For viewers who’ve ever found themselves wanting to counter their Sopranos or Succession binge with some lighter fare like, say, Dr. Pimple Popper, Warner Bros. Discovery confirmed Wednesday that their new streaming platform Max is scheduled to launch in the US in just one month. As WBD retires HBO Max, the new service aims to provide the best of both worlds — those worlds being fan-favorite HBO series and Discovery’s plethora of unscripted comfort watches.
Max arrives in light of the April 2022 blockbuster merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery, which brought HBO originals under the same ownership as lifestyle TV brands like HGTV, Animal Planet, and Food Network. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav first teased the formation of Max last August, billing it as the company’s effort to compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+.
But financially speaking, Warner Bros. Discovery has had a rocky year or so since the merger. The company’s cost-cutting measures have included canceling existing series like Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Joe Pera Talks With You, and Westworld, shelving some Game of Thrones spinoffs and a Batman animated series, and canning Batgirl after it had wrapped filming, not to mention all those layoffs.
Still, spirits were high during Wednesday’s investor presentation, which laid out what to expect from the new streaming service — including how much it’ll cost you.
Why Is HBO Max Changing Its Name?
That’s only kinda-sorta what’s happening here — instead, as has been rumored for some time, HBO Max is merging with corporate sibling Discovery+ to create a new service, albeit one which promises to transition HBO Max subscribers seamlessly to the new iteration, with their accounts and viewing histories included in the transition.
What New Programming Will Be Included in Max?
In touting the new combined service, WarnerMedia revealed extended trailers for many of its buzziest shows, including the newest iteration of True Detective, the Kate Winslet-starring The Regime, the The Batman spinoff The Penguin, with Colin Farrell, and the Robert Downey Jr.-starring The Sympathizer.
It also announced a number of new series based on the studio’s wide-ranging intellectual property, including a new Game of Thrones spin-off entitled A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, new original series set in the world of The Conjuring, and a series based on The Big Bang Theory from creator Chuck Lorre. In addition, the recently-revealed Harry Potter original series, based directly on J.K. Rowling’s books, was confirmed by the studio.
I Love Discovery+ and Don’t Care About Dragons — Do I Still Have to Subscribe to Max?
Actually, no — during the presentation, Discovery+ was touted as a “profitable streaming service,” and will thus remain a stand-alone service you can continue subscribing to on its own.
What Will Max Cost?
Last January, it was announced that HBO Max would be hiking its prices to $15.99 a month for their ad-free tier. That’ll be the same price for the ad-free tier of Max, which will also be available in a $9.99/month ad-supported tier and a $19.99/month “ultimate ad-free” tier.
The difference between the ad-free tier and the “ultimate ad-free” tier is a difference in streaming quality: For your extra four dollars, you’ll get four concurrent streams, up to 4K UHD resolution, 100 offline downloads, and Dolby Atmos sound quality.
When Will Max Launch?
Max will launch on May 23rd, 2023.