Industry News

“House of the Dragon” is a slick follow-up to “Game of Thrones”

19 August, 2022

On August 21st “House of the Dragon”, the first spin-off from “Game of Thrones”, will have its premiere in America on hbo; it will be released in Britain the following day. To viewers, the prequel tells a tale of civil war and familial betrayal, of conquest, decline and succession. To Hollywood executives and Wall Street investors, the show is part of a story about corporate regimes and the importance of intellectual property.

Throughout its run, “Game of Thrones” was the undisputed ruler of television. Across eight seasons, released between 2011 and 2019, the series accumulated more Emmy wins than any other drama in history. The final season averaged 46m American viewers per episode and, according to Parrot Analytics, a data-science firm, it has remained one of the two most in-demand series globally in the three years since its conclusion. Unsurprisingly, other broadcasters and distributors have sought to replicate this success. Yet despite many efforts in the fantasy or sci-fi genre—including “The Witcher” (Netflix), “Foundation” (Apple tv+) and “The Shannara Chronicles” (mtv)—none has so far reached the heights achieved by “Game of Thrones”. Amazon will be hoping “The Rings of Power”, a lavish prequel series to “The Lord of the Rings” released in September, might prevail where others have failed.

Even hbo has found it challenging to follow up on its own smash hit. In 2017 the network announced that four spin-offs from “Game of Thrones” were in development, the first of which was greenlit a year later. But after shooting the pilot episode, at an estimated cost of between $30m and $35m, an industry record, hbo chose not to move forward. This was a tough loss for at&t, which had recently acquired hbo’s parent company, Time Warner, and hoped to transform hbo into a global streaming competitor to Netflix and Disney+.

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