|Current logo, used since August 1, 2011|
|Launched||August 1, 1980|
|Owned by||Home Box Office Inc.
(Subsidiary of Time-Life, 1980-1990;
Subsidiary of Time Warner, 1990-present)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV/16:9 letterbox)
|Slogan||Max. In Movies.|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|DirecTV||515 Cinemax (east; SD/HD)
516 Cinemax (west; SD/HD)
517 MoreMax (SD/HD)
519 ActionMax (HD)
520 5StarMax (HD)
521 MovieMax (HD)
522 ThrillerMax (HD)
523 Max Latino (HD)
1515 Cinemax On Demand
|Dish Network||310 Cinemax (east; SD/HD)
311 Cinemax (west; SD/HD)
313 ActionMax (SD/HD)
314 5StarMax (SD/HD)
|Available on all cable systems||Check local listings for channels|
|Verizon FIOS||420 Cinemax (east)
421 Cinemax (west)
422 MoreMax (east)
423 MoreMax (west)
424 ActionMax (east)
425 ActionMax (west)
426 ThrillerMax (east)
427 ThrillerMax (west)
428 Movie Max
429 Max Latino
|AT&T U-verse||832-846 (SD)
Cinemax (sometimes abbreviated as simply "Max") is an American premium cable and satellite television network that is operated by the Time Warner subsidiary Home Box Office Inc. The channel's name is a portmanteau of "cinema" and "maximum". Cinemax primarily broadcasts theatrically released feature films as well as original action series, softcore pornographic series and films, documentaries and special behind-the-scenes features. As of August 2011[update], Cinemax's programming reaches 16.7 million pay television subscribers in the United States.
Cinemax launched on August 1, 1980 as HBO's answer to The Movie Channel (at the time, The Movie Channel was owned by Time Warner predecessor Warner Communications and American Express' joint venture Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment; TMC has been owned by Showtime Networks since 1983, a subsidiary of CBS Corporation since 2005 and Viacom prior to then).
Unlike HBO – and most cable and broadcast channels already on the air at the time it launched – Cinemax broadcast on a 24-hour-a-day schedule from its sign-on (HBO had only broadcast about nine hours of programming a day from 3 p.m. to midnight ET until September 1981, when it began broadcasting a 24-hour schedule on weekends until midnight ET on Sunday nights; it did not start airing 24 hours on weekdays until December 28 of that year). On-air spokesman Robert Culp told viewers that Cinemax would be about movies, and nothing but movies. At the time, HBO featured a wider range of programming, including some entertainment news, documentaries, children's programming, sporting events and television specials. Movie classics were a mainstay of the channel at its birth, "all uncut and commercial-free" as Culp said on-air. A heavy schedule of films from the 1950s to the 1970s made up most of Cinemax's program schedule.
Cinemax succeeded in its early years because cable subscribers typically had access to only about three dozen channels. Movies were the most sought-after program category by cable subscribers, and the fact Cinemax would show classics without commercials and editing made the channel an attractive add-on for HBO subscribers. In many cases, cable operators would not sell Cinemax to customers who did not already subscribe to HBO. The two channels were typically sold as a package, usually offered at a discount for subscribers choosing both channels. Typical pricing for HBO in the early 1980s was $12.95 per month, while Cinemax typically could be added for between $7–10 extra per month.
In 1983, Cinemax's parent company Time-Life Inc. (which merged with Warner Communications in 1989 to form the present-day Time Warner), had filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against Tulsa, Oklahoma station KOKI (which was an independent station at the time) and its owners Tulsa 23, Ltd. over the use of what was also Cinemax's slogan at that time, "We Are Your Movie Star"; Cinemax lost the case in a Federal District Court proceeding. As additional movie-oriented channels launched on cable, Cinemax's programming philosophy began to change to try and maintain its subscriber base. First, the channel opted to carry more violent film content that HBO would only show during the nighttime hours, and then Cinemax decided it could compete by airing more adult-oriented movies that contained nudity and strong sexual content.
During the network's first decade on the air, Cinemax had also aired some original music programming: during the mid-to-late 1980s, upon the meteoric rise in popularity of MTV, Cinemax tried its hand at airing music videos by airing an interstitial between films called MaxTrax, it also ran music specials under the banner Cinemax Sessions during that same time period. The mid and late 1980s also saw Cinemax include a very limited amount of television series on its schedule including the sketch-comedy series Second City Television (whose U.S. broadcast rights Cinemax had acquired from NBC in 1983) and the science fiction series Max Headroom (which had also aired on ABC from 1987 to 1988). Stand-up comedy specials also were occasionally broadcast on the channel during the late 1980s, under the Cinemax Comedy Experiment banner. Despite these programming additions, Cinemax had remained foremost a movie channel. In February 1988, the premiere broadcast of the 1987 action-comedy film Lethal Weapon became the highest rated telecast in Cinemax's history at that time, averaging a 16.9 rating and 26 share.
Later on starting in 1992, Cinemax re-entered into television series development with the addition of adult-oriented scripted series similar in content to the softcore pornographic films that are featured during late night timeslots (such as the network's first original adult series Erotic Confessions, and later series entries such as Hot Line, Passion Cove, Lingerie and Co-Ed Confidential). From 1992 to 1997, Cinemax aired one movie each day of the week that would be centered around a certain genre, represented by various pictograms that would be shown within a specialized feature presentation bumper before the start of the movie; the symbols included: "Comedy" (represented by an abstract face made up of various movie props, with the mouth open to look like it is laughing), "Suspense" (represented by a running man silhouette), "Premiere" (represented by an exclamation mark caught in spotlights), "Horror" (represented by a skull and casket), "Drama" (represented by abstract comedy and tragedy masks), "Vanguard" (represented by a globe), "Action" (represented by a machine gun) and "Classic" (represented by a classic movie-era couple embracing and kissing). The particular film genre that played on the specific day (and time) varied by country.
In the United States:
In Latin America:
These genre-based movie presentations ended in 1997, when Cinemax's only themed movie presentations became a nightly featured movie at 8 p.m. ET (under the branding "Max Hits at 8") and a nightly primetime movie at 10 p.m. ET (branded as "Max Prime at 10"). Upon the launch of the two multiplex channels in 1998, Cinemax offered "sneak preview" blocks of programs that could be seen on ActionMax and ThrillerMax in primetime on Saturdays and Sundays, respectively. By the mid-2000s, classic films released from the 1940s to the 1970s that had been broadcast on Cinemax from its launch (which continued to air during the morning hours on the main channel during the 1990s and early 2000s) were relegated to some of its multiplex channels, and have become prominent on its multiplex service, 5StarMax. Today, a large majority of mainstream films featured on the main channel are releases from the 1990s to the present, with some films from the 1970s and 1980s included on the schedule.
In 2001, Cinemax began to change its feature film focus from a channel that airs second-run feature films that previously were broadcast by sister channel HBO before their Cinemax debut, to one that premieres select blockbuster and lesser-known theatrical films before their HBO debut. In February 2011, Cinemax announced that it would begin offering mainstream original programming to compete with sister channel HBO, and rivals Showtime and Starz; the channel began developing action-themed series aimed at men between 18 and 49 years of age. The decision was also due in part to competition from other movie services such as Netflix, and to change Cinemax's image from a channel mostly known for its softcore pornographic series and movies (although its adult programming continues to appear as part of the channel's late night schedule).
List of channels
ActionMax redirects here. For the 1980s video game system, see Action Max.
Depending on the service provider, Cinemax provides up to fifteen multiplex channels – eight 24-hour multiplex channels, seven of which are simulcast in both standard definition and high definition (with the exception of Wmax, which broadcasts solely in standard definition) – as well as a subscription video-on-demand service (Cinemax On Demand). Cinemax broadcasts the primary and multiplex channels on both Eastern and Pacific Time Zone schedules. The respective coastal feeds of each channel are usually packaged together (though most cable providers only offer the east and west coast feeds of the main Cinemax channel), resulting in the difference in local airtimes for a particular movie or program between two geographic locations being three hours at most.
HBO, which is also owned by Time Warner, operates as a separate service – and although Cinemax and HBO are very frequently sold together as a singular package – subscribers to one of the services do not necessarily have to subscribe to the other.
- Cinemax: The main "flagship" feed; Cinemax features blockbuster movies, first-run films, favorite movies and softcore erotica programs. The channel commonly premieres new movies – debuting on the channel within a lag of between eight months to one year on average from their initial theatrical release – on Saturday nights at 10 p.m. ET as part of "See It Saturday", and broadcasts a featured movie Sunday through Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET. Cinemax also runs original action series on Friday evenings at 10 p.m. ET.
- MoreMax: Launched in 1991, MoreMax is a secondary channel with similar content to Cinemax; it also includes foreign films, indie flicks and arthouse releases. The service broadcasts a featured movie every night at 9 p.m. ET. MoreMax was originally known as "Cinemax 2" until 1998.
- ActionMax: This channel broadcasts action movies including blockbusters, westerns, war pictures and martial arts films; this channel's featured film block is "Heroes at 8", a featured action movie nightly at 8 p.m. ET. ActionMax replaced "Cinemax 3", which existed from 1995 to 1998.
- ThrillerMax: Launched in 1998, ThrillerMax runs mystery, suspense, horror and thriller movies; this channel's featured film block is "When the Clock Strikes 10", a different featured mystery, suspense or thriller, nightly at 10 p.m. ET.
- MaxLatino: This channel is a Spanish-language simulcast of Cinemax (similar to HBO Latino), broadcasting Spanish-dubbed Hollywood films and original series. Originally launched on May 17, 2001 as @Max, this channel was formerly targeted at the young adult demographic between the ages of 18 and 34; @Max featured contemporary films, movies with an attitude exemplified and films with unique ideas.
- OuterMax: Launched on May 17, 2001, OuterMax runs science-fiction, horror and fantasy films; this channel's featured film block is "Graveyard Shift", carrying a sci-fi or horror movie every night at 12 a.m. ET.
- MovieMax: This channel broadcasts family-oriented films, as well as a mix of recent and classic Hollywood hits. R and TV-MA rated films are not broadcast on the channel. Originally launched on May 17, 2001 as WMax, this channel was originally targeted at women, and featured dramas, mysteries and classic romance pictures. It is one of only two Cinemax channels that does not air Max After Dark content.
- 5StarMax: Launched on May 17, 2001, 5StarMax is a channel that showcases modern classics, featuring award-winning films and timeless treasures. The channel broadcasts a featured classic every night at 9 p.m. ET. It is one of only two Cinemax channels that does not air Max After Dark content.
In 1991, HBO and Cinemax became the first premium services to offer multiplexed services to cable customers as companions to the main network, offering multiplex services of HBO and Cinemax to three TeleCable systems in Racine, Wisconsin, Overland Park, Kansas, and the Dallas suburbs of Richardson and Plano, Texas. One year later, research from Nielsen Media Research showed that multiplex delivery of HBO and Cinemax had positive impact on subscriber usage and attitudes, including subscribers' retention of pay cable subscriptions. Cinemax 2 was launched as a multiplex channel, debuting on these three systems; Cinemax 3 would eventually make its debut in 1995.
The first major expansion to the multiplex came in 1998: Cinemax 2 underwent a rebranding and changed its name to MoreMax, while Cinemax 3 was replaced by ActionMax (featuring a focus on action and adventure films); ThrillerMax (which features mystery, suspense and horror films) also made its debut as a newly created channel. Four additional themed channels were launched in May 2001: OuterMax (which carried films dealing with the science fiction, horror and fantasy genres), Wmax (a channel featuring films that appeal toward a female audience), @Max (featuring films aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds) and 5StarMax (focusing on critically acclaimed and classic feature films).
On June 1, 2013, WMax and @Max were respectively relaunched as MovieMax and Max Latino. Max Latino mirrors the schedule of the flagship Cinemax channel (similar to the format of HBO Latino, which simulcasts most of the HBO schedule except for certain differing programs), featuring Spanish-dubbed Hollywood films and original series. MovieMax is a family-oriented channel, that does not broadcast R-rated films and focuses on recent and classic hit movies.
The Cinemax multiplex was collectively known as "MultiMax" for several years, but as of 2013[update], the channels are not known under an "official" marketed name (however, HBO and Cinemax's respective multiplex packages are referred collectively by certain providers as the "HBO/MAX Pak").
All eight Cinemax multiplex channels are simulcast in 1080i high definition; the flagship network began transmitting its programming exclusively in high definition on September 1, 2008. Cinemax HD is available on Dish Network, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Comcast, AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS and other major cable providers, although few providers offer all eight multiplex channels in HD.
Cinemax On Demand
Cinemax operates a subscription video on demand service called Cinemax On Demand, which is available at no additional charge to new and existing Cinemax subscribers. The Cinemax On Demand service, which launched in 2002, offers program content available in standard or high definition including feature films, episodes of Cinemax's original action series, adult programming and special behind-the-scenes features including interviews.
On September 13, 2010, Cinemax launched Max GO, a website which features 700 hours of content available for streaming in standard or high definition, at no additional charge to Cinemax subscribers. Content includes feature films, documentaries, and late night adult programming featured on Cinemax's Max After Dark block. It is available to Cinemax subscribers of AT&T U-verse, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Dish Network, Suddenlink Communications, and Charter Communications. The Max GO iPhone, iPad, and Android app was released on August 11, 2011.
As of February 2013, Cinemax – through HBO – has exclusive first-run movie rights with network sister company Warner Bros. Entertainment (including content from subsidiaries Warner Bros. Animation, New Line Cinema since 2005, and Castle Rock Entertainment), 20th Century Fox since 1979 (including content from subsidiaries 20th Century Fox Animation, Blue Sky Studios, New Regency Productions and Fox Searchlight Pictures), Universal Studios since 2003 (including content from subsidiaries Universal Animation Studios, Working Title Films, Illumination Entertainment and Focus Features) and DreamWorks since 1996 (excluding films co-produced with Touchstone Pictures; Showtime holds rights to live action co-productions between DreamWorks and Touchstone).
The first-run film output agreement with Fox was renewed by HBO for ten years on August 15, 2012 (allowing the studio to release its films through digital platforms such as iTunes and Amazon during a film's term of license with the channel for the first time) and the Universal output deal was renewed for ten years on January 6, 2013 (with the exception of certain animated films that HBO can offer to pass over to the Netflix streaming service).
Cinemax also shows sub-runs – runs of films that have already received broadcast or syndicated television airings – of theatrical films from Paramount Pictures (including content from subsidiary Republic Pictures, both for films released prior to 1998), Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (including content from subsidiaries Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, and formerly co-owned Miramax Films), Sony Pictures Entertainment (including content from subsidiaries Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Screen Gems and TriStar Pictures, all for films released prior to 2005), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (including content from subsidiaries United Artists, Orion Pictures and The Samuel Goldwyn Company), and Lions Gate Entertainment (for films released prior to 2004).
Films that HBO has pay cable rights to will usually also run on Cinemax during the period of its term of licensing, although some feature films from the aforementioned studios that the two channels have broadcast rights to will make their premium television debut on Cinemax several weeks before its premiere on HBO and vice versa. Cinemax rarely airs G-rated films during the morning hours, instead opting to air R, PG-13 or PG rated films during these time slots. The channel also produces documentary films under the banner Cinemax Reel Life. Cinemax has also ran an annual film festival called The Summer of 1000 Movies, which debuted in 1992, in which the channel claims to run 1000 films (many with a similar subject) over the course of each summer.
Future licensing agreements
On May 2011, HBO announced a licensing agreement with Summit Entertainment to obtain pay-cable rights to theatrically released films from the studio released between 2013 and 2017; Summit's exclusive licensing deal with Showtime expired in late 2012.
Former first-run contracts
Cinemax's contract with DreamWorks Animation expired after 2012, at which time the aforementioned Netflix streaming service assumed pay-TV rights. HBO relinquished its deal with DreamWorks Pictures' live-action films at the end of 2010, when the distribution rights shifted from Paramount Pictures to Touchstone Pictures (whose films are broadcast by Showtime through a distribution agreement with Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group). During the 1980s, Cinemax had broadcast films from Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures (both of which expired after 2004) and Orion Pictures; as of February 2013, rival premium channel Starz has an exclusive deal with Columbia and TriStar parent Sony Pictures Entertainment. Paramount Pictures' films released between mid-1988 and late-1997 were broadcast on Cinemax; rival Showtime assumed pay-TV rights between 1998 and 2008.
Max After Dark
Max After Dark is a late night adult programming block featuring licensed softcore pornographic films and series. There are no set start or end times for the block, as they vary depending on the mainstream feature films – and original series on certain nights – that surround it and which programs are scheduled to air within the block. Programs that air under the Max After Dark banner carry either a TV-MA or R rating (usually the former), primarily for strong sexual content and nudity. The program block has often been the subject of both scrutiny in the media and a source of humor in popular culture, with references to Cinemax's late night programming having been featured in various films and TV shows. Because of the block's presence, Cinemax is most commonly given the jocular nickname outside the network, "Skinemax". The network itself has acknowledged this by using a play on this term for its 2011 documentary series, Skin to the Max.
The block originally debuted on May 4, 1984, as a once-a-week block called "Cinemax Friday After Dark"; these adult programs eventually expanded to seven-night-a-week airings by the late 1990s. Cinemax maintains an on-air policy – that has been in effect since 1993 – not to run air any adult programming on its main channel before 11:30 p.m. ET. The late night adult series that currently air first-run episodes as of 2013[update] are Co-Ed Confidential, Forbidden Science, Lingerie, Life on Top, Femme Fatales, Zane’s The Jump Off and Working Girls in Bed. Adult films often air alongside these series, though this may not always be the case depending on the Cinemax multiplex channel as well as which programs are scheduled that night on each channel.
The adult programming featured on Max After Dark is not limited solely to the main Cinemax network: MoreMax also airs softcore pornographic films and series, sometimes airing earlier (10:30 p.m. ET at the earliest) than the main Cinemax channel would allow; ActionMax, ThrillerMax and OuterMax also feature adult films on their late night schedules, even though these softcore adult films and series do not necessarily fit the respective formats of these multiplex services. Conversely, MovieMax (which is aimed at families) and 5StarMax (which carries a format of largely critically acclaimed, mainstream feature films) generally do not run any adult programs because of their respective programming formats. Some of the adult films featured on the Max After Dark block also air late nights on sister channel HBO Zone, which is the only HBO multiplex channel to feature pornographic film content.
Mainstream original programming
On August 12, 2011, Cinemax debuted original programming content outside of the licensed Max After Dark programming, with the addition of primetime action-oriented series targeted at men between 18 and 49 years of age. On that date, Cinemax debuted its first mainstream original program, the U.S. premiere of the British action series Strike Back (first-run episodes of the series aired by Cinemax during its 2011 season were from the show's second season, the series originally debuted in 2010 on Sky1 in the United Kingdom, which Home Box Office, Inc./Cinemax partnered with to produce the series after the conclusion of its first season). On October 19, 2012, Cinemax introduced their second primetime original series, Hunted, in cooperation with BBC One. Series scheduled to premiere in 2013 and/or are in development include Transporter: The Series, Alan Ball's Banshee and Steve Kronish's Sandbox.
Cinemax's original logo that debuted in 1980, featured the channel's name in a mixed case Avant Garde typeface on a semi-circular rectangle; the "Coming Up Next" bumpers and graphics were similar to parent network HBO's graphics of the concurring time. The channel phased in a new logo in 1985, featuring seven rhomboids sized to fit each letter of the channel's name (rendered in a lowercase, bold and italicized Univers Condensed type); this logo was used in print ads and during bumpers for a short time as the original 1980 opening bumpers were still being used, until a new feature presentation opener debuted in the fall of 1985. Variants of the logo used different coloring, and "Coming Up Next" and "Tonight" bumpers were updated four times between 1985 and 1997. The network rebranded in 1997, implementing a logo rendered in lowercase Impact type with a circle highlighting the 'max' (as with Showtime's highlighting of 'SHO' in their logo, the use of 'MAX' as the logo focal point comes from the channel's former TV Guide abbreviation in the magazine's local listings era). Slight modifications of the logo's coloring were made during this period; the logo was often shown with just the circle 'max'.
In February 2008, a new sparse and bare branding campaign was introduced, with voiceovers for movie promotions and ratings bumpers fully withdrawn from all Cinemax networks. The promotions featured Adult Swim-style introductions with white text on black screens, while "up next" bumps just featured the film name and stars with only sound effects and small snippets of music playing instead of full interstitial music. All channel logos were redesigned – and most notably, the main Cinemax channel became visually referred to as simply "max" – though cast members from the network's "After Dark" series continued to refer the network vocally as "Cinemax", and ads promoting the channel that were seen on other television stations and cable networks continued to use the original 1997 logo design (though a variant without the circle behind the 'max' was used from 2010 to 2011).
In August 2011, Cinemax introduced a new logo in line with promotional efforts for Strike Back – a vertically tilted yellow rhomboid with uppercase black "CINEMAX" lettering (a logo variant with inverted coloring also exists). Only the "MAX" portion is used for Cinemax on Demand and Max Go (for both services, an additional rhomboid is added next to the yellow/black "MAX" to fit either "OD" [for "on demand"] or "GO"), along with the linear multiplex channels – to which the prefix titles for each channel are added before it with no line treatment. It was originally unveiled in on-air promos for its upcoming original programming, on its Facebook and Twitter accounts and on its YouTube channel in May 2011. The official website and Max Go continued to use the 2008 logo variant until August 11, 2011, when both sites were extensively redesigned. Despite the rebrand, Cinemax's multiplex channels (with the exception of the main channel and MoreMax, which do not use any on-screen watermarking whatsoever) confusingly continue to feature logo bugs using their variants of the 1997 logo during films and other programs.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (February 2013)|
The Latin American version of Cinemax, as well as its sister channel Max Prime, is controlled by the HBO Latin America Group; the primary Latin American channel was converted into an ad-supported basic cable channel in 2010, while two new premium channels launched: Max and Max HD, which carried independent films and European movies as the main channel does.
Cinemax also operates two channels serving portions of eastern Europe: Cinemax and Cinemax 2, which debuted in 2009.
Cinemax Asia launched in 1996, and is a sister channel to HBO Asia. Its programming features action and suspense films. Programming seen on Cinemax Asia is subject to the censorship laws of certain countries in Southeast Asia, partly due to it being based out of Singapore.
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