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Michael Balderston

Say hello to Max: details and new shows announced for HBO Max rebrand

Max webpage

Starting May 23, HBO Max is dropping the HBO and going simply by Max. That was the first order of business at a press event held on April 12 by Warner Bros. Discovery that provided details on the long-awaited merging of the HBO Max and Discovery Plus streaming services.

But that's not all, Warner Bros. Discovery took the chance to build some hype around the new version of its streaming service with a handful of major announcements and first looks, which we have gathered for you all in one place right here.

Let's take a look.

What is the Max price?

HBO Max announced that it was raising its price for its ad-free tier from $14.99 per month to $15.99 per month in January 2023, and that price is going to stay the same when Max launches in May, but there are some additional pricing details that were revealed as part of the announcement.

There are going to be three subscription plans for Max, ranging from $9.99 per month to $19.99 per month. Here are the specific details:

Max Ad-Lite

  • $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year
  • Two concurrent streams
  • 1080p resolution
  • No offline downloads
  • 5.1 surround sound quality

Max Ad Free

  • $15.99 per month or $149.99 per year
  • Two concurrent streams
  • 1080p resolution
  • 30 offline downloads
  • 5.1 surround sound quality

Max Ultimate Ad Free

  • $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year
  • Four concurrent streams
  • Up to 4K UHD resolution
  • 100 offline downloads
  • Dolby Atmos sound quality

In addition to the price, Warner Bros Discovery said that new subscribers will automatically be transitioned over to Max on May 23; some may new to perform a two-part sign in as a part of the transition.

The May 23 launch is for US subscribers, while Latin America territories will get the rebrand in fall 2023, followed by Europe in early 2024, Asia-Pacific in mid 2024 and new markets expected in fall 2024.

The Penguin trailer

One of the most anticipated new series for the streaming service is The Penguin, a spinoff of Matt Reeves' The Batman movie that sees Colin Farrell return as Oswald Cobblepot, aka the Penguin, and follows his rise as the new kingpin of crime in Gotham following the death of Carmine Falcone in the movie. While the series, which is slated for an eight-episode run, is still in production, a first-look trailer was shared as part of the announcement. In addition to Farrell we get our first looks at Cristin Millioti, Michael Kelly, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Rhenzy Feliz and Carmen Ejogo in the series, plus a confirmation that it is set to arrive in 2024. Watch the trailer right here:

New Game of Thrones prequel series

After the success of House of the Dragon, HBO is officially moving forward with another Game of Thrones spinoff, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight. The series is based off of George R.R. Martin's Dunk and Egg series of stories, which center on Ser Duncan the Tall and Aegon V Targaryen, taking place about 90 years before the events of the main Game of Thrones series.

Here is the official logline:

"A century before the events of Game of Thrones, two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros… a young, naïve but courageous knight, Ser Duncan the Tall, and his diminutive squire, Egg. Set in an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living memory, great destinies, powerful foes and dangerous exploits all await these improbable and incomparable friends."

While A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight is going to be an HBO series, it will also be available to stream on Max when it releases. 

Harry Potter TV series confirmed

After reports that a Harry Potter TV series would come to the streaming service, the official order for the new show was announced as part of the Max press event. The series, which will feature an entirely new cast, will follow all seven Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling, with each season focusing on a specific book, this should give the opportunity to dive into even more subplots from the books that the movies did not get to. No timetable for the series was shared as part of the announcement.

Big Bang Theory spinoff in the works

The universe is expanding — or at least The Big Bang Theory universe is. Chuck Lorre is in early development of a new series based on the long-running sitcom with little details available, though Variety reported that it is believe to be an hour-long series with a mostly new cast and the possibility of Big Bang Theory alums to show up as guest stars. This would be the second Big Bang Theory spinoff, joining Young Sheldon, which currently airs on CBS. 

True Detective: Night Country trailer

The much anticipated fourth season of True Detective, being called True Detective: Night Country, released its first official trailer as part of the April 12 event. It gives fans the best look yet as Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as the two detectives on the case in the long nights of an Alaskan winter, but the one thing that it does not give us is an official release date, as the trailer only says "coming this year."

Discovery Channel orders new reality series Survive the Raft

With the addition of Discovery Plus content to Max, Discovery Channel content is going to be available on the platform, including the newly ordered reality series Survive the Raft. The series brings together strangers from all walks of life and has them live and work together at sea. Inspired by Mexican anthropologist Santiago Genovés 1973 behavorial study, the nine-episode series will see if people from different cultures can put aside their difference and work together, with a few new twists. The series is hosted by Nate Boyer, a former US Army Green Beret, NFL player and actor, and premiere on Discovery Channel and Max in July. 

The Sympathizer trailer

Oldboy director Park Chan-wook has a new limited series coming to HBO and Max, The Sympathizer. The first trailer for the series was released as part of the Max launch event. The series, which is based on Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, stars Robert Downey Jr., Hoa Xuande, Fred Nguyen Khan, Toan Le, Alan Trong, Ky Duyen and Sandra Oh in an espionage thriller and satire about a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist spy during the final days of the Vietnam war and his resulting exile to the U.S. The series doesn't arrive until 2024, but you can watch the trailer right now below. 

Smartless: On the Road premiering May 23

The hit podcast Smartless from Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes is getting the docuseries treatment with Smartless: On the Road. The six-part Max original is a behind-the-scenes look at their sold-out live tour, with appearances from other celebrities and prominent figures like Conan O'Brien, Will Ferrell, Matt Damon, Jimmy Kimmel, Kevin Hart, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and David Letterman. The docuseries launches on May 23, the official rebrand day for Max. Check out the trailer directly below. 

Kate Winslet's The Regime trailer 

Another HBO original series that will stream exclusively on Max got a tease during the April 12 event, the Kate Winslet-led, Stephen Frears and Jessica Hobs-directed and Will Tracy-written series The Regime. The limited series tells the story of one year within the walls of the palace of a modern European regime as it begins to unravel. In addition to Winslet, the cast includes Matthias Schoenaerts, Guillaume Gallienne, Andrea Riseborough, Martha Plimpton and Hugh Grant. Watch the trailer here: 

Gremlins: The Secret of the Mogwai release date

Another new title that will help to ring in the launch of Max on May 23 is the animated series Gremlins: The Secret of the Mogwai. With a voice cast that includes Ming-Na Wen, James Hong, BD Wong, Matthew Rhys, Izaac Wang, and Gabrielle Neveah Green, the series takes place in 1920s Shanghai, where the Wing family first meets the young Mogwai called Gizmo. Sam Wing accepts the dangerous task to take Gizmo home and embarks on a journey through the Chinese countryside. Along their quest, they are pursued by a power-hungry industrialist and his growing army of evil Gremlins. Get a glimpse at the series with its teaser trailer right here:

Peter & the Wolf animated short on the way

The classic tale of Peter & the Wolf is being reimagined, with the help of U2's Bono. Gavin Friday is working on music and narration for the short film adaptation of Sergei Prokofiev's symphony, while Bono's original illustrations are being used as the basis for the artwork. Max and Cartoon Network are expected to premiere the short film later in 2023. 

The Conjuring TV series in the works

A new TV series based on The Conjuring series of horror movies is in the works. The series is going to continue the story established in the movies, which followed the paranormal investigations of Ed and Lorraine Warren. James Wan, who directed the first two Conjuring movies is in talks to executive produce. 

Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge premiering summer 2023

While Margot Robbie's Barbie hits the big screen in summer 2023, HGTV is going to put its spin on the popular toy franchise with Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge, a four-episode challenge that will see 15 HGTV home design and renovation experts transform a Southern California home into a real-life Barbie Dreamhouse. The show will be hosted by Ashley Graham and be available to stream on Max. Watch the trailer below: 

New Chip and Joanna Gaines series announced

Chip and Joanna Gaines are undertaking a new project, which may just be their biggest yet, Fixer Upper: The Hotel. Premiering in November, the first couple of home design will renovate a historic building in downtown Waco, Texas, to open Hotel 1928. A teaser trailer for the series was shown as part of the announcement:

Creature Commandos cast announced

Broken by Collider before the official press event and then confirmed by James Gunn on Twitter, the voice cast for the animated series Creature Commandos, the first animated series in the revamped DC Universe, has been announced. They are going to include Frank Grillo as Rick Flag Sr., David Harbour as Frankenstein, Indira Varma as the Bride, Alan Tudyk as Dr. Phosphorous, Maria Bakalova as Ilana Rostovic, Sean Gunn as GI Robot & Weasel, Zoe Chao as Nina Mazursky and Steve Agee as John Economos. 

New reality series Love & Translation

TLC was also a part of the Max event, with a new series announced that will premiere on the network and stream on Max. Love & Translation is set to arrive in next winter (a more specific date was not shared) and will see three US bachelors try to find love among 12 woman, the only problem is that none of them speak any English. Here is the teaser for the new series:

The Flash to stream on Max

After showing some new footage of the highly anticipated summer blockbuster The Flash, which unfortunately has not found its way online, to no one's surprise it was announced that when The Flash does make its way to streaming it will do so first on Max. A timeline for that streaming release, however, was not given.

Between now and May 23, you can still sign up for HBO Max and, as note above, be automatically transitioned over to Max.

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