An epic battle is about to be waged and it is not between belligerent houses or mythical creatures.
It’s the battle of mega TV franchises, and it’s going to be a very tiring few months for audiences being asked to invest deeply in not one but four massive genre series, which together cost something in the neighborhood of a billion dollars. .
The main event is the confrontation between a Game of Thrones precursor, House of the Dragonand a Lord of the Rings precursor, The rings of power.
And if you think the media is stirring up this TV war, consider this: Around this time last year, Amazon announced it would be premiering The rings of power on September 2, 2022. Everyone got 13 months notice. Then HBO popped in and chose August 21 as the date for House of the Dragonlike he spoils a fight.
The two shows will air their finals in the same week. That is a conscious choice – and not everyone can emerge victorious. It’s going to be a sh**fight.
It’s like Marvel and Warner Bros decided to release an Avengers and Justice League movie on the same day.
Both shows bet hugely on the appeal of two established brands with entrenched fans. But will the audience commit to two highly demanding, complex fantasy shows?
Or will fans decide they prefer elves to dragons, or cunning royals to the rise of Sauron, and set aside the other little time they have each week for something completely different, perhaps a workplace comedy? Each series aims for the same group of fans.
The fact that they are both high fantasy shows would have been unimaginable 25 years ago when the genre was considered a geek-only niche.
And yet the greatest cultural flashpoints in this relatively young century have been fantasy. Harry Potter is a juggernaut of books, movies, theme parks, merchandise and stage shows. Game of Thrones has dominated the TV zeitgeist in a way that nothing else has the same degree of obsession, including The Sopranos and Breaking Bad.
Part of that is because Game of Thrones came together at a time of increased online pop-cultural discourse, when TV recaps and Reddit were on the rise, fueling the level of fervor around the show. The series spawned an online industry.
But it’s also because fantasy epics are now mainstream and every studio and streamer wants one, or two or three or four or five. And they are willing to pay for it.
The rings of power has the honor of being the most expensive TV series ever made. In addition to the $250 million paid by Amazon for the rights to JRR Tolkien’s Second Age, the production budget was reportedly $465 million. With eight episodes, that’s $58 million per episode.
Keep in mind that The rings of power doesn’t have big name actors who would force big payouts so the money goes almost entirely into production, splashing big on world building.
When that first trailer dropped at Comic-Con, you couldn’t tell it didn’t look at least spectacular.
House of the Dragonwhich will be streamed in Australia on Binge and Foxtel*, is relatively meager, coming in at between $150 million and $200 million for the 10-episode season, which equates to less than $20 million per episode.
Fantasy shows don’t come cheap, especially when 17 dragons are involved.
At the center of it all are two scrappier but no less ambitious contenders in the wings, the sandmana highly anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s legendary comics, and Andoroa Star Wars streaming series.
That’s the insanely timed state of affairs that a Star Wars TV show isn’t even the second most anticipated upcoming streaming series.
That’s probably why Disney blinked this morning, saw the unhinged landscape and said, “Yeah, no, we don’t want to be in that,” and pushed Andoro‘s release by three weeks in late September. Smart choice.
Disney would have done Andoro no favors if it had kept its original August 31 premiere date, sandwiched between House of the Dragon and The rings of power. It’s not high fantasy, but sci-fi is a related genre.
Moving it to September 21, Andor will drop three episodes at once and it will be a little bright. Disney hopes fans will love their House of the Dragon and The rings of power choices and settled in, ready to consider a third option.
And Netflix also has a horse in the race, the sandmanwhich will be released on August 5. Netflix hopes so the sandman release early enough to avoid the main battle.
the sandman is a high stakes story about Dream, the creature responsible for our subconscious state, who is held captive and held captive for a century, unleashing chaos across the realms.
It’s not the most accessible story, and the title has been in various stages of production since the 1990s, landing on the desks of several filmmakers and on-screen talent, including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Roger Avary and Terry Gilliam.
It’s only now, after Jackson’s runaway commercial successes Lord of the Rings trilogies and the original Game of Thrones series that TV executives even trust to green-light and fund a show based on a relatively esoteric comic book series. the sandman reportedly cost $165 million dollars to make.
Decision makers have witnessed the hunger for genre art and they want to tap into that desire of the public by throwing a lot of money behind these works.
Everyone is trying to find the next one Game of Thronesincluding Game of Thrones. HBO feverishly hopes House of the Dragon will be able to recapture the same obsessive fandom as the original series.
Naturally, Game of Thrones happened only because of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings.
Like Jaime and Cersei, it’s all very incestuous. Like Jaime and Cersei, everyone is about to do battle. Wonder whose head will be crushed by a caving ceiling.
the sandman can be seen on Netflix from August 5 House of the Dragon can be seen on Binge and Foxtel from 21 August The rings of power will be on Amazon Prime Video September 2nd and Andoro will be available on Disney+ from September 21.
*Binge and Foxtel are largely owned by News Corp, publisher of this website