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“Franchise fatigue”—or more precisely superhero fatigue—is a topic at the forefront of the minds of Hollywood insiders and onlookers, particularly after yesterday’s report on the scrambling going on at Marvel to right the ship. Is it an issue of quality or quantity? Is it an issue of bloated budgets or convoluted lore? Is it even really an issue at all? Whatever the case, it is not something that HBO has to worry about, according to network CEO Casey Bloys.
HBO is of course stewarding a few franchises at the moment, including the television-based Game Of Thrones shows as well as film spin-offs for IT and Dune and the DC Universe. Nevertheless, Bloys doesn’t worry about people getting tired of his TV shows. (He worries about people criticizing them, but that’s another story.) “Remember a couple years ago everybody was kind of obsessed with, every time we would put a Game Of Thrones script into development, [saying] “oh my God, they’re doing another one, another one, another one.” And I would always say… I don’t have a plan where I go, ‘Okay, I need three Game Of Thrones on the schedule by this time.’ I’ve always said, we’re gonna do the shows that we think are good,” Bloys said at an HBO event attended by The A.V. Club. “So after the first show, we developed a ton of scripts, and House Of The Dragon came up being the one we felt most excited by. That’s kind of how we approach everything.”
Asked about DC’s stable of superheroes and the audience’s apparent waning interest in the genre, Bloys said “I think the key even within DC is trying to tell different stories, different styles and not do the same type of show over and over and over again. I would say, Peacemaker is a very different show tonally than Penguin. So, there’s not a uniformity to storytelling and I think that helps.” Then one more subtle dig at Marvel: “I don’t know that it’s necessarily tentpole fatigue as much as it is a sameness of storytelling.” Heyo!
That’s big talk for a studio that has struggled to launch its own interconnected cinematic superhero universe, but Bloys is the TV guy, so DC’s repeated failures in theaters is literally not his department. He can only speak to HBO and Max Originals, and “if you let quality be your guide… that’s a pretty good way to balance it,” in his opinion. “I think not starting with a preset, ‘We need five tentpoles’... any sort of prescribed amount to fill, and just focusing on quality is a good way to do it.”
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