Why HBO Max is Embracing Adult Animation Big-Time

Because it’s so damn much cheaper than live action, that’s why. Here’s Leslie Goldberg’s take on the deets.

Clone High

by Leslie Goldberg

When HBO Max paid an estimated $500 million for exclusive domestic streaming rights to South Park back in 2019 it was for a very good reason. The Comedy Central series, owned by ViacomCBS, was to be been the cornerstone of the WarnerMedia-backed streamer’s adult animation slate, which is now coming into sharper focus.

On Feb. 10, HBO Max — also overseen by HBO content chief Casey Bloys — went straight to series on three adult animated comedies: a revival of MTV darling Clone High (picked up for two seasons), Scooby-Doo prequel Velma and original idea Fired on Mars. Four more adult animated shows — from the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Ed Helms and Brian Michael Bendis — were also put into HBO Max’s development pipeline. The trio of new series joins a slate that already includes Harley Quinn (which broke out after arriving on a bigger platform from niche streamer DC Universe) and the upcoming new takes on GremlinsThe Boondocks and original entry The Prince. An adult-focused Game of Thrones animated series is also on the table for the streamer.

HBO Max is not the only outlet that has been making a concerted push into the adult-focused animation space. Netflix has hits including the recently concluded BoJack Horseman, long-running Big Mouth and Disenchantment, the latter of which is from The Simpsons creator Matt Groening. The streaming giant also invested an estimated $1 billion (yes, billion) for rights to bring Roald Dahl’s beloved works to life in animated form. (Oscar winner Taika Waititi is already working on a pair of prestige Charlie and the Chocolate Factory animated shows.)…

Read it all at hollywoodreporter.com