HBO Max has picked up “Superintelligence,” an original film starring Oscar-nominated actress Melissa McCarthy. The movie was scheduled to hit theaters, but the platform picked it up as an HBO Max exclusive. Directed by Ben Falcone, the movie was written by Steve Mallory. HBO Max stated that the comedy is scheduled to premiere when the service launches in Spring 2020.

The decision to release the film on HBO Max, instead of in theaters, could be related to McCarthy’s sudden drop at the box office. While most of McCarthy’s films have done wonderfully in markets around the world, her latest releases have struggled. Her most recent film, “The Kitchen,” opened in seventh-place domestically with a $5.5M weekend, and only made $15.8M worldwide. “The Happytime Murders” opened in third-place overall on the domestic charts in 2018 with a $9.5M debut, and only made an estimated $27.5M globally. You can compare that with one of her hits, like “Life of the Party,” which made $17.8M on its opening weekend before grossing $65.8M worldwide.

McCarthy’s latest project does look promising, and also features Bobby Cannavale, Brian Tyree Henry, Jean Smart, and James Corden. The official description reads, “Superintelligence” tells the story of Carol Peters (McCarthy), to whom nothing extraordinary ever happens. But when she starts getting snarky backtalk from her TV, phone and microwave, she thinks she’s being punked. Or losing her mind. In fact, the world’s first superintelligence has selected her for observation, taking over her life…with a bigger, more ominous plan to take over everything. Now Carol is humanity’s last chance before this artificial intelligence-with-an-attitude decides to pull the plug.”

“We used the A.I. from Superintelligence to look at every single platform in the world, and then used its super knowledge and big artificial brain-like thing to determine that HBO Max was the right home for our film,” laughed McCarthy and Falcone.

“This is the perfect high concept comedy with an artist we all love to work with, and shows the top caliber of talent we’re bringing to HBO Max,” said Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer, HBO Max and President, TNT, TBS and truTV.

“The pairing of HBO Max with the tremendous talent of Melissa and Ben demonstrates the advantage of collaboration across WarnerMedia, and our ability to work with our creative partners to determine the distribution platform that will deliver the greatest success for their projects,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

Falcone and McCarthy also produced “Superintelligence,” alongside Rob Cowan, whose credits include the Falcone/McCarthy comedy Tammy and the Conjuring films.

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