics properties. They will include:

  • DMZ: Based on the DC Vertigo comic, this series will depict a second US Civil War in the near future.
  • DC Super Hero High – A comedy series that will depict classic DC superheroes in high school.
  • Strange Adventures – This will be a series centering on the space-based hero Adam Strange.
  • Green Lantern – This will be an adaptation of one of DC’s oldest and most popular superheroes.
  • Justice League Dark – A new J.J. Abrams series that will team up several of DC’s supernatural characters.

In addition, HBO Max is the home for the second season of the acclaimed series Doom Patrol, which first started on the DC Universe service.

What future original scripted movies will be on HBO Max?

HBO Max will also have a number of original movies that will make their debut for the service. Here’s what’s lined up so far:

  • Unpregnant: A film based on the acclaimed YA novel about a 17-year old girl who has to deal with an unwanted pregnancy.
  • Let Them All Talk: This drama about a trip with a group of friends will star Meryl Streep and will be directed by Steven Soderbergh.
  • Superintelligence: This is a comedy that will star Melissa McCarthy as a woman who is being observed by a newly birthed AI persona.

What else is being created just for the service?

Actress Reese Witherspoon will produce at least two more movies for the service.  Ellen DeGeneres’s production company has signed on with HBO Max to produce four shows for the service. They will include an animated series, Little Ellen, and three non-scripted shows: Ellen’s Home Design Challenge, First Dates Hotel, and Finding Einstein.

What reboots will be on HBO Max?

HBO Max will also be the home for at least a few reboots of older shows and movies:

  • Gremlins – The Animated Series: The mischievous and destructive creatures from the two Gremlins feature films will return as an animated series on HBO Max.
  • Gossip Girl: A reboot of the CW series, which again will center on rich teenagers who attend New York City private schools.
  • The Boondocks: This will be a revival of the acclaimed animated series. Also, the original Boondocks show will be streamed on HBO Max.
  • Grease – Rydell High: A musical TV show based on the classic 1950s teenager-themed Broadway and movie musical. It will feature both original characters as well as new ones.
  • Adventure Time: The acclaimed TV cartoon series returns with four hour-long specials on HBO Max. The first special is already available to stream and another will debut in 2020.
  • Overlook: A prequel series based on Stephen King’s novel The Shining that takes place at the book’s Overlook Hotel.

What other features does HBO Max have?

The service includes support for up to five specific user profiles for each account so that each member of a family can have their own lineup of preferred TV shows and movies. In addition, there are joint profiles so that a parent can watch the same content as their kids. There will also be curated recommended lists of HBO Max shows and movies from famous actors, directors and more. Unfortunately, HBO Max does not currently support 4K streaming, nor is there any HDR support. These features are reportedly coming in the near future.

HBO Max: Is it worth it?

For HBO Now and many HBO cable subscribers, HBO Max should be a no brainer. For everyone else, the high price of HBO Max may keep it from gaining a huge amount of subscribers. There’s no doubt that Friends fanatics will jump onto the new service. The addition of The Big Bang Theory and the Harry Potter films will also be a huge incentive. However, HBO Max will need to make sure its original series are of very high quality. That should bring in enough new subscribers so it is financially viable.