AT&T Went Back to Basics by Cutting WarnerMedia Loose

In acquiring WarnerMedia, it believed pairing distribution with content was the key to the future. Apparently not.

#att-inc, #cable-television, #hbo-max, #media, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #stankey-john-t, #telephones-and-telecommunications, #warner-bros-discovery, #zaslav-david-m

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Paramount+ will launch a $4.99 monthly ad-supported subscription

If you didn’t want to shell out $9.99 per month to watch the meme-worthy iCarly reboot, now you won’t have to. On Monday, Paramount+ will launch its ad-supported Essential Plan, priced at $4.99 per month.

This less-expensive plan will replace the CBS All Access plan, which included commercials, but also granted access to local CBS stations. If you’re currently subscribed to that $5.99 per month plan, you can keep it. But starting Monday, it won’t be around anymore for new subscribers. 

What makes the Essential Plan different from CBS All Access? Subscribers on the new tier will get access to Marquee Sports (including games in the NFL, UEFA Champions, and Europa Leagues), breaking news on CBSN, and all of Paramount’s on-demand shows and movies. This includes offerings from ViacomCBS-owned channels like BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, the Smithsonian Channel, and more. But, local live CBS station programming will no longer be included. So, if that’s a deal-breaker, you might want to subscribe to CBS All Access this weekend. 

The existing Premium Plan ($9.99 per month) removes commercials and adds support for 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision. Like other streaming services, only Premium subscribers will have access to mobile downloads. 

Both plans include access to parental controls and up to six individual profiles. The service doesn’t have a watch list at this time. But that has become a baseline feature for being competitive in this space, so it’s not a matter of if, but when. 

For comparison, the basic Netflix plan costs $8.99 per month, but only lets you watch on one screen at a time. That makes it harder to share an account with family or friends. Their standard tier is $13.99, making it a bit pricier than Paramount+.

Earlier this week, HBO Max unveiled their own lower-cost, ad-supported subscription tier, priced at $9.99 per month. The WarnerMedia-Discovery merger could also have major implications for the popular streaming service, though how that shakes out in terms of content libraries, or even possibly a combined streaming app, remains to be seen. 

Ultimately, consumers will make their decisions about which services to pay for based on a variety of key factors including content, pricing, and user experience. On the content front, Paramount+ plans to announce a slate of big-name titles when the new plan goes live on Monday, in hopes of wooing new subscribers. But the low-cost plan may also appeal to those who don’t necessarily care about top movies – they just want an affordable add-on to their current streaming lineup that provides them with access to some of the programs Netflix lacks. 

Paramount+ owner ViacomCBS said it added 6 million global streaming subscribers across their Paramount+, Showtime OTT, and BET+ services in Q1, to end the quarter with 36 million global users. Most of those come from Paramount+.

#cbs, #comedy-central, #crave, #entertainment, #epix, #hbo, #hbo-max, #national-football-league, #netflix, #nickelodeon, #paramount, #showtime, #smithsonian, #streaming-services, #television, #uefa, #viacom, #viacomcbs

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Warner Bros. releases trailer for noir-esque sci-fi thriller Reminiscence

Hugh Jackman stars as a man who helps clients recover lost memories in the sci-fi thriller Reminiscence.

A solitary man living in a dystopian near-future helps people recover lost memories and ends up uncovering a violent conspiracy in Reminiscence, a sci-fi thriller that feels like a cross between classic film noir and ambitiously heady fare like Memento and Inception. That’s no surprise, as it’s the feature film directorial debut of Lisa Joy, co-creator (with husband Jonathan Nolan) of HBO’s critically acclaimed series Westworld.

Per the official premise:

Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). A simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession. As Bannister fights to find the truth about Mae’s disappearance, he uncovers a violent conspiracy and must ultimately answer the question: how far would you go to hold on to the ones you love?

During a virtual event on Wednesday, Joy said she was inspired to make Reminiscence after finding an old photograph among her grandfather’s belongings. The picture was of an unknown woman her grandfather had never mentioned to anyone in the family. “It made me start to think about memory and our lives in general,” she said. “And the moments that maybe pass by, and maybe disappear—they don’t stay with us, those connections necessarily—but that meant something, that changed us and touched us. And how nice it would be able to go back to these memories fully for a moment, to live that life and feel the way you felt when you experienced them.”

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#entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #hugh-jackman, #lisa-joy, #warner-bros

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HBO Max launches ad-supported subscription for $9.99 per month

“Game of Thrones” might be over, but HBO Max is still breaking new ground, and even breaking the internet – this past weekend, HBO Max blacked out right before the finale of “Mare of Easttown,” likely due to traffic. But if you haven’t hopped aboard the HBO Max train yet, it might be time to try it out. Today, the streaming platform premieres an ad-supported subscription at $9.99 per month. Its existing service – which features no ads – costs $14.99 per month. Subscribers can save 15% on their subscription, no matter which version they choose, if they pre-pay for an entire year. 

The advertisements aren’t the only drawback of the more affordable subscription option. The ad-supported tier offers a maximum quality of 1080p, which is still pretty good for most consumers, unless you’re watching “Friends: The Reunion” in your 4k home theater. But, lower-tier subscribers won’t be able to download content to view offline, nor will they have access to same-day film premieres of Warner Bros.’s newest theatrical releases. However, these films will become available to stream months after release. On the bright side, ads will not appear on original HBO programming.

With just four minutes of ad time per hour, the ad-supported tier “launches with a commitment” to maintaining the lowest volume of commercials among popular streaming services. HBO Max follows in the footsteps of Hulu, which also offers a discounted subscription with ads for $5.99 per month, as opposed to $11.99 per month. But on Hulu, a half-hour show can contain almost five minutes of unskippable ad time. Meanwhile, Netflix offers its most basic plan – which allows streaming on one screen at a time without HD – for $8.99 per month. Its standard plan is $13.99 a month. Now that HBO Max has a more competitively priced option, it might give these other platforms a run for their money. 

What kinds of ads can you expect to see on HBO Max? The company says that subscribers can expect “a greater personalization in the ads they see” over time, with “more innovation in formats to come.” This could resemble the ad experience on Hulu, which has experimented with viewer-friendly binge-watch ads.

As of April 2021, HBO Max and HBO reached a combined 44.2 million subscribers, and in Q1 of the year, added 2.7 million domestic subscribers. By comparison, Netflix reported an increase of 4 million subscribers in the same period, bringing them to about 207 million global subscribers. However, only 450,000 of those new subscribers come from the US and Canada.

On June 29, HBO Max will launch in 39 Latin American markets. Later in the year, the streaming service is expected to roll out in Europe. This will only further the platform’s rapid growth – in 2019, AT&T, which owns HBO Max, set the modest goal to attain 50 million subscribers by 2025. Now, HBO Max expects it will reach between 120 million and 150 million subscribers by the same date.

The ad-supported subscription option for HBO Max is available now.

#apps, #cinemax, #companies, #entertainment, #hbo, #hbo-go, #hbo-max, #hbo-now, #hulu, #max, #netflix, #streaming-services, #television, #warner-bros

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HBO Max now offers a (partially) ad-supported service tier

The entrance to a drive-in theater has been manipulated to include promotional posters for current HBO offerings.

Enlarge / If you want Warner Bros. same-day movie premieres, you’ll need to stick to the original $15/mo plan—the new ad-supported plan won’t offer them. (credit: Jeff Kravitz / Getty Images)

Wednesday morning, HBO Max rolled out a new, partially ad-supported service plan. Consumers can now choose between the original ad-free plan at $15 per month or the new, ad-supported plan at $10 per month—the breakdown is similar to Hulu (no ads) versus Hulu (with ads), at $12/mo and $6/mo, respectively.

HBO Max customers (new or existing) can also prepay for additional savings. Paying upfront gets you a year of service for the cost of 10 months at the monthly rate—$150/yr for ad-free or $100/yr for ad-supported.

The new ad-supported tier offers the same content as the ad-free tier, with the exception of Warner Brothers same-day premiere films. The ad-supported plans also do not offer resolution higher than 1080p or the ability to download content for offline viewing.

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#hbo, #hbo-max, #streaming-tv, #tech, #tv

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A Brief History of ‘Friends’ Reunions

Ahead of Thursday’s “Friends” special on HBO Max, here are highlights from the many times the cast members demonstrated that they were clearly not on a break.

#aniston-jennifer, #cougar-town-tv-program, #cox-courteney, #friends-tv-program, #hbo-max, #jimmy-kimmel-live-tv-program, #kimmel-jimmy, #kudrow-lisa, #leblanc-matt, #national-broadcasting-co, #perry-matthew, #schwimmer-david, #television, #the-ellen-degeneres-show-tv-program

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‘Friends’ Reunion: The One With the ‘Remember the One With … ?’

A long, emotional get-together is best when it gets out of its cast’s way.

#aniston-jennifer, #cox-courteney, #friends-tv-program, #friends-the-reunion-tv-program, #hbo-max, #kudrow-lisa, #leblanc-matt, #perry-matthew, #schwimmer-david, #television

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Review: The Nevers makes abrupt turn in disorienting midseason finale

Laura Donnelly stars as Amalia True in HBO's Victorian-era sci-fi drama, <em>The Nevers</em>.

Enlarge / Laura Donnelly stars as Amalia True in HBO’s Victorian-era sci-fi drama, The Nevers. (credit: HBO)

I’m not sure what I was expecting from the midseason finale for The Nevers, HBO’s inventive and alluring science fiction drama set in Victorian England. But I certainly didn’t foresee being so disoriented that I briefly wondered if HBO Max had started airing an entirely different series by mistake. I won’t spoil the finale for you, but let’s just say that the revelations in that sixth episode set up a radical new direction for the series. I’m curious to see if the writers can stick the landing when the second half of the season eventually airs.

(Some mild spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

As I’ve written previously, HBO won a fierce bidding war and approved a straight-to-series order in 2018, with Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Cabin in the Woods, etc.) as writer, director, executive producer, and showrunner. Whedon brought Douglas Petrie and Jane Espenson—both of whom worked with Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer—on board as additional writers/executive producers. Last November, Whedon announced he was quitting the project, citing exhaustion and the “physical challenges of making such a huge show during a global pandemic.” British screenwriter Philippa Goslett (Little Ashes, How to Talk to Girls at Parties) took over as showrunner soon after.

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#entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo, #hbo-max, #television, #the-nevers

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HBO Max with ads: $10/mo starting in June, and guess what it won’t include

Get the toughest soot stains out of your jerkin with Tide!

Enlarge / Get the toughest soot stains out of your jerkin with Tide! (credit: Aurich Lawson | HBO | Tide)

In a first for anything HBO-branded, the cable provider will begin offering its content for a lower price, subsidized by advertising, starting the first week of June. Game of Thrones, brought to you by Tide? Advertising is coming.

This comes as part of the wider WarnerMedia streaming service HBO Max creating a new ad-supported tier. We first learned of this tier in March but now know it will cost $10 per month, as opposed to the existing $15/mo rate without advertisements. That $5/mo savings comes from more than advertising, however: WarnerMedia has confirmed that the ad-supported tier will not include “Warner Bros. Same-Day Premiere” films slated to simul-launch in theaters and on HBO Max through the remainder of 2021 (including Dune, The Matrix 4, and The Suicide Squad).

In a Wednesday press release, WarnerMedia describes the new tier as the “lightest ad load among ad-supported streamers.” Exactly how that will play out remains unclear, however, since the announcement’s language is clearly written to entice advertisers, not viewers. The announcement currently includes three examples of HBO Max ads: full-screen advertisements while content is paused; ads placed in the service’s search interface; and “brand blocks,” which appear to let a single advertiser “own a block of content” (presumably with “this episode was brought to you with limited ads by so-and-so” messaging, as opposed to Conan O’Brien’s upcoming, HBO Max-exclusive series having episodes dominated by specific bottles of hot sauce).

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#gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #streaming

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Jean Smart Shines in ‘Hacks’ and ‘Mare of Easttown’

With “Mare of Easttown” and now “Hacks,” an actor that Hollywood undervalued for years continues her career resurgence.

#content-type-personal-profile, #designing-women-tv-program, #fargo-tv-program, #hacks-tv-program, #hbo-max, #home-box-office, #legion-tv-program, #mare-of-easttown-tv-program, #smart-jean, #television, #watchmen-tv-program

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An Old-School Media Titan Pushes Aside an Upstart

Jason Kilar was named chief executive of WarnerMedia just last year, but now he is negotiating his departure after being sidelined by David Zaslav, the longtime leader of Discovery.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #att-inc, #cnn, #discovery-networks, #hbo-max, #kilar-jason, #malone-john-c, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #movies, #stankey-john-t, #television, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming, #warner-media-llc, #zaslav-david-m, #zucker-jeff

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AT&T’s WarnerMedia Group to Merge With Discovery

AT&T’s WarnerMedia group is merging with the reality programmer Discovery. What does that mean for your favorite shows?

#att-inc, #cable-television, #dc-comics, #discovery-channel, #hbo-max, #hgtv, #home-box-office, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #media, #mergers-acquisitions-and-divestitures, #movies, #news-and-news-media, #oprah-winfrey-network, #stankey-john-t, #telephones-and-telecommunications, #warner-brothers, #zaslav-david-m

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Hannah Einbinder: Portrait of a Young Comic on the Cusp

As the daughter of Laraine Newman, she has an understanding of the ups and downs of early success. Will those lessons be helpful for her first series, “Hacks”?

#actors-and-actresses, #comedy-and-humor, #content-type-personal-profile, #einbinder-hannah, #hacks-tv-program, #hbo-max, #newman-laraine, #television

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We, Tina

How Tina Turner reclaimed her voice, her image and her spirituality.

#dating-and-relationships, #documentary-films-and-programs, #domestic-violence, #hbo-max, #movies, #pop-and-rock-music, #rio-de-janeiro-brazil, #turner-ike, #turner-tina

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Comfort Viewing: 3 Reasons I Love ‘Inside No. 9’

The comic British anthology series, now streaming on HBO Max, depicts a weird and varied world that also manages to feel familiar.

#hbo-max, #inside-no-9-tv-program, #pemberton-steve, #shearsmith-reece, #television

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N.H.L. and Turner Sports Reach 7-Year Media Rights Deal

Turner Sports will broadcast half of each year’s playoffs and three Stanley Cup finals, and plans to bring games to the HBO Max streaming service.

#espn, #hbo-max, #hockey-ice, #national-hockey-league, #tbs-network, #television, #turner-network-television, #walt-disney-company, #warner-media-llc, #zucker-jeff

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Bethenny Frankel Is Back on TV Because ‘I Know What People Want to See’

In “The Big Shot With Bethenny,” on HBO Max, millennial strivers will compete to help Frankel run her Skinnygirl empire.

#content-type-personal-profile, #frankel-bethenny, #hbo-max, #reality-television, #the-big-shot-with-bethenny-tv-program

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HBO Max Gains Traction in a Crowded Field

AT&T, HBO’s parent company, reported that HBO and the new streamer added 2.7 million subscribers in the first quarter.

#att-inc, #company-reports, #hbo-max, #kilar-jason, #movies, #television, #video-recordings-downloads-and-streaming

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Hollywood Journalist Prepares for a Surreal Oscar Night

A Times journalist gives a sneak preview of the Academy Awards on Sunday and offers insights on a changing film industry.

#academy-awards-oscars, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #los-angeles-calif, #movies, #theaters-buildings, #union-station

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True Love? On TV, There’s an App for That

Dystopian streaming shows like “Made for Love” and “The One” imagine what happens when Big Tech creeps into finding soul mates and fixing marriages.

#amc-tv-network, #black-mirror-tv-program, #dating-and-relationships, #hbo-max, #love-emotion, #made-for-love-tv-program, #netflix-inc, #online-dating, #soulmates-tv-program, #television, #the-one-tv-program

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With ‘Earth Moods’ and Its Ilk, TV Goes From Meditative to Vegetative

“Earth Moods” may look like a screensaver, but you’ll have to pay Disney+ to enjoy its calming effects.

#anxiety-and-stress, #disney-plus, #earth-moods-tv-program, #hbo-max, #joe-pera-talks-with-you-tv-program, #painting-with-john-tv-program, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #schitts-creek-tv-program, #ted-lasso-tv-program, #television

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Movies Survived 2020. The Oscars Diversified. There’s More to Do.

At the pandemic Oscars, anything could happen. Here are the lessons from the nominations: The good, the bad and what needs fixing.

#academy-awards-oscars, #blank-radha, #hbo-max, #judas-and-the-black-messiah-movie, #mank-movie, #minari-movie, #movies, #netflix-inc, #nomadland-movie, #promising-young-woman-movie, #race-and-ethnicity, #sound-of-metal-movie, #the-father-movie, #the-trial-of-the-chicago-7-movie, #women-and-girls

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The Strange, Lovely ‘Infinity Train’ Reaches the End of the Line

The fantastical animated series is part surreal adventure and part spiritual parable. Its fourth and final season arrives Thursday on HBO Max.

#cartoon-network, #cartoons-and-cartoonists, #dennis-owen-1987, #hbo-max, #infinity-train-tv-program, #television

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It’s the Tune Squad vs the Good Squad in Space Jam: A New Legacy trailer

The LA Lakers’ LeBron James stars as himself in Space Jam: A New Legacy, a sequel to the 1996 film Space Jam.

NBA basketball star LeBron James and a team of Looney Tunes animated characters must win a virtual basketball game against the digitized champions of an evil A.I. in Space Jam: A New Legacy, a sequel to the 1996 film, Space Jam. With its blend of live action and animation, the original became one of the most iconic films of the 1990s. The sequel updates the basic concept for the virtual age, to create what looks like a cross between The LEGO Movie (and LEGO Movie 2) and Ready Player One, with a dash of TRON for good measure.

(Some spoilers for the original film below,)

Space Jam is basically a fictional account of NBA superstar Michael Jordan’s return to basketball in 1995 after retiring in 1993 to play baseball. (It was inspired by a couple of Nike commercials.) In the film, Jordan falls into the Looney Tunes animated world to help the so-called “Tune Squad”—all the most popular animated Looney Tunes characters—win a basketball game against a group of enslaved aliens called the Nerdlucks. In addition to Jordan, NBA players Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, and Muggsy Bogues also make cameos. (The aliens steal the latter five’s talents to transform themselves into formidable opponents.)

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#entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #space-jam-a-new-legacy, #trailers, #warner-bros

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Not an April Fool’s joke: Theatrical trailer for The Suicide Squad drops

Theatrical trailer for The Suicide Squad takes a more ominous tone than its red-band sibling.

If you ventured into a movie theater for the first time in a year to see Godzilla vs. Kong—and Ars’ Sam Machkovech suggested in his review that, if you can safely do so, that might be the most satisfying way to watch it—you likely caught a brand-new trailer for the forthcoming The Suicide Squad, with some new footage and a distinctly different tone from the red-band trailer that dropped last week. “Although it’s April Fool’s, the only joke here is on the supervillains who agreed to work for Amanda Waller,” writer/director James Gunn quipped in his Twitter announcement of the new trailer.

As we reported last week, The Suicide Squad is more of a relaunch than a direct sequel to the 2016 film; Gunn has said he wanted to take the franchise in a new direction and introduce new characters. He drew inspiration from John Ostrander‘s original 1980s Suicide Squad comics. (Ostrander has a small role in the final film.) Gunn has described his R-rated film as a superhero version of the classic 1967 film The Dirty Dozen, selecting characters he described as “loser, B-grade supervillains.” And apparently, the studio is allowing him to kill off certain characters as he sees fit, which should make for suspenseful viewing. (We’re betting Harley Quinn will survive.)

Per the official synopsis:

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#gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #james-gunn, #the-suicide-squad

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The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO Max, Hulu and More in April

Every month, streaming services add movies and TV shows to its library. Here are our picks for some of April’s most promising new titles.

#amazon-com-inc, #apple-tv-plus, #documentary-films-and-programs, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #movies, #television

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Review: In ‘Made for Love,’ She Can’t Get Him Out of Her Head

In this techno-satire, a woman tagged with a chip by her mogul husband tries to break the (block)chains of love.

#hbo-max, #made-for-love-book, #made-for-love-tv-program, #magnussen-billy, #milioti-cristin, #nutting-alissa, #romano-ray, #television

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Harley Quinn has new bad guy allies in The Suicide Squad red band trailer

Idris Elba and Margot Robbie headline an ensemble cast of colorful supervillains recruited for a special military tactical response team in the red band trailer for The Suicide Squad (embedded below). It’s Director James Gunn’s (Guardians of the Galaxy) standalone follow-up to 2016’s Suicide Squad. It’s actually pretty tame as red band trailers go, playing up the jokey camaraderie amid all the explosions, gunfire, and blood spatter. Tonally, Gunn’s film feels like a cross between Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool—in other words, it looks like a lot of fun, and it’s definitely something we’re keen to see when it debuts this summer.

(Some spoilers for prior DCEU films below,)

The original Suicide Squad took place a year after the death of Superman in Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Intelligence Officer Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) receives permission to create Task Force X, a tactical response team to combat “metahuman” threats. The group is composed entirely of criminals and supervillains and is led by Colonel Rick Flag (Joel Kinnaman). The government plants nanite bombs in their necks to keep them reasonably under control, promising to shorten their sentences if their missions are successfully fulfilled. The all-star cast included Will Smith as Deadshot, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, and Jared Leto as The Joker. 

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#dceu, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #james-gunn, #the-suicide-squad, #trailers

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Cristin Milioti Is No One’s Accessory

In HBO Max’s “Made for Love,” the “Palm Springs” actress again dismantles romantic clichés. “I didn’t get into this to be a handbag to a man’s story,” she said.

#actors-and-actresses, #content-type-personal-profile, #hbo-max, #made-for-love-tv-program, #milioti-cristin, #palm-springs-movie, #television, #women-and-girls

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Black Widow’s delays will finally end with combined theatrical, Disney+ launch

After losing its initial May 2020 release date to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Widow has finally settled on a release strategy: a simultaneous launch in theaters and as a “premier access” purchase on the Disney+ subscription service, both coming Friday, May 28.

Should you choose to watch Black Widow at home, this will require a one-time payment of $30 on top of your Disney+ subscription fee, which will unlock the film for repeat viewings ahead of its eventual release for all base subscribers. The same will apply to Cruella, the live-action prequel to the Disney animated classic 101 Dalmatians, which will get its own theater-and-Disney+ simul-launch on Friday, July 9.

The announcement, as distributed in a Disney press release on Tuesday, notes that this follows the “successful release” of CGI-animated feature Raya and the Last Dragon both in theaters and on Disney+ on March 5—apparently confirming that the decision made dollars and sense for everyone at Disney, following a similar release strategy for 2020’s live-action version of Mulan.

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#black-widow, #disney, #disney-plus, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #marvel-studios

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What Makes Snyder’s Cut Different From ‘Justice League’?

Here’s a guide to just how different “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is from the version Joss Whedon finished in 2017.

#batman-fictional-character, #hbo-max, #justice-league-movie, #movies, #snyder-zack, #superman-fictional-character, #whedon-joss, #zack-snyders-justice-league-movie

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HBO Max will get a cheaper, ad-supported tier in June

A shot from the upcoming <em>Dune</em> adaptation, which will hit theaters and HBO Max this year.

Enlarge / A shot from the upcoming Dune adaptation, which will hit theaters and HBO Max this year. (credit: Chiabella James/Warner Bros.)

This June, HBO Max will get a cheaper, ad-supported subscription plan, parent company AT&T told investors today. However, a specific price and launch date have not been announced. Right now, an ad-free subscription to HBO Max costs $14.99 monthly in the United States.

There is one major catch, though: the ad-supported version of the service will not stream the much-hyped Warner Bros theatrical releases. Those films include Wonder Woman 1984, which showed simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters in December of 2020, and Dune, which is expected to premiere this year.

HBO will join Paramount+, Hulu, and some other streaming services in offering (at least) two tiers—one relatively low-cost one that involves pre-roll or mid-roll advertising, and one with a higher monthly fee that involves no ads. Still, some of HBO Max’s competitors, like Disney+ or Netflix, do not do sold advertising at all.

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#att, #hbo, #hbo-max, #streaming, #tech, #tv

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Comfort Viewing: 3 Reasons I Love ‘Courage the Cowardly Dog’

The bizarre animated series creatively blended the beautiful with the grotesque, pop culture with pathos.

#cartoon-network, #cartoons-and-cartoonists, #courage-the-cowardly-dog-tv-program, #hbo-max, #television

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Should Straight Actors Play Gay Roles? A Star TV Writer Says No

Russell T Davies, whose latest hit series is “It’s a Sin” on HBO Max, made waves in England by saying only gay performers should play gay characters. “I’m going to war,” he said.

#davies-russell-t, #hbo-max, #its-a-sin-tv-program, #television

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‘Batman: The Animated Series’ Predicted the Bat-Future

Now streaming on HBO Max, the show redefined the caped crusader years before he became one of the world’s most popular and endlessly recycled characters.

#batman-the-animated-series-tv-program, #conroy-kevin-1955, #hamill-mark, #hbo-max, #television

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Comfort Viewing: 3 Reasons I Love ‘Veneno’

A raunchy and emotional look at the life of Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez, this Spanish series showcases the strength of transgender and queer communities.

#content-type-personal-profile, #hbo-max, #la-veneno-cristina-ortiz-rodriguez-1964-2016, #spain, #television, #transgender-and-transsexuals, #veneno-tv-program, #women-and-girls

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Let them fight! Mortal Kombat red-band trailer gives fans what they want

Warner Bros. has released the red-band trailer for its forthcoming Mortal Kombat reboot, which had long languished in development hell. A Russian-dubbed version of the trailer initially leaked on reddit, according to Eurogamer, before being pulled. It’s basically a nonstop, blood-soaked fighting fest, featuring all the fan favorites from the popular video game franchise.

(Some spoilers for the games and earlier films below.)

Midway Games released the first Mortal Kombat game in 1992, which proved hugely influential for many a teenager who frequented video arcades during that era. There have been 11 main games and multiple spinoffs in the franchise thus far, all set in a fictional universe of eight different realms. The greatest warriors from the various realms must compete in a series of Mortal Kombat tournaments to conquer other realms.

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#entertainment, #film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #mortal-kombat, #warner-bros

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Review: ‘It’s a Sin’ Tells the Stories That Were and Could Have Been

The Russell T. Davies series about young gay men at the onset of AIDS is heartbreaking but also full of life.

#alexander-olly, #davies-russell-t, #douglas-omari, #harris-neil-patrick, #hbo-max, #howells-callum-scott, #its-a-sin-tv-program, #television

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Jared Leto’s Joker is back in new trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Happy Valentine’s Day, DCEU fans: HBO Max dropped a new trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

Disappointed DC Extended Universe fans were clamoring for a “Snyder cut” soon after the release of 2017’s Justice League, and Warner Bros. eventually obliged them, announcing it would release the full director’s cut on HBO Max. For Valentine’s Day, the studio dropped a full two-minute-plus trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League to further reward the fandom’s patience. Count me among the skeptics on the question of whether we really needed a “Snyder cut,” but I must admit, based on the full trailer, Snyder’s version does seem markedly different from the theatrical release. Among other changes, the trailer includes a brief glimpse of Jared Leto’s Joker, who didn’t appear at all in the original.

As we’ve reported previously, the original Justice League was the third film in a trilogy that included Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). It brought together Ben Affleck’s Batman and Henry Cavill’s Superman with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). They are on a mission to save the world from arch-villain Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), a “New God” in search of three “Mother Boxes” that will enable him to terraform the Earth into something more hospitable to him and his army of Parademons.

Snyder completed all the principal photography and was well into post-production, but he stepped down as director in May 2017 following the tragic suicide of his daughter, and the studio turned to Joss Whedon (The Avengers) to complete the film. Whedon rewrote the script, adding some 80 pages, and did extensive reshoots, bringing more humor and a brighter tone into the mix. He also cut more than 90 minutes of Snyder’s original footage to accommodate the studio’s requested 120-minute runtime, although Whedon’s version retained the basic story outline. The result was what some critics called a “Frankenstein” film, struggling to incorporate the very different visions of two directors. Reviews were mixed, and while Justice League wound up grossing $657 million, the purported break-even point was around $750 million.

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#dceu, #entertainment, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #snyder-cut, #zack-snyder, #zack-snyders-justice-league

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‘Chappelle’s Show’ Returns to Netflix After Dave Chappelle Gets Paid

The comedian had asked fans to boycott his sketch show from the mid-2000s because of what he described as a “raw deal” from Comedy Central.

#chappelle-dave, #chappelles-show-tv-program, #comedy-central, #hbo-max, #netflix-inc, #television

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HBO Max signs “adult” cartoon series based on Scooby-Doo’s Velma

This artist's approximation imagines Velma from the <em>Scooby-Doo</em> series getting chummy with the <em>Clone High</em> cast. We doubt that such a crossover will happen, but animation nerds can dream, right?

Enlarge / This artist’s approximation imagines Velma from the Scooby-Doo series getting chummy with the Clone High cast. We doubt that such a crossover will happen, but animation nerds can dream, right? (credit: WarnerMedia / Aurich Lawson)

One of HBO Max’s biggest differentiators in the video-streaming scramble has been its animation family, which includes a glut of established “mature” cartoons from families like Adult Swim and DC Universe. A Wednesday announcement sees WarnerMedia moving aggressively on that front with a whopping seven new series orders on top of existing series in development.

Today, the company’s Hanna-Barbera family announced one of its biggest nudge-nudge, wink-wink series ideas since off-kilter fare like Space Ghost: a series, simply named Velma, about the “origins” of Scooby-Doo mainstay Velma Dinkley.

Suggestive Scooby stuff, from Gunn to Max

WarnerMedia’s press release says the series’ first ordered season will offer “an original and humorous spin that unmasks the complex and colorful past of one of America’s most beloved mystery solvers,” then confirms Mindy Kaling (The Office) as both Velma’s voice and an executive producer of the show. The announcement doesn’t include information on other cast members or writers/directors, simply doubling down on a suggestive description: “an adult animated comedy series.”

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#animation, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #paramount-plus

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On ‘I Hate Suzie,’ Sexual Freedom Is a Fantasy

This HBO Max comedy, along with shows like “I May Destroy You” and “Sex Education,” suggests that female sexuality and desire is always subject to the intrusion of social norms and expectations.

#coel-michaela, #hbo-max, #i-hate-suzie-tv-program, #i-may-destroy-you-tv-program, #netflix-inc, #piper-billie, #sex, #sex-education-tv-program, #television, #women-and-girls, #woods-aimee-lou-1995

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The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO Max, Hulu and More in February

Every month, streaming services add a new batch of titles to their libraries. Here are our picks for February.

#amazon-com-inc, #bliss-movie, #disney-plus, #earwig-and-the-witch-movie, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #judas-and-the-black-messiah-movie, #movies, #nomadland-movie, #television, #tell-me-your-secrets-tv-program, #the-investigation-movie, #the-muppet-show-tv-program, #the-united-states-vs-billie-holiday-movie

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AT&T eats a $15.5 billion impairment charge as DirecTV debacle continues

A man with an umbrella walking past a building with an AT&T logo.

Enlarge / A man walks with an umbrella outside of AT&T corporate headquarters on March 13, 2020, in Dallas, Texas. (credit: Getty Images | Ronald Martinez)

AT&T lost 617,000 customers from DirecTV and its other TV businesses in the final quarter of 2020, capping a year in which it lost nearly 3 million customers in the category, AT&T reported today.

AT&T today also informed the Securities and Exchange Commission that it has taken “noncash impairment charges of $15.5 billion” related to its ongoing DirecTV debacle. AT&T said the $15.5 billion charges reflect “changes in our management strategy and our evaluation of the domestic video business… including our decision to operate our video business separately from our broadband and legacy telephony operations.” This operational decision “required us to identify a separate Video reporting unit and to assess both the recoverability of its long-lived assets and any assigned goodwill for impairment,” AT&T said.

AT&T said it also logged “charges of approximately $780 million from the impairment of production and other content inventory at WarnerMedia, with $520 million resulting from the continued shutdown of theaters during the pandemic and the hybrid distribution model for our 2021 film slate.”

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#att, #biz-it, #directv, #hbo-max

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Godzilla vs. Kong trailer is a rock ‘em, sock ’em monster mashup

Two powerful forces of nature collide in a battle for the ages in Godzilla vs. Kong, premiering simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max on March 26, 2021.

It’s powerful Titan pitted against Titan in the first trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong, the fourth film released as part of Legendary Picture’s “MonsterVerse” franchise, co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros. Directed by Adam Wingard, the film is not meant to be a remake of the 1962 Japanese classic, King Kong vs. Godzilla; rather, per Wingard, it will directly tie into the events of its 2019 predecessor, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and feature a “more rugged” and aging Kong.

(Some spoilers for some prior films in the MonsterVerse franchise below.)

The MonsterVerse franchise started in 2014 with Godzilla, in which a soldier tries to return to his family while caught in the crossfire of the battle between Godzilla and a pair of parasitic monsters known as MUTOs. The studio followed up three years later with Kong: Skull Island, set in 1973, in which a team of scientists and soldiers travel to the titular Skull Island and encounter Kong, the last survivor of his species. And in 2019, the studio released Godzilla: King of the Monsters, a sequel to the 2014 film, in which Godzilla and Mothra team up to defeat a prehistoric alien named King Ghidorah, who has awakened other ancient creatures (Titans) to destroy the world.

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#film, #film-trailers, #gaming-culture, #godzilla-vs-kong, #hbo-max, #legendary-pictures, #warner-bros

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Review: Heartbreaking His Dark Materials S2 finale sets the stage for war

The second season of <em>His Dark Materials</em>, starring Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, concluded just before the new year.

Enlarge / The second season of His Dark Materials, starring Dafne Keen as Lyra Belacqua, concluded just before the new year. (credit: BBC/HBO)

The first season of His Dark Materials, the BBC/HBO adaptation of Philip Pullman’s classic fantasy trilogy, had its share of critics, particularly with regard to its sometimes sluggish pacing. Fortunately, those shortcomings have been successfully addressed in the riveting second season. Freed from the creative burden of establishing an elaborate fictional world for viewers unfamiliar with the books, S2 was a briskly paced, yet still emotionally resonant experience, despite being one episode short because of pandemic-related production difficulties. Ruth Wilson’s fiercely feral portrayal of the complicated Mrs. Coulter remains a highlight, and the heartbreaking season finale perfectly set the stage for the final showdown of S3, which has already been green-lit by the studios.

(S1 spoilers below; also some S2 spoilers below the gallery, especially for audiences who haven’t read the books.)

As we’ve written previously, the three books in Pullman’s series are The Golden Compass (published as Northern Lights in the UK), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. They follow the adventures of a 12-year-old girl named Lyra, who lives in a fictional version of Oxford, England, circa the Victorian era. Everyone has a companion daemon in the form of an animal—part of their spirit that resides outside the body—and Lyra’s is named Pantalaimon. Lyra uncovers a sinister plot that sends her on a journey to find her father in hopes of foiling said plot. That journey takes her to different dimensions (the fictional world is a multiverse) and ultimately to her own coming of age.

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#bbc, #entertainment, #gaming-culture, #hbo-max, #his-dark-materials, #philip-pullman, #television, #tv-review

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HBO Max Orders a ‘Sex and the City’ Revival

Three of the original cast members will reprise their roles in the 10-episode series.

#hbo-max, #television

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Original Content podcast: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ might be a beautiful mess, or maybe just a mess

“Wonder Woman 1984” was released on HBO Max on Christmas Day, where it quickly divided the hosts of the Original Content podcast.

Perhaps it was predictable that Anthony — a fan of clunky-but-ambitious superhero sequels like “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron” — enjoyed the film. Darrell, meanwhile, took the side of most critics, who found the movie exasperating and even, at times, mystifyingly bad.

The biggest surprise was Jordan, who disliked the first “Wonder Woman” and actually preferred the sequel, thanks in large part to Kristen Wiig’s portrayal of the villainous Cheetah.

Everyone agreed that there were plenty of problems, including some slipshod and confusing plotting, as well as a portrayal of Wonder Woman that’s defined entirely by her longing for Steve Trevor, the Chris Pine character who died at the end of the first film but returns here under mysterious circumstances.

But where Anthony found the overall arc of the film — rewriting the melancholy love story of “Superman II” as a parable about capitalism and climate change — and its big emotional moments to be surprisingly affecting, Darrell thought the entire final act was ludicrous, with some of the worst CGI ever seen in a big-budget film.

In addition to debating the merits of “Wonder Woman 1984,” we also discuss our top streaming picks from the past year.

You can listen to our review in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also follow us on Twitter or send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

If you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Introduction
0:35 Best of the year discussion
16:23 “Wonder Woman 1984” review
30:05 “Wonder Woman 1984” spoiler discussion

#entertainment, #hbo, #hbo-max, #media, #original-content-podcast, #podcasts, #tc, #wonder-woman-1984

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The Best Movies and TV Shows Coming to Amazon, HBO Max, Hulu and More in January

Every month, subscription streaming services add a new batch of titles to their libraries. Here are our picks for January.

#apple-tv-plus, #disney-plus, #hbo-max, #hulu-com, #movies, #television

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Winter TV Preview: 21 Shows to Watch

Newcomers and old favorites include a Marvel series, the long-awaited return of “Gomorrah” and Judi Dench among the orangutans.

#30-coins-tv-program, #all-creatures-great-and-small-tv-program, #amazon-com-inc, #call-my-agent-tv-program, #cbs-corporation, #coyote-tv-program, #crack-cocaine-corruptionconspiracy-tv-program, #dickinson-tv-program, #discovery-channel, #disney-plus, #flack-tv-program, #gomorrah-tv-program, #hbo-max, #in-the-long-run-tv-program, #judi-denchs-wild-borneo-adventure-tv-program, #losing-alice-tv-program, #lupin-tv-program, #netflix-inc, #pop-tv-network, #pretend-its-a-city-tv-program, #servant-tv-program, #spiral-tv-program, #starz, #television, #viacomcbs-inc, #wandavision-tv-program

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