BURBANK, Calif. — WarnerMedia executives took the stage on Tuesday to formally introduce the streaming service HBO Max, the future exclusive online home for “Game of Thrones,” “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory,” the Harry Potter films and movies centered on DC Comics superheroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
The big reveal, which came two hours into the event, was the cost of HBO Max: $15 a month.
That price puts the service at the top of the market. Netflix’s standard plan costs $13 a month. Apple charges $5 for Apple TV Plus, which will become available Friday. Disney Plus, the service from the Walt Disney Company scheduled to start Nov. 12, will charge $7. WarnerMedia was already charging $15 for HBO Now, a streaming service with content from HBO.
[Netflix goes all out to wow children.]
AT&T became the owner of HBO, CNN, Turner Broadcasting and the Warner Bros. television and film studio last year with its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner. That deal changed the identity of the company, turning a telecommunications giant into a telecommunications-news-and-entertainment behemoth.
The longtime AT&T executive John Stankey became the head of the entertainment unit, which was named WarnerMedia. It will provide HBO Max with the content it needs to compete in the crowded streaming universe.
At the presentation, held at the Warner Bros. studio lot, the main architects of WarnerMedia offered details on HBO Max, which will be available in May.
HBO Max will offer some 10,000 hours of programming to start, much of which has been announced in recent months. One show that will not make it to HBO Max is a previously announced “Game of Thrones” prequel starring Naomi Watts. HBO said on Tuesday that the show had been scrapped.
Toward the event of the event, WarnerMedia announced a replacement for that series: “House of the Dragon,” a series set 300 years before the action of the “Game of Thrones” series. It is based on the book “Fire & Blood” by George R.R. Martin, whose “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels were the source material for the epic HBO series, and it focuses on the House Targaryen.
Mr. Stankey spoke of the company’s worldwide reach at the start of the event. Later, the writer-director-producer J.J. Abrams, who signed a multiyear deal in June with WarnerMedia valued at roughly $500 million, took the stage. He gave no details of what his production company, Bad Robot, would come up with for HBO Max, except to say that he was working on the sci-fi show “Demimonde,” a program that has been in the works at HBO since 2018.
Kevin Reilly, the WarnerMedia chief content officer, said HBO Max would offer its original shows in HBO-style — that is, weekly. “Our creators see the difference of rolling out shows gradually and letting them breathe,” he said. Netflix, the leading streaming service, with 158 subscribers worldwide, releases its series all at once.
AT&T has said it aims to reach about 80 million subscribers for HBO Max by 2025, with 50 million coming from the United States. HBO has 35 million subscriptions, with nine million paying for the direct-to-consumer offering HBO Now. By contrast, Disney said it expected have 60 million to 90 million Disney Plus subscribers by 2024. Netflix’s subscriber base stands at 158 million.
“HBO’s new plan is to be something for everyone,” UBS Global Research said in its report anticipating WarnerMedia’s introduction. “The leader in the something for everyone business model, Netflix, spends considerably more on content, suggesting further increases to come.”
On Tuesday, the company announced a 10-episode sci-fi series, “Raised by Wolves,” from the director Ridley Scott. The project, centered on two aliens raising human children on a mysterious planet, recently completed production in South Africa.
Other HBO Max programs will include three new seasons of the British sci-fi show “Doctor Who.” CNN Films will provide a slate of documentaries and episodic series, including one on Anthony Bourdain. HBO Max has also acquired the rights to Studio Ghibli’s library of anime films including “My Neighbor Totoro” and the Oscar-winner “Spirited Away.”
[Studio Ghibli will join “Sesame Street” on HBO Max.]
The company has changed the release plan for “Superintelligence,” a comedy starring Melissa McCarthy. Instead of making its debut in theaters in December, it will have its premiere on HBO Max at its 2020 debut. A comedy from the director Steven Soderbergh, “Let Them All Talk,” starring Meryl Streep, will also appear first on HBO Max, as will two movies from Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company.
Joining these films is “Bobbie Sue,” the long-gestating Warner Bros. movie about a lawyer, played by Gina Rodriguez, who takes on a conservative law firm.
All 23 seasons of “South Park” will become available on the service next June, with three new seasons to follow, the company said. Other animated series headed to HBO Max include “The Boondocks,” “Robot Chicken” and the first three seasons of “Rick and Morty.”
New Looney Tunes Cartoons and classics from the vault will also stream at HBO Max.
Series that seem in keeping with the HBO brand are also on the docket, including “Americanah,” a 10-episode limited series based on the book by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and starring Lupita Nyong’o and written by Danai Gurira, who will serve as executive producer; “Circe,” a 10-episode series based on Madeline Miller’s 2018 best-selling novel; and “Station Eleven,” a post-apocalyptic series adapted from the best seller by Emily St. John Mandel, to be directed by Hiro Murai, who is known for his work on the FX show “Atlanta.”
Ann Sarnoff, who was named the head of the Warner Bros. film and television studio in June, highlighted the studio’s upcoming slate — including the debut of “The Joker” — and its classic movie library, including films from Warner Bros., MGM and Criterion Classic, that will stream on HBO Max. Intended to replace the much-loved and now-defunct streaming site from Turner Classic Movies, Film Struck, the monthly offering will comprise classics that “can’t be seen anywhere else.”
There will also be competition and reality shows, including a matchmaking show produced by Ellen DeGeneres. Conan O’Brien, whose “Conan” is broadcast on TBS, will put together five stand-up comedy specials featuring up-and-coming comics for HBO Max, the company announced at the event.
HBO Max hopes to appeal to young viewers with four young-adult films from the uber-producer Greg Berlanti, including “UnPregnant,” which tracks two teenagers on a road trip to New Mexico to terminate a pregnancy before the start of college. A “Gossip Girl” reboot and “Grease: Rydell High,” a musical series, also play to that audience. On Tuesday, Mr. Berlanti revealed two new projects: “Green Lantern” based on the classic DC property and “Strange Adventures,” a one-hour anthology series featuring characters from across the DC canon.
HBO Max also announced that Elizabeth Banks, Issa Rae and Mindy Kaling will each produce a half-hour comedy series for the service. Ms. Banks will produce “DC Super Hero High,” a half-hour series set at a boarding school for gifted children. Ms. Rae’s show follows a female rap group from outside Miami trying to make it in the music industry. Ms. Kaling’s “College Girls” follows three freshman roommates at Evermore College in Vermont.
WarnerMedia made its presentation after AT&T’s third-quarter earnings report, in which it announced a steep decline in its DirecTV subscribers and an overall decline in profit. Elliott Management, one of Wall Street’s biggest and most aggressive hedge funds, which owns about 1 percent of AT&T shares, has been critical of the company’s move into entertainment. The success of HBO Max will figure into AT&T’s ability to stave off those investors.
Randall Stephenson, the chief executive of AT&T, closed the event, saying, “This is not Netflix. This is not Disney. This is HBO Max. This company in the next three years will invest $4 billion in building HBO Max.”
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