hbo max changes to max

HBO Max Decides to Rebrand as Max Because Who Needs Brand Recognition?

We all knew the merger of Discovery and Warner Bros would mean an all-encompassing app, but taking HBO Max and rebranding it as Max for the app is an interesting direction. Let’s eliminate all the brand recognition from the Sopranos, Band of Brothers, Game of Thrones, and the endless list of massive shows and toss it in favor of Max.

It could be it was due to the price increase, which is substantial. If you own a 4K television, which is essentially everyone nowadays, you’re paying $20 monthly. There are cheaper tiers, but they are locked at 1080p. Do you want to watch House of the Dragon Season 2 at 1080p? Nah, I prefer the dark episodes to be a true inky black versus the ‘something might be wrong with my TV dark gray.’

Warner Bros did soften the price increase blow with a litany of announcements and first looks. Props to the email marketing manager for ensuring my inbox reads as nothing but HBO Max information. Well played, friend. 16 PR blasts in total. I love it. 

Here’s everything coming to HBO Max (Max)

  • Max original Harry Potter series, a faithful adaptation of the beloved original book series by J.K. Rowling, who will serve as executive producer;
  • Max original comedy series derived from The Big Bang Theory;
  • HBO original Game of Thrones prequel A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight;
  • Max original drama series based on The Conjuring films;
  • Magnolia Network’s Fixer Upper: The Hotel;
  • Discovery Channel’s Survive the Raft;
  • Max original Peter & the Wolf short film from U2’s Bono;
  • Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty: The Anime; 
  • Investigation Discovery’s Lost Women of Highway 20;
  • Cartoon Network’s Tiny Toons Looniversity; and
  • TLC’s Love & Translation

After the success of House of the Dragon, the new Game of Thrones prequel is enough to justify the price hike. That’s one of four shows we know are in development at HBO, so expect that universe to continue to expand. 

In addition to the titles above, Warner Bros released its first looks at shows closer to release:

  • The Penguin starring Colin Farrell
  • HBO Original drama series The Sympathizer, an espionage thriller and cross-culture satire based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel;
  • HBO Original limited series True Detective: Night Country, starring Jodie Foster and Kali Reis
  • HBO Original limited series The Regime, starring Kate Winslet (retitled from The Palace);
  • Max Original six-part docuseries SmartLess: On the Road, following Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes as they take viewers on an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the sold-out live tour of their podcast
  • Max Original kids series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai
  • HGTV’s four-part Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge hosted by Ashley Graham.

Jodie Foster doesn’t do a series unless it has one hell of a script, so my hopes are high for the return of True Detective. 

Here’s hoping what The Batman universe is doing with the DCEU expands to the rest of the DCEU with Gunn and company at the helm. It looks solid and has me hyped. 

I understand the want to ‘broaden the tent’ with the change to Max, but the kind of content HBO has been associated with begs the question of why not wait a year or two after the integration and do an under-the-radar change. They could have rid the success of Last of Us, House of the Dragon, and future shows and then just swapped the name out later. 

As for the price? Grumbles all around, but you cannot deny the numbers their shows produce. House of the Dragon and Last of Us grew in viewership weekly. The price change was coming. No one will like the locking 4K at the top, but shareholders will love it. 

The ‘new’ Max launches on May 23. If you have the HBO Max app, you should be good with an auto-update. Expect a few hiccups depending on your smart TV, but the change will be seamless for most users.