HBO Max has picked up the upcoming Melissa McCarthy comedy Superintelligence. Once upon a time, Netflix and Hulu were about the only games in town when it came to streaming options. But that's all about to change as multiple new streaming platforms get set to launch, including potential game-changers from Disney and Apple.
Joining those heavy-hitting companies in the ever-hotter streaming wars is WarnerMedia, who are launching their own service dubbed HBO Max. A slate of original content has indeed already been announced for the new service, including an animated Gremlins prequel, a Dune spinoff focusing on the Bene Gesserit sisterhood, and a romantic-comedy series teaming Anna Kendrick with Paul Feig. In perhaps the biggest move of all, HBO Max shelled out a reported several billion dollars to secure streaming rights for the popular CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, adding it to a roster of shows that already included Friends, Doctor Who and others.
In another play to add attractive content to its upcoming service, HBO Max has reportedly acquired the comedy Superintelligence starring McCarthy (via THR). Produced by New Line Cinema, the film was originally set to hit theaters on December 20th, but now it will land on HBO Max when it launches in spring 2020.
Directed by Ben Falcone, Superintelligence also stars Bobby Cannavale, James Corden, Brian Tyree Henry and Jean Smart. The movie sees McCarthy playing a woman who finds her smart devices talking back to her, and soon discovers she's being used as a test subject by the world's first superintelligent AI (voiced by Corden). Once considered a solid box office performer, with comedy hits like Identity Thief, The Heat and Spy on her resume, McCarthy has hit something of a dry spell following the flops The Happytime Murders and The Kitchen. In between, the actress did grab an Oscar nomination for her performance in the biopic Can You Ever Forgive Me?.
Naturally, the fact that New Line has decided to scuttle the theatrical release of Superintelligence and hand the movie off to HBO Max will lead to speculation that the film is not exactly top-of-the-line material. In fact, the high-concept comedy sounds very much like the type of movie that makes for perfect streaming fodder, and it would not be surprising to see McCarthy strike up a long-term content partnership with HBO Max much like Adam Sandler's very fruitful team-up with Netflix. If McCarthy's movies are no longer big screen material, in a new market dominated by big budget comic book spectacle, HBO Max might prove to be a perfect soft landing spot for the actress, who no doubt still has a large fanbase and just needs to find the right vehicles and the right outlet.