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Max Execs on ‘Euphoria’ Time Jump, Olympics, Crazy Rich Asians Series




Max Execs on 'Euphoria' Time Jump, Olympics, Crazy Rich Asians Series

It promises to be a big summer for Max in France. Warner Bros.’s standalone streaming service. Discovery finally launches in France and Belgium on Tuesday with a splashy lineup including Season 2 of “House of the Dragon” and coverage of the upcoming Olympic Games starting July 26.

While in Paris for the premiere of “House of the Dragon,” JB Perrette, president/CEO of global streaming and games at Warner Bros. Discovery, and Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO and Max content, with Variety to discuss how we can get started in France.

Max has been rolled out in more than 65 territories, including 20 across Europe, since its US launch in May 2023, when the streaming service was rebranded following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery in 2022. Because of the Olympic Games – for which Max 3,800 hours of coverage – and many exciting projects in the pipeline, Perrette said Variety that the latest launches are “the best we’ve ever had.”

“In France and across Europe, in any Max market, Max is the only place where you can get every minute of the Olympics,” he said. “It’s a huge advantage for us.”

Meanwhile, Bloys offered some insight into what Max has in development, including anticipated shows like “Dune: Prophecy” and the recently delayed third season of “Euphoria,” which he confirmed will not be set in high school. Read the full conversation with Perrette and Bloys below.

Max launched in 20 European markets last month and is now being rolled out in France. What is your goal in terms of subscribers at launch?

JB Perrette: We’re not discussing specific targets, but I would say it’s funny that there’s a lot being written about it – not just in France, but everywhere – around the streaming wars. “Here comes Max trying to dethrone Netflix.” I mean, honestly, that’s never something we talk about because Netflix is ​​great. It’s a service that is clearly used by a lot of people, is hugely scalable and produces great content. We don’t see it as an either/or. We view it as a complementary and differentiated service.

When we launch new markets, we want to be among the top three in the next three to five years. We measure the top three as a scale, the number of subscribers; audience involvement or share in streaming; and profitability. Those are our three objectives.

Where are you in the rankings today in terms of these three criteria?

JBP: In 2023, Netflix was the only other service that was profitable, and we were the only other one. Everyone else loses money. What is widely misunderstood is that Netflix has 270 million subscribers. We’re just under 100. Disney is at 170 or so. But remember, it’s not an apples to apples issue, as we are in less than half of the markets where they are available. So we don’t make any predictions about where we will be.

But as we roll out, we’re still coming to the UK, Germany and Italy over the next two years. We have all of Asia, Africa, the Middle East [that] we’re not in it. And so we have more than half of the addressable markets that we still have to get to. And that is our plan for the next two years: rolling out Max to the rest of the world. So we think we have a good chance of getting there. Are [also because of] the great content that Casey and the team produce.

Speaking of content, what’s in HBO’s pipeline over the next 18 months?

Casey Bloys: One of the advantages I think we have as a company, aside from HBO, is all of Warner Bros. IP. So after ‘House of the Dragon’ the next big tentpole series we have in the pipeline will be the ‘Penguin’ with Colin Farrell. That’s from Matt Reeves’ “The Batman” and it’s fantastic. Just like ‘Peacemaker’ came out of James Gunn’s ‘Suicide Squad’, it’s a really good example of what you can do. That will be in September.

And after that, I don’t know if we’ve had a date yet, later in the fall we’ll have the prequel series “Dune,” which is about the origins of the Bene Gesserit. And as we go into ’25, we have Stephen King’s “It.” Warner Bros. has made two films – we have a prequel series planned for that too. And then of course the ‘Harry Potter’ series, further down the line. We are still working with writers on their recordings.

What else do you have in development?

CB: There are other films like “The Conjuring,” which is a major film franchise that we are developing into a series, and “Crazy Rich Asians.” We are also developing the “Green Lantern” property in DC as a series.

What about the third season of “Euphoria”?

CB: [Creator and writer] Sam [Levinson] working on it. There’s been a lot of back and forth… One of the issues I think Sam is thinking about is that he doesn’t want to be in high school anymore. That’s where it took place and what made sense at the time. So when you take that out, there’s a lot of back and forth about where to set it and how far into the future to set it and all that kind of stuff. But I think he has an idea that he’s excited about, and he’s busy writing it.

Will the main cast – including Zendaya, Jacob Elordi, Sydney Sweeney and Hunter Schafer – return and would you consider continuing the show with a different cast?

CB: It’s the same core cast.

Will you continue with ‘The White Lotus’ after season 3?

CB: I know Mike has a lot of ideas about where it could go. We are fortunate to be able to do business with him. And we have actors who really want to be on the show now because it’s a great opportunity and it’s great writing. So I think as long as he wants to do it, we’ll be along for the ride. He really built a very interesting model of coming from different parts of the world and having a rotating cast.

Could ‘Succession’ return in the form of a spin-off?

CB: Just like I told Mike White, if he wants to do it, I’d take it Elskes Yes [Armstrong’s] lead to that. If for some reason Jesse called and said, “I’ve been thinking about it and I really want to do a spinoff,” I’d say, “Great.” But there are some shows that lend themselves to a “Game of Thrones” [trajectory]. The universe that George [R.R. Martin] has made, has so many different eras and so many different families, and that lends itself to many different recordings. I don’t think “Succession” normally does that. But first and foremost, it would be up to Jesse, and I would follow his lead. I think he needs some time now to figure out what he wants to do, but we’ll see what he wants to do next. He needs some time after the show to relax and think about what he wants to do.

You’re here for the launch of Max in France; Do you think foreign territories can put on iconic shows like this in the future?

CB: Naturally. There’s no monopoly on the US… I think one of the nice things about the Max launch is that we’ve set up local originals and are continuing that.

Do you think launching in Europe with this big slate will help you land better than last year in the US, where it was challenging to make an impact in a crowded market?

JBP: This is our third wave of launches. We launched a year ago in the US, then in Latin America in February, and we launched in Europe in May and then here in France. And inevitably, one of the things we’ve learned is that launching with your best content offering is clearly one of the best ways to go out loud and strong. Honestly, these launches are the best we’ve ever had as we head into Season 2 of ‘House of the Dragon’ and then the Olympics. In France and across Europe, in any Max market, Max is the only place where you can get every minute of the Olympics. It’s a huge advantage for us. And the other thing about sports is that from a platform perspective, hosting high-volume, high-concurrency live events in streaming is still very difficult.

Why is it difficult to do live events via streaming?

JBP: Netflix had several issues and we have had issues in the past. So we have learned painfully how things can go wrong. Between the Champions League finals in Britain and Latin America, big sporting moments like the NBA play-offs or March Madness in the US, you learn a lot. And so in terms of quality, it’s a really good way to test the power of your platform. And the good news is that it went very well. And then we continue to innovate on new features to make the viewing experience of sports on a streaming service where you have more interactive options. You can come by. Those are great things that make our experience unique when you watch it on linear television. And so part of this is also differentiating the proposition on streaming and on Max versus what you can still get on other live linear services, but you don’t get it with as many features as you can with streaming.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Ellise Shafer contributed to this report.