HBO is known for its exceptional original TV programming. When its streaming platform HBO Max launches in May 2020, though, there will be a healthy helping of in-house movies on the horizon.
HBO Max will be releasing 38 brand-new titles in 2020 alone. Many of those are original TV series, yet there are at least nine films that should be up and ready this next year.
Let’s take a quick look at the 2020 HBO Max movie slate.
15 Minutes of Shame
News of this documentary project came about last month, when executive producer Monica Lewinsky announced joining with HBO Max for it.
Lewinsky was of course at the center of a scandal with President Bill Clinton, and her film explores the issue of public shaming in today’s culture. She’s been an anti-bullying activist since coming into the public eye, and has used her platform for a lot of positive change.
This documentary teams Lewinsky with Catflish co-host Max Joseph. It’ll feature all kinds of people from psychologists to Lewinsky herself and gain insight into how this issue resonates culturally.
With a starring role on The CW’s Jane the Virgin that earned her a Golden Globe, Gina Rodriguez is making the leap to WarnerMedia’s next big entertainment venture.
Rodriguez stars in a film Variety provided a brief synopsis for in its initial report back in January:
“The story follows Sue, who after being raised among five rowdy brothers in blue-collar South Boston, is a scrappy, headstrong young lawyer who lands a career-making case with an upper crust law firm, only to realize she’s been hired for optics and not her expertise.”Variety
That sounds like a fun story, with prominent, relevant workplace themes to reflect current times. Rodriguez is definitely a rising star, and this could be a big launchpad as she continues to expand her career on the big screen.
The late, great chef Anthony Bourdain is the subject of this original documentary. Bourdain traveled all over the world for his acclaimed show Parts Unknown.
Sadly, Bourdain took his own life in June 2018. CNN Films and Focus Features are partnering with HBO Max on the film, which will be directed by Oscar winner Morgan Neville.
Having Neville in the director’s chair is of particular note. He earned rave reviews for last year’s documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? about Fred Rogers. Neville won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature with 20 Feet from Stardom.
Well, this documentary basically follows comedian and actor Amy Schumer as she deals with her pregnancy while on a comedy tour. There isn’t much else to it beyond that, but it should be interesting.
Schumer definitely puts on a wild sort of front/persona as a comic. She does have acting chops, yet this is going to be a totally different form of content from her.
In a statement posted in Deadline’s original report, Schumer said she hopes to raise awareness about the “challenges of pregnancy and child birth.”
Let Them All Talk
Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh seems content to go outside the big studio system these days. After his wildly successful run with the star-studded Ocean’s franchise, he’s largely returned to his independent roots.
Now Soderbergh is coming to the streamers. His prior two projects were through Netflix, and this marks the second straight movie he’ll have Meryl Streep in the cast.
Let Them All Talk is essentially about a celebrated author, played by Streep, who goes on a trip with friends. Her nephew tags along, and is played by Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges, per Deadline. Should be worth checking out!
No, it’s not a remake of the Ingmar Bergman classic or anything like that. This Persona is actually a documentary, per The Hollywood Reporter, that deals with “America’s obsession with personality testing.”
Well, the title fits here. What type of “persona” does a person assume in the workplace? What about when filling out a job application personality test? Or when trying to figure out a suitable dating partner?
Personality tests can be a lot of fun, yet can have a dark side, too. There’s enough in the world today to play mind games on everyone. It seems like those assessments add to it sometimes!
This one’s probably going to release very late in 2020, but should be out nonetheless. Per Variety, The Scoop is going to follow CNN’s female political reporters as they cover the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
Wow, is this ever going to be inflammatory. It’s already a really polarizing political climate in America.
Trump has antagonized the media as it is, calling them an “enemy of the people” and of course “fake news.” The Scoop is going to be quite something.
Melissa McCarthy is really funny. That is, with the right material. McCarthy has made some less-than-stellar movies, yet whenever she gets top billing, it’s noteworthy.
The vast majority of HBO Max’s 2020 movies are documentaries. Not this one, which was initially meant for theatrical release before pivoting. McCarthy stars as a test subject for a sentient artificial intelligence.
That sounds dark, but of course, it’s a comedy. Joining McCarthy in the cast are James Corden, Bobby Cannavale, Brian Tyree Henry and Jean Smart. Plenty of comedic chops to go around.
Finally, this is a young adult novel adaptation co-starring Haley Lu Richardson and Barbie Ferreira. Not long before going to college, Richardson’s character, 17-year-old Veronica, finds out she’s pregnant. Per the synopsis on Deadline, she and her former best friend Bailey go on a road trip to New Mexico as she plans to get an abortion.
Ferreira enjoyed her breakthrough on HBO’s series Euphoria, while Richardson has come up in recent years with a string of impressive performances. One of those is in the indie film Columbus, which is definitely worth checking out as part of Hulu’s super, underrated catalog.
Definitely a heavier dramatic piece from HBO Max, which makes UNpregnant stand out among its three planned non-documentary feature movies of 2020.