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"It's not HBO, it's just TV."

HBO Max is a streaming service run by Warner Bros. Discovery. Named after the premium HBO channel, content on the service encompasses numerous studios and media libraries under the Warner Bros. Discovery brand. The service launched in the United States on May 27th, 2020.

Announced in the wake of previous owner AT&T's buyout of Time Warner, HBO Max is their official answer to Netflix, Prime Video, Paramount+, Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV+ and Peacock. Some previously existing streaming services owned by the Warner conglomerate, such as FilmStruck and Drama Fever, were shut down, with their content absorbed into HBO Max. Others, such as Crunchyroll and DC Universe, initially continued to operate independently, though some of their more popular programming was made available on the servicenote . Additionally, some series that are owned by the Warner conglomerate but had been on other streaming services prior to HBO Max's launch, most notably Friends, were migrated over.


In addition to carrying a vast array of content from the Warner Bros. Discovery library, the service also features licensed content from Disney, Universal Pictures, J. J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions, John Wells Productions, Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine, Sony Pictures Animation, MGM, and Sesame Workshop. Additionally, HBO Max holds the streaming rights to South Park, several BBC original series (including the current version of Doctor Who), and a majority of Studio Ghibli's anime film catalog.

For select pay-TV providers, subscribers to the linear HBO channel automatically gain access to Max content at no additional cost. Third-party providers who provide Max alongside their HBO add-ons for new and existing subscribers include Apple TV, Google Play, Sony, and Microsoft video game consoles, Hulu, Amazon, and YouTube TV. Some services who hadn't signed on to provide HBO Max, namely Roku and Amazon Fire, continued to carry HBO only, until agreements were eventually reached with them to provide Max content in December 2020. While the service was initially priced identically to previous HBO streaming feeds, a lower-priced, ad-supported tier launched in June 2021 (though HBO Originals remain ad-free on all tiers).


Initially, original films on HBO Max were released under the unique "Warner Max" label, as a way to distinguish streaming content from theatrical Warner Bros. releases. However, this only lasted through 2020; beginning with Locked Down, Max Original films now carry the Warner Bros. logo.

When it first launched, there were already two other streaming services bearing the HBO brand: "HBO Go" (a "TV Anywhere" app for linear HBO subscribers) and "HBO Now" (a standalone streaming service containing only HBO content). HBO Go was discontinued in the United States on July 31, 2020, though it is still temporarily available through some select providers that don't yet have their linear HBO subscriptions grant Max access. Meanwhile, HBO Now was rebranded as just "HBO" on the same date, before being discontinued after HBO Max was added to Roku.

The Latin American version of the service launched on June 29, 2021, with the rollout for European versions of HBO Max beginning on October 26 and continuing into 2022. In Asia, HBO Max original programming is being made available on the linear channel and HBO Go instead note , although in June 2021, it was announced that they will be phasing out HBO Go in favor of HBO Max in the region. Whether this is just a rebrand or a full revamp of the service remains to be seen.

The service was released in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, which forced companies to push back their movies so people could watch them in theatres. While Warner Bros. initially did the same, they soon decided to take an unprecedented move with HBO Max—and it was announced on December 3, 2020 that all Warner Bros. Pictures theatrical releases through the end of 2021, starting with Wonder Woman 1984, will stream on HBO Max for a one-month period on the same day they arrive in theaters.note  In March 2021, Warner Bros. reached a deal with the Cineworld theater chain (which includes Regal Cinemas) establishing a 45-day theatrical exclusivity window beginning in 2022, ensuring that the hybrid strategy will not extend beyond 2021. The service will also debut six original films known as "Warner Bros. Streaming Exclusives" that will debut during 2021 and 2022.

Discovery+ is expected to be fused with HBO Max following the merger that led to the creation of Warner Bros. Discovery. Magnolia Network (previously DIY Network), a channel that was owned by Discovery and Chip & Joanna Gaines was also folded into HBO itself but its unknown if the network's entire catalog will be available there.note  As a result, HBO Max removed hours of content from its servers worldwide, this included films, series and local originals that were available in markets where HBO Max is available.

    open/close all folders 

Content providers include:

    Warner Bros. Discovery 

    Third-Party Companies 
"+" denotes a company that also licenses content for the service through Criterion.

Max Originals with pages on TV Tropes include:

Bold indicates either ongoing or upcoming programs.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 


    Western Animation 

Exclusive international distribution:

The following list is for programs HBO Max has acquired distribution rights to stream outside their home countries.
    Asian Animation 

    Live-Action TV 

Warner Bros. Same-Day Premieres included:

    Films — Live-Action 

Tropes associated with HBO Max:

  • Banned Episode:
    • As with all current releases and airings of the series, Dexter's Laboratory is missing the "Barbequor" segment, once again replacing it with "Dexter's Lab: A Story".
    • Likewise, The Powerpuff Girls is missing its banned episode, "See Me, Feel Me, Gnomey", although it once streamed on Netflix and was released on DVD.
    • Double subverted with The Boondocks. Two previously banned episodes (the final episodes of season 2 that were banned for mercilessly parodying BET) are finally available to stream in the United States. The season 3 episode Pause (the one that Tyler Perry found offensive) also returns after being missing from the series' page on Hulu. "The Story of Jimmy Rebel", however, is still gone, due to the episode's harsh race humor, even for this show's standards (though, with heightened concerns over racism today, this episode might catch heat from it, regardless).
    • The Tom and Jerry section carefully omits any shorts that feature any sort of racially insensitive humor (including scenes featuring the black housemaid, Mammy Two-Shoes), as well as shorts that might be considered too disturbing for other reasons. (i.e. The Two Mouseketeers.) The only way you can still find them is the Boomerang app.
    • The Popeye section also omits racially insensitive material as well as his more blatant WWII propaganda cartoons (if one is looking for those Popeye shorts in particular, they are available on DVD and Blu-Ray up to 1949).
    • Don't bother trying to look for any short that is a part of the Censored Eleven as those are completely omitted from the Looney Tunes section. Same with some of the more blatant WWII propaganda shorts (like Tokio Jokio and Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips). On a similar note, shorts featuring Bosko, Pepé Le Pewnote , and Speedy Gonzales are conspicuously missingnote , though there are large gaps where the Speedy cartoons should be, implying they would be added soon. Cartoons with Suicide as Comedy also are not shown. The most way you can watch most of the shorts (for now) is through the Boomerang app.
    • On a similar note, don't even bother trying to find the lost/banned Sesame Street Wicked Witch episode (which already got complaints for being too scary), because it's not there. While a lot of the older episodes are missing, the Wicked Witch one is the most obvious.
    • Starting from June 25, 2020, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Shake Like Me" was banned because it centered on Master Shake becoming stereotypically black.
    • Three South Park episodes, "Super Best Friends", "200", and "201", have been unavailable on digital and streaming services since the latter two premiered in 2010 and caused outrage over their visual depiction of Muhammad, and remain unavailable on HBO Max. The "Cartoon Wars" two-parter which also featured Muhammad's image as a plot point is also missing, though it remains available for digital purchase and on DVD and Blu-Ray.
    • Chappelle's Show is missing the season two episode "The Internet & Moment in the Life of Lil' Jon", which Comedy Central banned from circulation due to featuring a brief appearance by porn star Ron Jeremy, who was charged with multiple counts of rape in June 2020. The entire series was taken off the service at the end of 2020 after Dave Chappelle himself objected to the show being on the platform and him not getting a cut of the royalties (as mentioned when he hosted Saturday Night Live on November 2020 during his monologue), though it did come back in February 2021, meaning either the royalty issue has been resolved or the show is only back because the platform is featuring popular and iconic African-American movies and TV shows as part of Black History Month.
  • Channel Hop: Several programs from other WarnerMedia outlets became "Max Originals" (though some of these shows would still have airings on their former homes).
    • Cartoon Network's Summer Camp Island and Infinity Train from their second and third seasons onward, respectively.
    • Close Enough, which was originally produced for TBS.
    • Esme & Roy from Season 2 onward, with delayed airing on the network.
    • The production and streaming of DC Universe originals was moved here as the DC Comics-centric streaming service was rebranded as a digital comics-only platform.note 
    • Some films, such as An American Pickle, had their distribution rights bought from studios that don't have streaming services (Sony Pictures in this case; they do own the majority of the ad-supported streamer Crackle, but that service remains obscure and doesn't have many originals to its name) and became Max Originals. It also happened because of the COVID-19 Pandemic shutting down theaters, rendering smaller budget movies such as this one more interesting for streaming. The new adaptation of The Witches was an internal transfer from Warner Bros..
    • In an unprecedented move, Warner Bros. announced in December 2020 that Wonder Woman 1984 and all of their 2021 theatrical releases will be available for one month on HBO Max simultaneously with their theatrical release. This is without a doubt one of the most game-changing events in the film industry, for better or worse; the move has prompted acclaim from audiences (who will of course be benefitted in having an easier way to watch movies) and investors (who can rack up more profits) while inviting derision from industry figures like Legendary Pictures, Christopher Nolan, Denis Villeneuve and James Gunn, as Warner Bros. did not discuss the matter wholeheartedly with them (some only learned about the move less than an hour before it was announced).
    • Beforeigners was originally streamed on HBO Nordic, a WarnerMedia streaming service available only in Scandinavia. It moved to HBO Max after the service rolled out in the region in October 2021, replacing HBO Nordic.
    • Pennyworth will move from ePix to HBO Max starting with its third season.
  • Clumsy Copyright Censorship:
    • Some classic Sesame Street episodes have skits cut for music rights reasons, with a segment involving a Muppet singing "Octopus's Garden" serving as one example. Averted in other cases, such as Gordon and a family of Muppets singing "Consider Yourself" in the first episode, which was cut from its DVD release but is retained on HBO Max.
    • Music licensing issues also resulted in the Real Song Theme Tunes of The Wayans Bros. (which used the opening stanza of A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation" for its first two seasons) and What I Like About You (which used Canadian pop punk/rock band Lillix's cover of The Romantics song that the sitcom was named after), upon their respective additions to the service in January 2021, being replaced with generic songs originally used as substitute themes for their respective DVD releases.
  • Content Leak: 10 days ahead of the release of Zack Snyder's Justice League, a number of HBO Max subscribers were surprised to find that the video file for Tom and Jerry had been replaced with that of the upcoming film. The error was swiftly corrected, though it resulted in Tom and Jerry briefly having the words "(Do Not Use)" appended to its title.
  • Creator Backlash: The announcement amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic that the entire 2021 Warner Bros. theatrical film slate would debut on the service for one month concurrently with the theatrical runs sparked outrage from the creative teams of many of said films and beyond against the service, particularly given they were not consulted on the decision to the same degree as the Wonder Woman 1984 crew was in 2020. Agencies representing the films' actors demanded fair compensation, while the Directors Guild of America gave an official rebuke to Warner Bros. and HBO Max. Dune director Denis Villeneuve slammed the decision, decrying it as a cheap move to boost a failing service and accusing AT&T's Warner Bros. of "no longer [being] on the same team" as its filmmakers; James Gunn (The Suicide Squad) and Jon M. Chu (In the Heights) are also reportedly shocked and displeased. Lana Wachowski was also adamant about releasing The Matrix Resurrections theatrically, and, following the simultaneous release, producer Village Roadshow outright sued Warner Bros. Clint Eastwood (Cry Macho) said "Not my favorite thing in the world. How's that going to work out at all? I still don't know.". Downplayed with John Lee Hancock (The Little Things), who admitted to being blindsided by the decision but ultimately accepted the rationale behind it.
  • Digital Destruction:
    • As with HBO Now, HBO Max presents all standard definition material not given proper high definition restorations in upscaled HD. Unfortunately, this means shows shot on videotape, like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Mad TV, have a halved frame rate due to de-interlacing.
    • Reno 911! from Comedy Central is even worse, suffering from de-interlacing and an upscale to 16:9 widescreen from its original fullscreen ratio, resulting in an unbalanced, blurry presentation that's only barely watachable (though, considering the show is a parody of COPS, the blurry, unbalanced presentation adds more to it).
    • Like most digital releases, HBO Max generally does not feature Aspect Ratio Switch and, as such, movies like The Dark Knight, Tenet and Dune do not feature their expanded IMAX footage. Though an exception was made for Wonder Woman 1984, whose IMAX prologue carried over to the service intact.
  • Distanced from Current Events: Gone with the Wind was temporarily removed from the service's library in June 2020 amidst the socio-political climate that followed the death of George Floyd. It topped DVD sales on Amazon that very day as a result. It would eventually return to the service with a Content Warning that discusses its historical context and warns about the outdated depictions of slavery.
  • Early-Bird Release:
    • Occasionally releases some HBO content a few days before its premiere on that network, including select episodes of Lovecraft Country and Euphoria.
    • Former Same-Day Premiere titles like Wonder Woman 1984 and The Little Things, upon their return to the service, arrive several days or even weeks prior to their network HBO debut. In late 2021, this became the norm for first-window movies from non-Warner studios as well.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The service's first joint theatrical/streaming release, Wonder Woman 1984, was launched online at 12pm Eastern Time with a countdown visible on the service. Future same-day releases would simply drop at midnight Pacific Time like most of the service's non-HBO content.note  This may have been due to Wonder Woman 1984's streaming availability being the product of individual consultation between Warner Bros. and the film's producers, whereas the 2021 releases were (controversially) announced without discussion with the filmmakers or even production companies.
  • Enemy Mine: With Disney+ and Hulu in 2021, when the service came to an agreement with Disney to extend their US first pay-TV window rights to 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures films to the end of 2022 (rather than expiring mid-year). The deal also allowed HBO Max to accelerate the release of these films on their platforms, rather than waiting around 9 months from release; in exchange, however, HBO Max will share streaming rights to half of the Disney-owned slate with Disney+ and Hulu. The first film released under this arrangement was Ron's Gone Wrong, which premiered on both HBO Max and Disney+ the same date as its general home video release. A few months later, Nightmare Alley would premiere on HBO Max and Hulu before arriving on standard home video platforms.
  • Follow the Leader:
    • The service itself, one of many "Netflix clones" announced in response to the success of Disney+.
    • The announcement of DC Comics programming with massive cinematic budgets, such as Green Lantern, Strange Adventures and Justice League Dark, has been seen as a response to Disney+'s own announcement of expensive shows based on Marvel Comics properties (such as The Falcon and the Winter Soldier); previous comic book-based series have been far less budgeted, since they were created for television. That some of these shows could be set in the DC Extended Universe would also follow upon the fact that the aforementioned Disney+ shows are set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. HBO Max has also aimed to one-up Disney+ by greenlighting some DCEU films specifically for HBO Max, such as Batgirl and Blue Beetle (though the latter would later become a theatrical exclusive instead).
    • The Same-Day Premieres program began a few months after Disney+'s similar Premier Access program for new-release films, one-upping that service by making all the movies available for free with a subscription, rather than charging $29.99 per film. As a result of the Creator Backlash above, they would reverse course in 2022; however, similar to Disney+ releasing new films on their platform just 1-3 months after theatrical release, Warner is set to begin launching their films just 46 days after opening theatrically beginning with The Batman.
  • Killer App:
  • Late Export for You:
    • A major hiccup at launch was the decision to hold out on an international launch for a year after the US launch, which left the service vulnerable to mass piracy in areas not carrying HBO Max. For these territories, HBO Max instead opted to license Max Originals content to third-party broadcasters instead of a standalone app rollout, leaving them at a major competitive disadvantage compared to close rival Disney+ (which nonetheless faced the same problem with its limited launch).
    • Warner Bros. releases such as Wonder Woman 1984 weren't as lucky as the aforementioned Max Originals, as their release ended up being delayed in many countries where theaters could not open due to COVID-19 Pandemic lockdowns, such as in France. Local variants of Denial of Digital Distribution caused the movie to be heavily pirated.
    • Most European countries won't get the service until 2022, only six of them had it in late 2021. France will not get it at least until 2023.
  • Market-Based Title: HBO Go in Asia is pretty much HBO Max in every way but namenote . While they operated like how HBO Go would in the west at launch, a year later they restructured and opened up to everyone with an internet access and a credit card. WarnerMedia has announced that they will be rebranding the service to match the rest of the world in the near future.
  • Missing Episode:
    • The FOX version of MADtv (seasons 1 to 14) has a lot of episodes missingnote  due to copyright and licensing issues involving the celebrity guest stars and musical guests note . The entirety of The CW revival and the 20th anniversary special are also MIA from the service.
    • Similar celebrity rights issues have kept dozens of episodes of the American version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? out of the platform. These same episodes are also blacked out from CW Seed.
    • Some episodes of Cartoon Network shows that were aired originally as stand-alone specials are not part of their shows' episode count, and therefore are absent from the service. Among the more notable examples include Codename: Kids Next Door (the epilogue episode "Operation I.N.T.E.R.V.I.E.W.S." and the crossover with The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy) and Ed, Edd n Eddy (the holiday specials and Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show). Made For TV Movies are similarly affected, as Billy and Mandy's Big Boogie Adventure is also nowhere to be seen.
    • The Static Shock episodes "Toys In the Hood", and "Now You See Him..." are both missing from the episode catalog for some reason.
    • The Quibi/Roku Channel seasons of Reno 911! are unavailable on the service.
    • The Yogi Bear cartoons "Papa Yogi" and "Bare Face Bear" aren't on the service. In the case of the latter, which was from Yogi's run on the The Huckleberry Hound Show, it was replaced by "Bearface Disguise", an episode from Yogi's spinoff show with a similar plot.
  • Name's the Same: The latter half of the name "HBO Max" brings to mind HBO's sibling channel, Cinemax, with the "Max" moniker having been used as Cinemax’s abbreviated nickname since 1985. It even became the network's de facto name from 2008 to 2011, and the abbreviation remains in use for the network's TV Everywhere service, Max Go.note  However, for reasons WarnerMedia hasn't elaborated upon, Cinemax’s original programming and film libraries were not available on HBO Max at launch, and those who want to stream Cinemax without tying themselves to a traditional pay-TV subscription must subscribe to the network's OTT platforms via Apple TV, Hulu, Roku or Prime Video instead. While a limited number of past Cinemax series have since been added to HBO Max, a dedicated portal for the network still doesn't exist, an issue made apparent when selected movie titles transfer between HBO Max (and the legacy licensed OTT channels that HBO retains for grandfathered Apple, Roku and Prime Video subscribers) and Cinemax's streaming platforms.
  • Network to the Rescue: After several years of fan campaigns aimed at Warner Bros. and DC Films, it was revealed in May 2020 that Zack Snyder's Justice League (a director's cut of Justice League) would be funded and released the following year on HBO Max.
  • No Export for You: Zigzagged, as HBO Max will eventually launch in international markets where HBO already operates as a self-owned channel or a VOD service (Latin America, parts of Europe), but not in markets where HBO already has a licensing partner. Instead, its original slate will be available through those partners, like Bell Media in Canada (primarily for its streaming service, Crave) or Sky in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. Occasionally, WarnerMedia would license Max Originals to other networks and rivals services, such as Close Enough being licensed to Netflix internationally. WarnerMedia channels internationally would also air Max Originals on countries when HBO Max is not available since several of their partners have full ownership of the shows created or moved to the service.
  • Obvious Beta: Many people complained about the app's performance on various streaming platforms, most notably Roku and Apple TV (in June 2021, they updated their Apple TV app with a new custom video player that made it nearly impossible to rewind, fast forward or pause, which prompted HBO to apologize and roll back their app to an earlier version). This led WarnerMedia to announce they were completely rewriting the apps for all platforms; the app's backbone dated to the earlier HBO Go and HBO Now app platforms and this, along with the AT&T higher-up's insistence on rush-launching the service, is widely suspected as being a reason for the poor performance (many of the features promised in early looks at the service took far longer to arrive or haven't at all, though the pandemic could just as likely be a reason for this). Averted as of September 2021, when the new rewritten apps began rolling out, and people are already responding far more positively to the improved performance.
  • Out of Order: The Yogi Bear cartoons got scrambled a ton in terms of their order. The first 2 'seasons' consist of Yogi's cartoons from Huckleberry Hound, while Season 3 has Yogi's cartoons from his own show. However, one TYBS cartoon, "Bearface Disguise", was put into Season 2 among the HHS cartoons.
  • Regional Bonus: HBO Go Asia- aside from offering content that is on HBO Max and being available to anyone in the region with a credit card and internet access, it also offers unrestricted access to the linear channel feeds even if they don't subscribe to a cable company that carries any of their channels, effectively turning them into an independent Pay TV provider. All this for a very competitive monthly fee to boot.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers:
    • While negotiating carriage deals for HBO Max, it was stipulated that certain app platforms (read: those that it would be competing against in the streaming market like Apple, Amazon and Roku) stop selling HBO's OTT channels in exchange for receiving Max, even though HBO Max's broader programming library would afford less content redundancy with the licensed OTT channels than with HBO Now/Go, as the company wanted greater control of advertising data and revenue for an ad-tier plan slated to launch in 2021.note  Naturally, given that HBO was likely a chief revenue driver for their hubbed streaming "channels" platforms (which consist mainly of premium cable channels and lesser-known niche streaming services), most were reluctant to play ball and tried to both keep the channels and add the HBO Max app, a la the arrangement that existed with the predecessor HBO Now/Go services. Plus, the company's terms were at the expense of the linear HBO channel itself—specifically as the OTT hub channels gave the network's live feeds (which were included with the VOD content on the licensed OTT channels) needed exposure to cord-cutters and cord-nevers, as HBO Max (like its predecessors) doesn't offer live HBO feeds to date. The outcomes that resulted differed but ended in them ultimately giving into terms:
      • Apple agreed without issue to stop selling new HBO subscriptions within its Apple TV app once HBO Max launched in May 2020. (In-app subscriptions of sister channel Cinemax and rival premium channels Showtime, Starz and ePix remain continue to be sold through the Apple TV app.) However, the terms of Apple's carriage deal for HBO Max, as those that followed with other major streaming app merchants mentioned below, allow HBO's legacy Apple TV channel to remain available to grandfathered subscribers who signed up prior to HBO Max's formal launch.
      • The service was infamously not available on Amazon Fire and Roku devices for the 5-6 months respectively following its launch in May of 2020 due to disagreements WarnerMedia had with both companies: the former because of Amazon wanting to keep HBO as part of its Amazon Video Channels in-app subscriptions, in addition to offering the standalone HBO Max app (a la the arrangement HBO had with Apple and still has with Amazon and Roku involving the former HBO Now and HBO's hubbed streaming "channels") and the latter because of disagreements if how the company would control advertising data and revenue for the service's ad-tier plan coming in 2021. Amazon eventually capitulated and agreed to stop selling new subscriptions of the HBO channel to Prime Video customers (once HBO's OTT deal with Amazon expired sometime in 2021) in exchange for rolling out the app for Fire devices in November 2020, with existing subscribers to the channel being able to log into Max with their Amazon credentials (an arrangement that HBO made with Apple and Hulu when the service was prepping launch, though Hulu was allowed to continue offering the live feeds of the HBO networks within their platform, as it is structured as a hybrid VOD/pay-TV platform that optionally sells tiers of cable channels owned by WBD, Hulu co-parents Disney and NBCUniversal, and other companies). Similar disagreements with Roku were resolved a month later.
    • Due to contractual reasons, films and shows licensed to sister services, such as DC Universe and Cinemax, are currently unavailable. This also applies to films and series that are licensed to rival streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, such as most of The CW's pre-2019 programming that are produced by Warner Bros..
      • Thankfully, certain films that were available only on Cinemax eventually came to the service, while DC Universe's relaunch as digital comics-only platform necessitated a Channel Hop of its own original programming.
    • The original runs of Veronica Mars and Animaniacs are also excluded due to Hulu owning the rights to the shows' revivals.
    • Only the revival run of Doctor Who is available because the BBC and ITV-owned BritBox owns the streaming rights to the classic series.
    • Naturally, this also applies to shows produced for other entities. For example, Warner Bros. produced Shameless (US) for Showtime and Nip/Tuck for FX Networks. note 
    • Shows that suffered from copyright issues over music and/or ownership disputes are very unlikely to come to the service. Don't expect to see The Drew Carey Show, Murphy Brown, or certain episodes of Mad TV any time soon.
    • Not even Warner-owned films are safe, as films and series owned by the company are being pulled from the service months after launch, like the Harry Potter franchise and certain Warner Bros. films due to prior agreements with other services, with NBCUniversal still owning streaming and broadcasting rights to the Harry Potter films until 2025. (Warner has rights to stream the films for a limited time starting in 2021) This also includes shows from WB that are still on Boomerang
    • The network's very first original series for kids and families, Fraggle Rock, is absent due to being owned by the Jim Henson Company, and as one of their assets that wasn't acquired by Disney, they're keen to hang on to it. Instead, new shorts were produced for Apple TV+, which eventually acquired the streaming rights for the original series as well. Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas , which made its American debut on HBO, is missing for the same reasons; it currently streams on Prime Video.
    • The service doesn't have DC Comics content not owned by Warner Bros such as the 1966-68 Batman series (owned by Disney) and Road to Perdition (co-owned by Paramount Global and Disney).
    • Grave of the Fireflies is the only Studio Ghibli film not on the service since it is owned by Shinchosha (and the film's distributor, Toho) as Ghibli doesn't have the rights to use it in their native Japan. Even though GKIDS (their current US rights owners) later got the American/Canadian theatrical rights to the film but later expired and was given to Sentai Filmworks.
  • Screwed by the Network: Little Ellen, an animated series about the youth of Ellen DeGeneres, was highlighted during HBO Max’s 2019 announcement as one of its signature animated programs. After a series of scandals involving The Ellen DeGeneres Show broke in 2020, tarnishing DeGeneres’s reputation, there was almost no information on the status of Little Ellen for over a year. It was eventually redirected to the Cartoonito brand and launched quietly in September 2021, with most of the promotion for the show occurring within a week of its release.
  • Self-Deprecation: Shortly after launch, the service put out a series of ads acknowledging the confusion between HBO Go, HBO NOW, and HBO Max, presenting characters on Max-hosted shows struggling to explain the difference.
  • Snub by Omission: Despite having an ample amount of originals to its name, content from Cinemax was initially not included. This is slowly being averted as HBO Max is starting to add Cinemax shows like Banshee and The Knick.
  • Spin-Off: Dune, The Batman and The Suicide Squad are all set to receive spinoffs in streaming series form on HBO Max. The Suicide Squad is the first to receive one, that being Peacemaker.
  • Superior Successor:
    • The service is this to HBO Now, incorporating programming outside HBO proper.
    • To Discovery+ as well following the WarnerMedia-Discovery Inc merger.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • WarnerMedia had considered branding the service under the Warner Bros. name, but internal brand testing results found that while the iconic shield logo is well-known, the actual name had little-to-no consumer draw or value, or to quote then-CCO Kevin Reilly, "You don’t go to ‘Warners Land’ for vacation."note  As HBO has retained a constant image as a prestige and quality brand thanks to its television dramas, this would make it easier to market to the general public. Whether or not Warner Bros Discovery will consider a rebranding is up in the air.
    • The Grease prequel series Rise of the Pink Ladies was originally intended for HBO Max before being redirected to Paramount+. A Bad Robot-produced Shining series, titled Overlook, was initially announced for HBO Max before being dropped.
    • The DC Extended Universe film Blue Beetle was initially announced as a Max Original, but was later moved to an exclusive theatrical debut instead.