Will there be original content on HBO Max?
Old movies and TV shows are important to the lifeblood of a new streaming service, but original shows tend to be what can make or break one of these companies. It's hard to imagine Netflix being in its current position without the success of House of Cards. Obviously, WarnerMedia is making some pretty big investments in original shows and movies, hoping to compete with the near constant flow of streaming options and cable shows.
As part of its initial strategy, HBO Max has announced movie deals with two established producers: Greg Berlanti and Reese Witherspoon. Berlanti, the super-producer behind the CW's ever-expanding slate of superhero dramas, will produce "four movies in the young-adult genre." Witherspoon, who currently produces and stars in Big Little Lies for HBO, will produce "at least two films" for the service through her Hello Sunshine production company.
Then there are the TV projects. Back in June, WarnerMedia announced Dune: The Sisterhood, a spinoff of the upcoming science-fiction blockbuster based on Frank Herbert's classic genre novel. The female-focused series will feature a pilot directed by the movie's director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival) and written by Jon Spaihts (Passengers). Expect it to be big, expensive, and probably pretty weird.
The rest of the announced titles are similarly based on a hodgepodge of pre-existing intellectual properties like famous movies, nonfiction books, and novels. There's an animated Gremlins series based on the '80s Joe Dante movie, a one-hour thriller series called The Flight Attendant starring Kaley Cuoco based on a novel by Chris Bohjalian, a cop show called Tokyo Vice starring Ansel Elgort based on Jake Adelstein’s nonfiction book about the inner-workings of the Tokyo Vice police squad, a half-hour comedy based on Alissa Nutting's novel Made for Love, and a dystopian limited series based on Emily St. John Mandel's bestseller Station Eleven. There's also Love Life, a half-hour romantic comedy anthology series starring Anna Kendrick and produced by Paul Feig, and Crime Farm, a drama about forensic crime experts executive produced by Nicole Kidman.