Hollywood news banter: Production to resume, HBO Max coming soon

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A new report from Ampere Analysis says the film and TV industry is set to lose $160 billion over the next five years because of the coronavirus shutdown. Facing such stark losses, the industry is desperate to resume production. 

 California Gov. Gavin Newsom says on May 25, the state will offer protocols for how to resume filming. Newsom estimates 53 of the 58 counties will be able to meet the requirements to restart production, but Los Angeles County will likely not be among them because of its high rate of coronavirus-related deaths. 

Newsom’s announcement comes days after hosting a roundtable with industry leaders, including Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos and director Ava DuVernay. 

In Georgia, producer Tyler Perry plans to resume filming in July. His roadmap is a 30-page document titled “Camp Quarantine.” All cast members will be tested in their hometowns 16 days before flying on one of Perry’s private jets to Atlanta, where they’ll be tested again. There will be additional safety measures, including sanitizing luggage, face masks for cast and crew, and social distancing. Once cast and crew  arrive, they won’t leave Perry’s “quarantine bubble” for 14 days. 

On May 27, another new streamer steps into the game. HBO Max will launch with all the premium content of HBO, along with a massive library, including “Friends,” “Sesame Street,” “South Park” and Warner Bros. movies. 

The service will cost $15 a month. If viewers are already paying for HBO, most of them will receive HBO Max automatically. HBO is still rushing to make a deal with Roku and Comcast. 

Some of the new shows HBO Max hoped to have available at launch — notably a “Friends” reunion — have been delayed due to coronavirus. They do have a new rom-com series starring Anna Kendrick called “Love Life,” but reviews have been mixed. 

Next year, DC Comics fans can find director Zack Snyder’s version of “Justice League” on HBO Max. Snyder had to leave the film mid-production due to a family tragedy, but fans are clamoring to see his cut of the movie. HBO Max will spend upwards of $20 million on the effort. 




Kim Masters


Kaitlin Parker