HBO Max Still on Track for May Launch Despite Coronavirus Shutdown

Though productions around the country are shut down and movie theaters are closed for the forseeable future, people at home will have plenty of entertainment including new streaming services. Even though WarnerMedia is unable to debut new episodes on television or keep cameras rolling on their feature films, they still intend to debut their new streaming service HBO Max during its previously announced release time this May. WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey made the announcement in a staff memo (h/t Variety) on Friday,

"We’ve also had to reorient how our businesses operate in this uncharted landscape, and our senior leaders are working together to adapt and execute in new ways," Stankey wrote. To that end, I’d like to share some status updates, and some of the ways we are facing these challenges. Our tech teams have been operating under very unique circumstances and have adapted quickly to a new way of working so that the launch of HBO Max remains on schedule for May; and the marketing team has had to recast plans to reach potential subscribers in innovative ways.|

Even though HBO Max will still arrive in May, it will likely be missing some of its original content as things like the planned FRIENDS reunion has been delayed. The special was set to be filmed on March 23rd and 24th on the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank and will be held down until at least May with no formal filming date yet. It remains uncertain when all of the programmings on various platforms will resume production as normal.

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When HBO Max launches it will cost $14.99 a month. Among its many titles at launch will be both Friends and The Big Bang Theory, making HBO Max the exclusive streaming home for both of the popular sitcoms, a benefit which WarnerMedia reportedly paid more than a billion dollars to have happen. The service will also include content from the likes of HBO, Cartoon Network, TNT, TruTV, Crunchy Roll, DC Universe, TBS, and even originals for the service. In addition, feature films from Warner Bros. Studios will be available including recent hits like A Star is Born and Crazy Rich Asians, to comic book movies like The Dark Knight and Joker, plus classics like Casablanca and The Wizard of Oz.

Other shows confirmed to be available on the service include South Park, Rick & Morty, Doctor Who, and originals like Green Lantern, Dune: The Sisterhood, an animated prequel to the Gremlins feature films, and a spin-off of National Lampoon's Vacation franchise titled The Griswolds.