Warner Bros. Pictures Group and HBO Max are launching a new division that will specialize in making movies for the company’s new streaming service, Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of Warner Bros., and Warner Media Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer Chairman Robert Greenblatt said Wednesday.
The new label, Warner Max, will release eight-to-10 mid-budget movies per year for HBO Max, which launches this May. Warner Max will be overseen by HBO Max Chief Content Officer Kevin Reilly and chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group Toby Emmerich, who will work closely with Carolyn Blackwood, chief operating officer, Warner Bros. Pictures Group, and Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max.
“From the get-go, we have been strategizing with Toby and Carolyn about HBO Max original films,” Reilly said in a statement. “We are going to deliver a collaborative and lean process for talent, make a range of quality films, and provide a platform for each of them to have cultural impact. Now, HBO Max will be home to a robust collection of the legendary Warner Bros. film library and a new slate of original Warner Max films.”
Jessie Henderson, executive vice president of original feature films for HBO Max, will expand her role to serve as the day-to-day head of the label and liaison between HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures Group and jointly report to Aubrey and Blackwood.
“Working with Kevin, Sarah, Jessie and their teams, we’re committed to creating dynamic and compelling films that draw on the depth and scope of the creative resources across WarnerMedia,” Emmerich said in a statement. “We’re excited to help make HBO Max a destination for both film-lovers and the creative community, while delivering a win across the entire WarnerMedia organization.”
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“Warner Bros. Pictures Group has long been the gold standard for filmmaker driven storytelling. We are proud to be in in the features business with them and continue that legacy on our SVOD platform,” Aubrey said.“Warner Max gives us a special opportunity to continue cultivating this style of rich and diverse storytelling and it couldn’t be in better hands than with our head of features, Jessie Henderson, who’s built her career in this space.”
Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema will continue to create mid-budget fare for traditional theatrical distribution. The first Warner Max titles will premiere on the service in 2020.