Subscription TV services usher in era of blockbuster TV

Streaming services continue to pose an existential challenge to traditional cinema as the industry enters the era of blockbuster TV.

Game of Thrones was the series that acted as a springboard for the change in how entertainment is consumed. The fantasy drama is based on the novels of George R. R. Martin and ultimately became HBO’s most successful show.

The rise of blockbuster TV

The power of blockbuster TV is demonstrated by two recent releases from the fantasy genre. HBO’s House of the Dragon, the follow-up to Game of Thrones, and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, a TV series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel The Lord of the Rings, which is available on Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service.

Fantasy shows are currently experiencing great popularity, so it is easy to see why HBO and Amazon have decided to capitalize on the genre. Fantasy is a popular theme in entertainment with video game titles such as Monster Hunter Rise and Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Alliance. The theme can also be found in the iGaming industry with game titles such as Bird of Thunder, Cash Encounter, and, in particular, the game title Arcane Elements, which features fire dragons. These slots are available to play on online casinos in Canada with the best games, demonstrating the ubiquity of the fantasy genre in modern entertainment.

The financial risk of blockbuster TV

Blockbuster TV is not without risk. The rights to The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power cost Amazon $250 million and with $750 million mooted for production costs, the TV show represents a $1 billion gamble.

In comparison, HBO has been able to limit expenditure on House of the Dragon to below $20 million for each episode. From their many years of experience producing Game of Thrones, the production team at the US pay-TV network has been able to create elaborate shows in a much more effective and efficient manner.

One formula for platforms is to concentrate on sequels and spinoffs of proven successes, although Netflix took an alternative path by releasing The Gray Man, a spy film directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, which attempts to challenge the hegemony of the James Bond movie franchise. The aim of the movie, which stars Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, and Ana de Armas, and had a limited theatrical release, is to provide the US streaming platform with its very own franchise.

But it would be foolish to write off the cinema industry completely. Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel starring Tom Cruise, has grossed over $1.4 billion globally and almost $700 million in the US, making it the most successful movie of 2022.

Blockbuster TV is likely to play an important role in subscription TV as services battle to find the next big TV show. But there is always a risk involved in megabucks shows and traditional cinema has demonstrated that blockbuster cinema is alive and well. The battle for the future will not just involve streaming services, but also traditional cinema.


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