In Madrid for the launch of HBO Max in Spain, Andorra and four Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark), Warner Media’s commissioning editor and VP of original programming Miguel Salvat announced the commission of “Poor Devil,” (“Pobre Diablo”) a new series produced for the streamer by Buendia Estudios with animation done at Granada’s Rokyn Animation Studios.
Joining Salvat on stage in the Spanish capitol were Christina Sulebakk, general manager, HBO Max, EMEA, and Joana Silva, VP programming & acquisitions HBO Max Iberia.
Sulebakk used her time in the spotlight to highlight several key details already known about the arrival of HBO Max, while drilling down on the differences between HBO España as it currently exists, and HBO Max as it will exist starting tomorrow.
She outlined four key differences: HBO Max will have a much broader catalog intended to appeal to the whole family more than HBO España has in the past; starting Jan. 22, Warner Bros. films will be made available on the streaming service 45 days after their theatrical release; the HBO Max platform itself will change to the version currently available in the U.S. and Latin America; and while the monthly subscription fee of €8.99 ($10.43) will stay the same, a new annual pass will be available for €69.99/year ($81.21/year).
Another important improvement for current subscribers is that the limit on the number of devices on which an account can be logged in has been lifted entirely, and the number of devices which can be streaming concurrently has been raised from two to three.
According to Sulebakk, one of the key considerations that the team at HBO Max considers in every region is curation.
“Instead of algorithm we have recommendations made by humans,” she explained from a stage at the Madrid Four Seasons Hotel. “We have people in Spain who identify what is important for audiences in Spain. We work with data and algorithms of course, but it’s important to have that human touch, and we take a lot of pride in that.”
“Poor Devil” follows Stan, a typical 18-year-old, except that his dad is the Devil. The freshly-turned young adult is tasked by his father to go to earth and create chaos and bring about the downfall of humanity. However, as an 18-year-old, Stan has other plans. Like most children just out of the nest, Stan likes to socialize, to drink and party, and he dreams of being a performer on Broadway. “I want to sing and dance,” he said in a brief animatic created for the HBO Max launch to introduce the series.
“Poor Devil” is written by Miguel Esteban, Joaquín Reyes and Ernesto Sevilla, co-written by Helena Pozuelo and directed by Esteban. Several of the leading creatives on the production are long-time colleagues of Salvat’s. And while “Poor Devil” is helmer Esteban’s first animated series, his broad resume includes several popular comedy series for Movistar Plus (“Nasdrovia”), Netflix (“The Neighbour”) and Comedy Central (“The End of Comedy”).
“I’ve known these guys for years and it’s wonderful to have this opportunity with them in TV,” Salvat said from stage at the Madrid Four Seasons, a bit like a proud father himself.
“Poor Devil” was one of an impressive six local productions so far confirmed to be launching on the platform between tomorrow’s and the end of 2022, four of which were teased at San Sebastian in September. From day one, two new Spanish originals available on HBO Max in Spain include “Todo lo Otro,” a show about a group of friends in their 30’s living in Madrid from creator and showrunner Abril Zamora, and “Dolores: The Truth About the Wanninkhof Case,” a true crime documentary series about one of the Spain’s best-known cases of injustice.
Other Spanish series teased, having previously screened clips at San Sebastian in September, included “Venga Juan,” the third instalment of a massively popular TBS comedy series in Spain preceded by “Vota Juan” and “Vamos Juan”; “Sin Novedad,” a local adaptation of the Australian crime comedy “No Activity”; and “García,” perhaps the service’s most ambitious Spanish original at launch, a high octane adaptation of the popular comics of the same name, about a superspy cryogenically frozen in the 1950s and thawed out in modern day Madrid.
After the event, HBO Max also released the first trailer for its new political action thriller, providing a small taste of the bone-crunching action that García, once the most powerful tool in former fascist dictator Francisco Franco’s arsenal who teams up with a left-leaning journalist to save modern Spanish democracy, will bring to screens in Spain and around the world.