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What Will HBO MAX Offer Animation Fans?

The streaming wars are really heating up, as new entrants Disney and Apple are competing against stalwarts Netflix and Amazon. But a major new player is about to enter the fray, and one with a pretty impressive catalogue. Warner Media is the gigantic conglomerate formed in 2017 with the merger of AT&T and Time Warner. Warner are gearing up to launch their new platform HBO Max in May (although the pandemic could conceivably cause a delay) in the United States. The choice to use the HBO branding is a big hint that Warner are positioning this as a premium product- and that's reflected in a price of $14.99 a month, somewhat higher than most of its rivals. It will be available free to AT&T customers who already subscribe to HBO, and a cheaper ad-supported tier is also planned at a later date. But what will it offer animation fans?

Warner is one company that can give Disney a run for their money in terms of animated content, and HBO Max will also include outside acquisitions. This rundown is based on what has already been announced by Warner as well as some informed speculation- bear in mind that not everything will be available at launch and that we don't yet know the full catalogue. With that said, here's our list of what animation you can expect


Warner Bros.

The Warner Bros film and TV studios have produced an awful lot of animation over the years. In film, there's classics like The Iron Giant, and their recent output through Warner Animation Group such as The LEGO Movie and its sequels and spin-offs, Storks and the forthcoming Scoob.  It will also include classic theatrical shorts from Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies, and also be the home of the brand new shorts.  WB's TV studio is responsible for the likes of Tiny Toon Adventures, Freakazoid, Tazmania and The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, although Animaniacs is streaming on Hulu (which will also be home to the upcoming reboot).



Hanna-Barbera

Warner Media also owns the Hanna-Barbera library which also gives them access to the likes of Tom and Jerry, Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, Wacky Races and The Jetsons in their various classic and modern incarnations, as well as decades worth of lesser-known series. Newer Hanna-Barbera content is produced by Warner Bros animation under the Hanna-Barbera brand and is currently found streaming on the Boomerang streaming service, so it's likely that will be added too.

Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network has been producing its own series since the 90's so HBO Max will feature an extensive library from their back catalogue, which includes series such as Adventure Time, Steven Universe, The Powerpuff Girls, Regular Show, Ben 10 and The Amazing World Of Gumball.  Hopefully, older shows such as Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo and Cow and Chicken will also be included. 

Adult Swim

Cartoon Network's older brother has an impressive library of animation of its own with the likes of The Venture Brothers, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Samurai Jack, Moral Orel, Sealab 2021, Robot Chicken and Black Dynamite, as well as recent shows such as Primal and The Shivering Truth. The jewel in its crown is undoubtedly Rick and Morty which is confirmed to stream on HBO Max.


DC

Warner own DC Entertainment, which will mean HBO Max can include the library of DC Universe- the comic company's own streaming service. DC animated series include Batman The Animated Series, Justice League: Unlimited, Teen Titans,  Batman Beyond and Green Lantern.  DC also has a whole slate of animated movies, including theatrically released films Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm and Teen Titans Go To The Movies and their series of video movies including Wonder Woman: Bloodlines,  Superman Doomsday, Batman: Under The Red Hood and many more. Also expect DC Universe's animated originals Harley Quinn and the revived Young Justice. Through Warner's part ownership of  The CW network, HBO Max could also potentially stream the animated spin-offs of the Arrowverse- Constantine City Of Demons and Vixen.

HBO

HBO itself rarely forays into animation. However, its library does feature a few animated shows- Animals, The Life and Times Of Tim, The Ricky Gervais Show and somewhat further back, the pioneering Spawn: The Animated Series. At least a few of them should make the cut.

Crunchyroll

Now part of the WarnerMedia empire, through the acquisition of parent company Otter Media. HBO Max will feature anime from Crunchyroll- but not all of it, so maybe don't cancel your membership just yet. "Content will be curated quarterly by experts at [Crunchyroll] in order to keep the experience fresh and to avoid cluttering the service with low-quality content." We'd wager that this means that the top tier most popular shows will be included, alongside Crunchyroll's new slate of originals.

Rooster Teeth

Also part of Otter Media. Animated offerings from the cult site include RWBY, Gen:Lock and Camp Camp. 

Studio Ghibli

When HBO Max signed a deal to stream films from Studio Ghibli (brokered by GKIDS Films), they were the first company anywhere in the world to get digital rights to the studio's films. Just a few months later, Netflix picked up the rights to their catalogue outside North America and Japan, and the deal suddenly seemed less attractive. Still, if you want to stream Ghibli classics in the US, this is going to be the only place you can do it. HBO Max will feature the entire Ghibli Library, with the exception of Grave Of Fireflies (due to rights issues).



South Park

Not a Warner show, but HBO Max prevailed in the massive bidding war that took place over streaming rights to the long-running adult comedy. With more than 20 years worth of episodes and no end in sight, it's a shrewd move from the streaming newbie.


HBO Max Originals

Animation is set to play a part in HBO Max's originals stratergy, both for kids and adults shows alike. Already confirmed are The Boondocks reboot, Adventure Time: Distant Lands, Gremlins: Secrets Of The Mogwai, Aquaman and the satitrical comedy The Prince. Regular Show creator JG Quintel's long awaited adult animation Close Enough will also finally arrive as a Max Original. Ava DuVernay's adaptation of fantasy series Wings Of Fire seems likely to be destined for the service too.



International Roll-out

At launch HBO Max will only be available in the US.  Warner plans to rollout in Latin America later in 2020 and in 2021 it will expand to European countries where HBO already operates. In countries where there is no HBO (for example the UK and Canada) Warner will continue to work with their existing local partners for now. This means that Warner Media content will continue to be available on other streaming services in these countries. Where HBO Max original will end up in these territories (if anywhere) remains to be seen.

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