Say goodbye to HBO Max and meet... Max? The streaming service just announced a slew of changes to come via its controversial merger with Discovery+, including a slight name change, a shiny new logo, and a whole lotta new content.
We knew this was coming, as Warner Bros. Discovery (which owns both HBO Max and Discovery+) first announced the upcoming changes back in August 2022, but more information about what to expect from the merger — not to mention your streaming options — is now available.
As of today, May 23, the platform formerly known as HBO Max will officially be called “Max," sans the instantly recognizable HBO brand. Here's what else you need to know about the changes coming to HBO Max… I mean, Max.
Why is this happening?
Here's a quick primer on the changes thus far: new Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav planned to cut about $3 billion in spending when he took the helm of the company, and one of his biggest ideas was to fold the services together to save on promotion. Thus, Discovery+ and HBO Max were set to join forces and become one big superpower streamer.
Discovery+ was a home for reality and DIY content, including shows from HGTV, TLC, Food Network, Travel Channel, Magnolia Network, and Discovery Channel, whereas HBO Max was home to prestige television like Succession and The White Lotus, newly released movies, classics from Turner Classic Movies, and even old seasons of Sesame Street.
However, when the merger was announced, it was also explained that a handful of HBO Max original series and films would most likely be canceled (like the Gossip Girl reboot, R.I.P.), moved to theatrical releases (like the reimagined House Party), or killed entirely (like the Batgirl movie). Other TV shows and movies have simply disappeared from the service.
Why did HBO Max change its name to Max?
Why can't we continue calling it HBO Max? As noted by Variety, JB Perrette, president and CEO of global streaming and games at Warner Bros. Discovery, said the changes stem from the associations with the name “HBO" itself and the company's desire to distance itself from HBO's branding.
“We all love HBO, and it’s a brand that has been built over five decades [with a reputation for] edgy, groundbreaking entertainment for adults,” Perrette said of the update. “But it’s not exactly where parents would most eagerly drop off their kids. And yet Warner Bros. Discovery has some of the best-known kids’ characters, animation and brands in the industry. Not surprisingly, the category has not met his true potential on HBO Max.”
When does HBO Max become Max?
Changes take effect on May 23, 2023. If you subscribe to HBO Max, it should update automatically, depending on your device, that is. The HBO Max app will automatically transition into Max on Prime Video Channels, Roku, Xfinity, Vizio TV, and Cox devices. On Samsung TV, Android, DIRECTV, Apple, LG TV, and PlayStation devices, you will need to take a short trip to the app store and download the new Max app. According to Vulture, the team at Warner Bros. Discovery is urging users to pre-download the Max app “before HBO Max disappears.” (Run, don't walk.)
Once automatically updated or downloaded, all aspects of your former HBO Max profile should carry over to Max, including your watch history, settings, and watchlist.
If I already subscribe to HBO Max, will I have to pay more?
If you have an HBO Max account already, you can stick with your current plan and pay the same price. (An ad-free HBO Max subscription is currently $15.99 per month.) However, the company announced new pricing plans with different capabilities, including the below:
- With Ads — $9.99/month or $99.99/year
Stream in Full HD on 2 devices at once
- Ad-Free — $15.99/month or $149.99/year
Stream in Full HD on 2 devices at once, up to 30 offline downloads
- Ultimate Ad-Free — $19.99/month or $199.99/year
Stream in 4K UHD on 4 devices at once, up to 100 offline downloads
If you have HBO as part of a cable package, you may be able to access Max at no charge depending on your provider. Existing HBO Max plans are reported to stay in effect for around six months before you'll be prompted to select a new plan from the three new ad-tiers for Max.
What content can I expect from Max?
A lot of new stuff is coming to your TV. As noted by Entertainment Weekly, a variety of scripted TV — including the highly controversial Harry Potter reboot — is set to eventually premiere on the Max platform, plus a plethora of home renovation and reality TV, like a Barbie Dreamhouse DIY show hosted by model Ashley Graham and a twist on the 90-Day Fiancé franchise from TLC, Love & Translation. There will be content for kids and families as well as more HBO-esque prestige programming — basically anything you could ever dream of watching will be part of the consolidated content platform. Here are a few standouts to expect:
This series is reportedly set to cover all seven original books, similarly to the feature films, with controversial creator J.K. Rowling attached as an executive producer. (Learn more about that here.)
A Game of Thrones prequel series that will follow Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire Egg, written and produced by author George R.R. Martin and Ira Parker.
An original series starring Colin Farrell as the iconic Batman villain, with Farrell reprising his role from Matt Reeves' 2022 The Batman.
More spooky stories from the massively successful Conjuring franchise, set in the same universe as the films.
The network sitcom favorite is set to get an update with a new chapter.
The fourth installment of the popular crime anthology series, set to star Jodie Foster.
A limited series that will give an inside look to a fictional modern European regime, starring Oscar-winner Kate Winslet.
An animated prequel reboot of the ‘80s Gremlins series, premiering in tandem with Max’s launch on May 23.
A Park Chan-wook and A24-created limited series based on the novel of the same by Viet Thanh Nguyen, starring Hoa Xuande, Sandra Oh, and Robert Downey Jr., who also serves as an executive producer.
An animated, updated version of the classic children's tale based on original illustrations by U2's Bono.
A renovation series hosted by Ashley Graham, just in time for the Barbie movie!
90-Day Fiancé meets Love Island in this reality series from TLC, where three American men and 12 women from all over the world live on an island together with the goal of finding love.
Magnolia Network founders Chip and Joanna Gaines take on a fixer-upper to open a boutique hotel in Texas.
A seafaring challenge reality show that puts strangers together at sea.
A six-part docuseries about comedians Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes on their podcast tour, also premiering in tandem with Max's May 23 launch.