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As Max Launches in France, Execs Casey Bloys and JB Perrette Talk Olympics Coverage, Tease ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Series and Confirm ‘Euphoria’ Season 3 Time Jump (EXCLUSIVE)

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

While in Paris for the “House of the Dragon” premiere, JB Perrette, president/CEO of global streaming and games at Warner Bros. Discovery, and Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO and Max content, sat down with Variety to discuss hitting the ground running in France.

Max has rolled out in over 65 territories, including 20 across Europe, since its U.S. launch in May 2023, when the streaming service was rebranded after the 2022 merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery. Due to the Olympics — for which Max will offer 3,800 hours of coverage — and lots of exciting projects in the pipeline, Perrette told Variety that the most recent launches are “the best we’ve ever had.”

“In France and across Europe, in any Max market, the only place you’ll be able to get every minute of the Olympics is on Max,” 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. Below, read the full conversation with Perrette and Bloys.

Max launched last month across 20 European markets and is now rolling out in France. What’s your target in terms of subscribers at launch?

JB Perrette: We don’t discuss specific targets, but I would say, it’s funny that a lot gets written about — not just in France, but everywhere — around the streaming wars. “Here comes Max trying to dethrone Netflix.” I mean, honestly, that is never something that we talk about because Netflix is great. It’s a service that obviously is used by a lot of people, has an enormous amount of scale and produces some great content. We don’t look at it as an either/or. We look at it as we are a complement and a differentiated service.

When we’re launching in new markets, we want to be a top three service over the next three to five years. We measure top three as scale, the number of subscribers; engagement, or share of audience in streaming; and profitability. Those are our three objectives.

Where are you ranking today in terms of those three criteria?

JBP: In 2023, the only other service that’s profitable was Netflix, and we were the only other one. Everybody else is losing money. On scale, the thing that gets misunderstood is that Netflix has 270 million subscribers. We’re just under 100. Disney is at 170 or so. But remember that it’s not apples to apples, because we’re in less than half of the markets that they’re available in. So we don’t make predictions as to where we’re going to be.

But as we roll out, we’re still coming in the next two years to U.K., Germany and Italy. We have all of Asia, Africa, Middle East [that] we’re not in. And so we have over half of the addressable markets where we still need to get to. And that’s our plan over the next two years, is to roll out Max in the rest of the world. So we think we have a good shot at getting there. It’s [also because of] the great content that Casey and the team are producing.

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

Casey Bloys: One of the advantages that I think we have as a company, putting aside HBO for a second, is all the Warner Bros. IP. So after “House of the Dragon,” the next big tentpole series that we have coming up will be the “Penguin” with Colin Farrell. That is coming out of 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’ll be in September.

And then after that, I don’t know if we landed on a date yet, but later in the fall we’ll have the “Dune” prequel series that is about the origins of the Bene Gesserit. And then going into ’25, we will have Stephen King’s “It.” Warner Bros. has done two films — we’ve got a prequel series of that planned as well. And then obviously, the “Harry Potter” series, further down the line. We’re still in the process of working with writers on their takes.

What else do you have in development?

CB: There are other properties like “The Conjuring,” which is a big movie franchise that we’re developing into a series, as well as “Crazy Rich Asians.” We’re developing in DC, the “Green Lantern” property, as a series as well.

What’s up with the third season of “Euphoria”?

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

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

CB: It’s the same core cast.

Will you be continuing “The White Lotus” beyond Season 3?

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

Could “Succession” return in the form of a spinoff?

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

You’re here for the launch of Max in France; do you think foreign territories could be delivering iconic shows like these in the future?

CB: Of course. There is no monopoly on the U.S … I think one of the nice things about the Max launch is we do have local originals set up and are continuing that.

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

JBP: This is our third wave of launches. We launched a year ago in the U.S., then in February in Latin America and we started in May in Europe and then here in France. And inevitably, one of the things we’ve learned is that launching with your best content lineup is obviously one of the best ways to get out loudly and powerfully. Frankly, these launches are the best we’ve ever had because we go into “House of the Dragon” Season 2 and then into the Olympics. In France and across Europe, in any Max market, the only place you’ll be able to get every minute of the Olympics is on Max. It’s a huge advantage for us. And then the other thing about sports is that from a platform perspective, doing high volume, high concurrency live events in streaming is still really hard.

Why is it hard to do live events in streaming?

JBP: Netflix had various issues and we’ve had issues in the past as well. So we’ve learned painfully how it can go wrong. Between Champions League finals in the U.K. and Latin America, big sports moments like the NBA playoffs or March Madness in the U.S., you learn a lot. And so quality-wise, it’s a really good way of testing the strength of your platform. And the good news is it’s passed really well. And then we continue to innovate in terms of new features to make the viewing experience of sports on a streaming service where you have more interactive capabilities. You can drop in. Those are great things that make our experience unique to watching it on linear television. And so part of this is also differentiating the proposition on streaming and on Max versus what you can get still on other live linear services, but you won’t get it with as many features as you would on streaming.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Ellise Shafer contributed to this report.

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