With HBO Max transitioning to Max on May 23, the studio is unveiling new content to entice people to check out the new combined HBO Max/Discovery+ streaming service. One such piece is “100 Years of Warner Bros.,” a four-part documentary that honors the centennial of the studio that gave us the entire Max universe.
Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Leslie Iwerks (“The Imagineering Story”), granddaughter of Disney legend Ub Iwerks, the documentary series looks at the founding of the iconic Warner Bros. studio, founded in 1923, all the way to present-day. Talking heads include a cavalcade of stars from George Clooney and Keanu Reeves, to directors Baz Luhrmann and Martin Scorsese.
The first trailer certainly whets the appetite, showcasing nearly every major Warner Bros. movie, from “The Jazz Singer” to “Elvis,” with an eye towards showing why the studio was considered an outlier in the game. The fractious relationship between the four Warner brothers themselves is discussed, as well as how the studio routinely “took risks.” As Levar Burton, star of the Warner Bros. project “Roots,” says, “Respect must be paid.”
The first two installments will premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and focus on the founding of the studio up through WWII, as well as the studio’s challenges throughout the 1960s and 1970s. From there the final two installments will discuss the studio’s work in the 1980s and foray into television, before concluding with a discussion on their post-millennium work that, based on the episode’s title, will heavily lean on the “Harry Potter” franchise.
It will be interesting to see how the studio portrays itself in a documentary they are sponsoring and supporting. Warner Bros. has certainly seen a lot of changes just in the last two years with their merger with Discovery that saw the exit of several top Warner Bros. execs as well as the cost-saving measure of refusing to release an entire “Batgirl” feature film.
Condensing the studio’s 100-year accomplishments into four parts is also no small feat. The studio has given us iconic stars like Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis — worthy of their own episodes alone — as well as all manner of legendary features into the 1970s and 1980s including “Blade Runner” and “The Shining.”
You can watch the full trailer above.
The first two episodes of “100 Years of Warner Bros.” drop on Max May 25, and the final two will stream June 1.