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)
(HD feeds downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
|Slogan||Max. In Movies.|
Spanish (MaxLatino only and via SAP audio track; some films may be broadcast in their native language and subtitled into English)
|Headquarters||New York City, New York|
|Timeshift service||Cinemax East, Cinemax West,
|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 MaxLatino (HD)
1515 Cinemax On Demand
|Dish Network||310 Cinemax (east; SD/HD)
311 Cinemax (west; SD/HD)
312 MoreMax (SD/HD)
313 ActionMax (SD/HD)
314 5StarMax (SD/HD)
315 MaxLatino (SD/HD)
|Available on all U.S. cable systems||Consult your local cable provider for channel availability|
|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)
|AT&T U-verse||832-846 (SD)
Cinemax (a portmanteau of "cinema" and "maximum"; sometimes abbreviated as simply "Max") is an American premium cable and satellite television network that is owned by the Home Box Office Inc. operating subsidiary of Time Warner. Cinemax primarily broadcasts theatrically released feature films, along with original action series, softcore pornographic series and films, documentaries and special behind-the-scenes features.
As of August 2013, Cinemax's programming is available to approximately 20,471,000 television households (17.93% of cable, satellite and telco customers) in the United States (20,226,000 subscribers or 17.71% of all households with pay television service receive at least Cinemax's primary channel).
- 1 History
- 2 Channels
- 3 Programming
- 4 Branding
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Cinemax launched on August 1, 1980 as HBO's answer to The Movie Channel (at the time, The Movie Channel was owned by Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, a joint venture between Time Warner predecessor Warner Communications and American Express; TMC has been owned by Showtime Networks since 1983, a subsidiary of Viacom until 2005, when the company was spun off to CBS Corporation). Cinemax was originally owned by Time-Life Inc., which later merged with Warner Communications in 1989 to form the present-day Time Warner.
Unlike HBO – and most cable and broadcast channels already on the air at the time of its launch – Cinemax had broadcast a 24-hour-a-day schedule from its sign-on (HBO ran only nine hours of programming a day from 3 p.m. to midnight ET until September 1981, when it adopted a 24-hour weekend schedule that ran until midnight ET on Sunday nights; it implemented the round-the-clock schedule on weekdays as well on 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 interstitials, documentaries, children's programming, sporting events and television specials (in the form of Broadway plays, stand-up comedy acts and concerts). Movie classics were a mainstay of Cinemax at its birth, presented "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 the channel's program schedule.
Cinemax succeeded in its early years because cable television subscribers typically had access to only about three dozen channels due to limited headend channel capacity at the time of Cinemax's debut. Movies were the most sought-after program category by cable subscribers, and the fact that Cinemax would show classic films without commercial interruptions 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. The 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, Time-Life Inc. filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against independent station KOKI-TV (now a Fox affiliate) in Tulsa, Oklahoma and its owners Tulsa 23, Ltd. over the use of the slogan "We Are Your Movie Star", which both the television station and Cinemax were using as their slogans at that time; the suit went into proceedings in an Oklahoma Federal District Court, Cinemax lost the case. As additional movie-oriented channels launched on cable television, Cinemax began to change its programming philosophy in order to maintain its subscriber base. First, the channel opted to carry R-rated movies during the daytime (HBO would only show R-rated movies during the nighttime hours); Cinemax then decided it could compete by airing more adult-oriented movies that contained nudity and depictions of sexual intercourse.
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 began airing music videos in the form of an interstitial that ran during extended breaks 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 add a limited amount of series programming onto 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). Comedy specials were also occasionally broadcast on the channel during the late 1980s, under the Cinemax Comedy Experiment banner. Although its programming had diversified, Cinemax had foremost remained a movie channel. In February 1988, the network premiere broadcast of Lethal Weapon became the highest rated telecast in Cinemax's history at that time, averaging a 16.9 rating and 26 share.
By 1990, Cinemax limited its programming mainly to movies. However 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 featured on the channel in late night (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); this marked a return to adult series for the channel as Cinemax previously aired Scandals and Eros America in the 1980s. 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 within a jagged film strip), "Premiere" (represented by an exclamation mark caught in spotlights), "Horror" (represented by a skull augmented with a devil horn and a gear-shaped eye, in front of a casket), "Drama" (represented by abstract comedy and tragedy masks), "Vanguard" (represented by a globe overlaid on a film strip), "Action" (represented by a machine gun and an explosion) 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, as part of an extensive rebranding of the network; Cinemax's only themed movie presentations at that point 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 in 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 focus from a channel that airs second-run feature films that were previously broadcast on sister channel HBO before their Cinemax debut, to one that premieres select blockbuster and lesser-known theatrical films before their debut on HBO. In February 2011, Cinemax announced that it would begin offering mainstream original programming (in the form of action-themed series aimed at men 18 to 49-years-old) to compete with sister channel HBO, and rivals Showtime and Starz as well as due to competition from other movie services such as Netflix; these programs were also added in order 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.
For the UK channel formerly known as ActionMax, see Movies4Men 2.
MovieMax redirects here. For the Canadian premium movie service formerly known as MovieMax!, see Encore Avenue.
5StarMax redirects here. It is not to be confused with 5*.
Depending on the service provider, Cinemax provides up to fifteen multiplex channels – eight 24-hour multiplex channels, all of which are simulcast in both standard definition and high definition – as well as a subscription video-on-demand service (Cinemax On Demand). Cinemax broadcasts its 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.
|Channel||Description and programming|
|The main "flagship" feed; Cinemax features blockbuster movies, first-run films, movie favorites 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.|
|Launched in 1991, MoreMax is a secondary channel with similar program content as Cinemax; it also carries foreign, independent and arthouse films. The service broadcasts a featured movie every night at 9 p.m. ET. MoreMax was originally named "Cinemax 2" until 1998.|
|Launched on May 17, 2001, 5StarMax showcases modern classics, featuring award-winning films and timeless movie 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.|
|This channel broadcasts action movies including blockbusters, westerns, war pictures and martial arts films; ActionMax's featured film block is "Heroes at 8", a nightly featured action movie at 8 p.m. ET. ActionMax replaced "Cinemax 3", which existed from 1995 to 1998.|
|MaxLatino is a Spanish-language simulcast of Cinemax (similar to HBO Latino, although without any programming differences), broadcasting Spanish-dubbed Hollywood films and original series. The channel originally launched on May 17, 2001 as @Max, and was formerly targeted at the young adult demographic between the ages of 18 and 34; its original programming format focused contemporary films, movies with an attitude exemplified and films with unique ideas.|
|MovieMax (which maintains a format moderately similar to HBO Family) broadcasts family-oriented films, as well as a mix of recent and classic Hollywood hits. All films broadcast on the channel are rated G, PG or PG-13 (or the equivalent TV-G, TV-PG or TV-14); conversely, the channel does not broadcast films that are rated R or TV-MA. MovieMax is one of only two Cinemax channels that does not air Max After Dark content. The channel originally launched on May 17, 2001 as WMax, which was targeted at a female audience, and featured dramas, mysteries and classic romance pictures.|
|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.|
|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, airing nightly at 10 p.m. ET.|
In 1991, HBO and Cinemax became the first premium services to offer multiplex channels to cable customers as companions to the main network, these additional services of HBO and Cinemax were initially made available 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 a positive impact on subscriber usage and attitudes, including subscribers' retention of pay cable subscriptions. The first Cinemax multiplex channel, Cinemax 2, was launched on these three systems; Cinemax 3 would eventually make its debut in 1995.
The first major expansion to the multiplex came in 1998, with the rebranding of one multiplex channel and the launch of two additional channels as genre-based services: 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-language dubs of feature films and original series broadcast by the main channel. 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" (or alternately "MultiMax from Cinemax") for several years, but as of 2014[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").
Cinemax HD is a high definition simulcast feed of Cinemax that broadcasts in the 1080i resolution format. In addition to its main channel, Cinemax also operates high definition simulcast feeds of its seven multiplex channels. 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. Cinemax on Demand's rotating program selection incorporates select new titles that are added each Friday, alongside existing program titles held over from the previous one to two weeks.
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 available on the service 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 August 2013, Cinemax – through HBO – maintains exclusive first-run film licensing agreements 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 1980 (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) Summit Entertainment since 2013 and DreamWorks since 1996 (excluding films co-produced with Touchstone Pictures, rights to such films are held by Showtime).
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 former subsidiary and current independently operated studio 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 maintains 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 also ran an annual film festival called The Summer of 1000 Movies, which debuted in 1992 and ran until the mid-2000s, in which the channel ran 1,000 films (many with a similar subject) over the course of each summer without repeats.
Former first-run contracts
HBO/Cinemax's contract with DreamWorks Animation expired after 2012, at which time Netflix assumed pay television 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 the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group). During the 1980s, Cinemax had broadcast films from Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures (both output deals of which expired after 2004) and Orion Pictures; as of February 2013, rival premium channel Starz has an exclusive film output 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 television rights between 1998 and 2008.
Max After Dark
Max After Dark is a late night adult programming block on Cinemax that features licensed softcore pornographic films and original 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 air prior to and following it and also depend on 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 television shows. Because of the block's presence, Cinemax is most commonly given the jocular nickname, "Skinemax". The network itself has acknowledged this by using a play on this term for its 2011 documentary series, Skin to the Max.
The late night adult series that currently air first-run episodes as of 2014[update] are Co-Ed Confidential, Forbidden Science, Lingerie, Life on Top, Femme Fatales, Zane’s The Jump Off, Working Girls in Bed and Topless Prophet (which debuted on May 30, 2014 as the network's first reality series and follows the world of exotic dancing in Detroit, Michigan). Adult films often air alongside these series, though this depends on the Cinemax multiplex channel and sometimes depending on that night's Max After Dark schedule on each channel.
The block originally debuted on May 4, 1984, as a weekly 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 air any adult programming on its main channel before 11:30 p.m. ET. The adult programming featured on Max After Dark is not limited solely to the main Cinemax channel: 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 the 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. It should be noted that FCC jurisdiction only covers channels broadcast on the publicly owned spectrum and not those only available on restricted-access cable networks, which have consequently taken considerably more leeway in their programming, this in part allows Cinemax to carry softcore pornographic programs as well as other forms of adult content within the channel's mainstream programming.
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 launched its second primetime original series, Hunted, in cooperation with BBC One. Alan Ball's Banshee followed in 2013. Series scheduled to premiere in 2014 and/or are in development include Steve Kronish's Sandbox and Steven Soderbergh's The Knick.
||This section may contain an excessive amount of intricate detail that may only interest a specific audience. (September 2013)|
Cinemax's original logo that was used for five years from its 1980 launch featured the channel's name in Avant Garde type on a semi-circular rectangle (this logo was jocularly referred to by network management as resembling a "flying dildo"); 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), variants of the logo used different coloring; 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 set of feature presentation opens debuted in the spring of 1985.
In 1997, the network implemented a new 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 minimalized branding campaign was introduced, with voiceovers for movie promotions and ratings bumpers fully withdrawn from all of the Cinemax networks. The promotions featured Adult Swim-style introductions with white text on black screens, while "up next" bumpers just featured the film title and lead actors with only sound effects and short music clips being played instead of full interstitial music. All channel logos were redesigned; the main Cinemax channel in particular 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 continued to feature logo bugs using their variants of the 1997 logo during films and other programs until 2013.
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- NOTICE TO BRIGHT HOUSE NETWORKS CABLE CUSTOMERS
- LEGAL NOTICE Cinemax Change June 1, 2013 Cinemax is
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- Cinemax Ad
- Cinemax Sessions: Fats Domino & Friends (Fri 7/25/86)[dead link]
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