The wear and tear was starting to show. Fatigue setting in. The formula exhausted. It happens when you are slow to recognize opportunity, not committed to victory for all who play well. The audience knows it and sometimes they rebel.
I watched the Hunger Games, did you? The powers fed the hungry and the hungry continued to want more. Then Katniss arrived, tentative, distrustful, but honest. She entered the arena, not with the same packaging. She came in trailing fire. A few understood her possibilities right away.
In the end, she won on her own terms. Though the terrain was treacherous, her supporters kept her moving along. And she rewarded them, with theatre and spectacle - drama unforeseen. But when the powers lost hold of the reins and she created her own ending, a sacrifice was made. The audience wanted a victor, but they were only allowed one.
Surely the powers must know, that even if the formula works, somewhere along the way it won't, and the smart ones are those who deliver the new, even before its wanted...