HBO Max Quietly Drops More Titles, Animation Takes A Heavy Hit

After Netflix gutted their animation department and canceled a slew of their announced projects back in May, HBO Max appears to have taken the "hold my beer" approach and followed suit by absolutely gutting their own animated offerings on the platform. The streamer has already been quietly removing a number of films and series since the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery, but today's announcement was an absolute bloodbath, with animated projects taking the brunt of it all. Nearly 40 titles either already have been or will be removed from HBO Max by the end of the week, including 20 HBO Max originals.

"As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and discovery+," the streamer said in a statement. "That will include the removal of some content from both platforms." 

Yeah, yeah, the official statement is cute and all, what with referring to fully produced series as "content," but it doesn't take into consideration how this decision is not just removing hours of animated (and unscripted, I don't want to gloss over their losses) entertainment, but also the results of countless hours and artistry from so many people.

Julia Pott, the creator of "Summer Camp Island" took to Twitter to express her frustrations, noting that her team spent five years making 100 episodes of animation, "and HBO Max just pulled them all like we were nothing." She ended her tweet with what feels like a rallying cry by saying, "Animation is not nothing!"

Blatant disrespect toward the animation industry

The industry has a serious, serious problem with its treatment of animation. The Oscars incorrectly declared that animation was only something for children to enjoy and adults to endure during this year's broadcast, Hollywood A-listers continue to take away opportunities from seasoned voice-over artists in animated features, and now streamers are sending animated series into a void of nothingness as a means to write them off on their taxes. The entire entertainment industry is treating the world of animation like a public school cutting out arts programs to make way for a new football field.

"Tig 'n Seek" art director Levon Jihanian took to Twitter, imploring people to watch the show, saying this is probably the last chance. "Probably won't stream anywhere else. Absolutely infuriating," he wrote.

Marie Lum, a storyboard artist and revisionist on "Aquaman: King of Atlantis" and "Infinity Train" tweeted "please watch our cartoons before [they're] removed this week. I see nearly my entire cartoon career being removed here on these lists, which is wild." She finished her post with a heartfelt message: "thanks for watching and supporting the things we make with love."

Perhaps most disheartening is that many of the HBO Max originals will not have a life after they are removed from the platform. The idea that Warner Bros. Discovery would allow one of their competitors to pick up a show like "Tig n' Seek," "Infinity Train," or "Close Enough" is unlikely.

Today is a bleak day for animators and fans of animation, and it's hard not to think this could have been avoided if the industry had some respect for the people and projects that represent one of the most beloved mediums in all of entertainment.

However, there is one ray of hope: in a statement to The AV Club, Cartoon Network confirmed that "Victor & Valentino" and "Summer Camp Island" will continue to air on the cable network. The dates are currently TBD, but "fans can look forward to the remaining new episodes of both shows on CN this year."

All of the new titles being removed from HBO Max

Below are all of the titles being removed from HBO Max. While there's no news on where all (if any) of these titles will end up, there are a handful that will still be available on other streamers due to existing deals. "OK K.O.! – Let's Be Heroes," for example, is as of publication still available on Hulu, albeit in the wrong episode order. 

A moment of silence for those that are getting tossed like table scraps, because someone with a ridiculous amount of power couldn't see the feast right before their very eyes.

HBO Max Original Programs

  • "12 Dates of Christmas"
  • "About Last Night"
  • "Aquaman: King of Atlantis"
  • "Close Enough
  • "Ellen's Next Great Designer"
  • "Esme & Roy"
  • "The Fungies!"
  • "Generation Hustle"
  • "Genera+ion"
  • "Infinity Train"
  • "Little Ellen"
  • "My Mom, Your Dad"
  • "Odo"
  • "Ravi Patel's Pursuit of Happiness"
  • "Summer Camp Island"
  • "The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo" (and select "Sesame Street" specials)
  • "The Runaway Bunny"
  • "Theodosia"
  • "Tig n' Seek"
  • "Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs"

HBO Original Programs

  • "My Dinner with Herve"
  • "Share"

Cartoon Network Programs

  • "Dodo"
  • "Elliott From Earth"
  • "Mao Mao, Heroes of Pure Heart"
  • "Mighty Magiswords"
  • "OK K.O.! – Let's Be Heroes"
  • "Uncle Grandpa"
  • "Victor and Valentino"

Additional Acquired Programs

  • "Detention Adventure"
  • "Messy Goes to Okido"
  • "Mia's Magic Playground"
  • "The Ollie & Moon Show"
  • "Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures"
  • "Make It Big, Make It Small"
  • "Squish"