HOUSE OF THE DRAGON’S Egregious Content Can’t Save HBO Max

Screenshot from HBO Max website home page

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON’S Egregious Content Can’t Save HBO Max

By Movieguide® Staff

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, a hyperviolent, hypersexual spin-off of GAME OF THRONES, cannot save the floundering HBO Max.

Though it broke the streamer’s record for the most-watched series’ premiere, the platform is losing traction. HBO Max was recently included in the Warner Bros.’-Discovery (WBD) merger.

Per Variety: 

Unfortunately, Wall Street didn’t seem to take much notice. WBD’s stock is still down almost 50 percent from April, when the merger closed; the share price has not topped $14 in more than two weeks. The company’s market cap has also plunged $30 billion since April, a 51 percent drop, staggering even amid this year’s brutal market cap declines.

WBD seemed to anticipate the move would spark backlash: The timing of the annual-plan discount coincided not just with the “Dragon” premiere but the announcement of many titles’ impending removal. HBO Max leadership is likely dreading a subscriber loss as a result of the Great Zaslav Purge, and hoping the discount will stem such a loss.

Those fears may be overblown; the strong ratings for “House of the Dragon” after the “Game of Thrones” divisive final season have once again proven the discrepancy between social media chatter and actual public opinion. But the fact is that WBD is failing miserably at the PR game while also failing to impress Wall Street, and a big hit for HBO doesn’t seem likely to help much. If Zaslav wants to change WBD’s narrative, he’ll need to change the way he’s currently steering it.

HBO Max is wrongfully putting their eggs in this egregious and excessive basket. People do not want the atrocious content in shows like HOUSE OF THE DRAGON. Even star Matt Smith said the show contained too much sexual content for his preference, and mainstream media outlets like BBC say some scenes need to have trigger warnings for their excessive violence.

According to the Movieguide® review, there is very strong violence including graphic scenes of humans having various body parts dismembered, including sexual organs; strong nudity including rear male and female nudity and upper male and female nudity; there strong sex a character is shown committing adultery with a prostitute.

Though streaming does not follow the same guidelines as the box office and it can be difficult to determine success, the same formulas hold true: Audience members want to watch content that appeals to each member of their family. The more inspirational and redemptive content in a series, the more it will succeed.

Each year, Movieguide® publishes an annual Report to the Entertainment Industry that informs studio executives about how foul content affects their bottom line.

“Our results showed first that the most family-friendly movies with no explicit, obscene content earned more than twice as much money as the least family-friendly movies with the most explicit, obscene content, $27.85 million versus only $12.36 million,” Movieguide® Founder and Publisher Dr. Ted Baehr said.

“Also,” he noted, “movies with no sex and no explicit nudity made far more money at the North American box office than movies with some explicit sex and nudity or extremely explicit sex and nudity.”

However, HBO Max is doing the opposite under the merge with WBD. The platform removed several family-friendly entertainment options, including the NOT-TOO-LATE SHOW WITH ELMO and some episodes of SESAME STREET.

As Movieguide® previously reported:

Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming service HBO Max recently announced that it would remove 36 titles from the platform. 

According to an HBO spokesperson, the change in the HBO Max catalog is in preparation for the platform’s eventual merge with Warner Bros. Discovery’s other streaming service, Discovery+.

“As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and discovery+,” HBO Max wrote in a statement. “That will include the removal of some content from both platforms.”

The recent announcement saw the most considerable number of titles removed, including 20 original HBO Max shows like the Sesame Street spinoff, THE NOT-TOO-LATE SHOW WITH ELMO, and “a select group of ‘Sesame Street’ specials.”

If WBD wants HBO Max to succeed, they need to tone down HOUSE OF THE DRAGON and incorporate less inflammatory content that will appeal to the masses.

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Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

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Watch THE GRINCH (2018)
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Watch THE GRINCH (2018)
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