In their beginnings, Netflix was essentially a distributor, a video store for the convenience-minded (raise your hand if you got those delicious red-label DVDs in the mail?). They didn’t start making — let alone streaming — their own original content until 2011’s digital debut of House of Cards changed everything. Now, of course, streaming services are much more ubiquitous, with savvy consumers demanding a litany of content, both from libraries and originally produced, right out of the gate. With that in mind, Warner Bros. and HBO Max have just announced a new, joint production label, Warner Max (get it?), with the purpose of producing original films for the upcoming HBO Max streaming service.
HBO Max’s Chief Content Officer Kevin Reilly and Chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group Toby Emmerich will oversee Warner Max, greenlighting an initial target of eight to ten mid-budget movies per year — which, as a fan of “original mid-budget movies,” excites the heck out of me. Carolyn Blackwood (COO, Warner Bros. Pictures Group), Sarah Aubrey (Head of Original Content, HBO Max), and Jessie Henderson (executive vice president of original feature films for HBO Max) will also be working for the new arm in close contact and collaboration. These original films will be sharing digital space with original HBO Max series and tons of library titles from both the HBO and Warner Bros. vaults.
“We are going to deliver a collaborative and lean process for talent, make a range of quality films, and provide a platform for each of them to have cultural impact,” explained Reilly in a press release. “Now, HBO Max will be home to a robust collection of the legendary Warner Bros. film library and a new slate of original WarnerMax films.” In mentioning the importance of “cultural impact,” Reilly could be sub-tweeting other services like Netflix, who pump out so much content that it can be hard for the content’s overall staying power. Perhaps Warner Max is going for the production arm known for quality, not quantity?
“We’re committed to creating dynamic and compelling films that draw on the depth and scope of the creative resources across WarnerMedia,” continued Emmerich. “We’re excited to help make HBO Max a destination for both film-lovers and the creative community, while delivering a win across the entire WarnerMedia organization.” Aubrey also spoke about the importance of the new arm’s dialogue with the film community: “Warner Bros. Pictures Group has long been the gold standard for filmmaker driven storytelling. We are proud to be in in the features business with them and continue that legacy on our SVOD platform. Warner Max gives us a special opportunity to continue cultivating this style of rich and diverse storytelling and it couldn’t be in better hands.”
For more on HBO Max, which drops in our laps later this 2020, here’s the intel on a new comedy coming to the service. Plus: Rosario Dawson‘s joining a comic book series, and Adam McKay‘s gonna make us all very depressed.