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June 05 2006

Title of the next Serenity comic book mini-series revealed. According to the latest All The Rage column, it's going to be called "Better Days" and is "said to explore some plotlines that weren't used in the original series". Adam Hughes is rumoured to be doing the cover art. There's also mention of talk about a "true sequel" to Serenity.

It'll be interesting to see if the explored plotlines will be the same ones mentioned in the Official Firefly Companion, Vol One. As according to the latest Titan press release:

Firefly: The Official Companion also delves into the process behind the show’s unique storylines, talking in-depth with Executive Producer Tim Minear and the writing staff about the evolution of the show – including the stories that were never filmed!

I would love a Serenity sequel so much

But Im just feeling like theres no point in getting my hopes up for it like I did with the Buffyverse movies, only to have it all come crashing down, worse than before

Glass half full or half empty?
Remind me to pre-order the Official Companion. *looks longingly at calendar, hoping the pages will turn fast like in a movie montage* ;-)
"Glass half full or half empty?"

Eh. Just drink it. The glass'll be empty, but at least you'll be happy.

Fingers crossed that they'll get Will Conrad back as the artist.
I'd love to see Adam Hughes as the cover artist, I loved the cover he did for Once More With Feeling.
When is this due out?
This is my first post to Whedonesque after browsing for more than a year (membership is hard to get!). Huzzah.

Couple things. Excited that Firefly/Serenity can live on in the comics, and even more happy that the stories will be told during the TV show timeline. I admit that my zeal for Firefly died a little during that test screening back in May, so hopefully the comics can rekindle my love.

Also, where does the talk for a sequel come from? Does anyone have the official numbers for the Serenity DVD sales (worldwide, not just domestic, as the international market is becoming more and more important in Hollywood... just look at Da Vinci Code). Don't get me wrong, I'd be more than happy for a sequel to be made, but I will admit I am wary of any internet posting about "talks for a sequel" that doesn't come from an official source.
Since Joss Whedon sometimes checks this site out, I was hoping he'd read this! With Serenity having been filmed at a budget of 38 milliion dollars, and talk of a Serenity sequel being viewed as somewhat improbable...I thought I'd weigh in!!! The most practical thing to do, is to try and film 2 to 3 sequels back to back ala Lord Of The Rings but with a scaled down budget...akin to filming 6 to 8 tv episodes in sequence.

As many of you may know, the average production schedule of a hour long tv episode is 9 days...a 21 day shoot, or three episode worthy production schedule on average would produce about 135 minutes of live action footage...approximately enough for 1 film. Double and triple that, and you have enough film footage for 3 films! Look, that's a 63 day shoot for 3 films!!! If Joss could simply obtain a 60 million dollar budget, that would average out to 20 million per film...and by shooting them all at the same time, they could use the same sets, costumes and crew, thus resulting in a major cost savings!!! This would benefit all 3 films' production values.

Now, if Joss was only able to obtain a budget matching that of Serenity...said budget would average out to about 13 million dollars per film. Certainly these would be workable budgets considering what Joss and crew were able to pull off with the 2 million dollar budgets per episode of Firefly...or what Ron Moore has accomplished with the much bigger cast and scale, set wise, for the new Galactica!!! This, in addition to all of the new digital effects techniques that excist, and judging from the quality of what Joss Whedon and Ron Moore have been able to pull off with their repective tv shows, having shared the same FX company, a dose of creative writing can easily make up for any budgetary shortfalls!!! Please consider this...as a viable plan for future Serenity productions. In the end, should the first sequel film to be released under such a plan become a major success...the studio could always add an enhanced FX budget as well as order additional live action or effects shots and sequences for the other films, already sitting in the can!!! This is cost effective film making at its best!!!

Finally, by casting several A-list stars in villanous roles or side parts, this will guarantee the sequel films much needed exposure from the media and the varied talk shows which Serenity was denied. I mean...did we see any of Serenity's stars invited to be guests on any of the major talk shows? Not one!!! And according to former NBA superstar Michael Jordan...a tv interview appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno translates into 2 million dollars in sales!!! With Serenity's cast denied interviews on any of the major night time talk shows and morning shows, they lost at least 14 million dollars in opening weekend revenue thanks to Universal Studio's lack of promotion in this respect!!! That won't happen if we get some stars cast in supporting roles and or roles portraying villians, as such programs will be more than eager to interview them.

I hope you will seriously review my proposal, as I have placed much thought into its genesis!!!

[Edited - welcome BlueGloves! No need to sign. Thanks.]

[ edited by SoddingNancyTribe on 2006-06-06 04:49 ]
I saw the Serenity DVD is still in the charts in my local Tescos.

It made me happy.
Here's hoping for Serenity II.
I have never really given up hope. Whilst many of the Buffyverse actors have moved on at this point, like SMG and David Boreanaz, although maybe not permanently, all of the Firefly cast are keen to be involved in any future sequel or series. Joss has more stories to tell about those characters and that universe than the Buffyverse, which although completely full of potential and interesting, he at least had a chance to explore thoroughly, whereas the surface of Firefly has only been scratched.

Add to that Serenity's fairly impressive critical attention and sustained interest from fans, which will hopefully continue to show in DVD sales as word-of-mouth spreads and chances are a sequel would perform even better than Serenity. After all, studios are always keen to rely on a series with an established fan base rather than strike out with an entirely new concept. If Serenity and Firefly keep gaining more fans and sustain strong sales I do think a sequel would be appealing to Universal, and Joss and the cast are keen, so it's just a matter of whether the sales are high enough to convince the movie execs.

And great news about the comic, I shall be reading with interest. "Those Left Behind" was great, although a little short.
I dig ur well thought out plan BlueGloves. I hope that Joss reads that and lines that up for occurence. I would love me some more Serenity...and shittier movies have earned sequels. And we've got to have hit the 80 Million mark by now. Maybe if they had any Serenity merchandising we could have helped there too.

And I don't think that time is really a factor as far as Serenity goes. With Buffy, it's different because a handful of the cast members aren't supposed to age. But they kept making Star Trek movies with an aging android Data played by Brent Spiner. But David Boreanez looks a lot younger on Bones than he did for the last three seasons of Angel. He said he would do a feature film and hopefully Sarah Michelle Gellar will get over herself and lend herself to a big screen flick of Buffy which would absolutely be a wonderful, huge success if Joss helmed it.

Long live all of the 'verses.

The Browncoats will rise again.

As will the Blackcoats, if we are still using that term.
I really really hope there is a Serenity sequel, but I won't get my hopes up just yet.
"Sarah Michelle Gellar will get over herself"


Gah, I was really hoping that I'd never stumble upon Sarah-hate again--for a little while atleast. I don't think it's an ego thing at all with her. She was Buffy for seven years. IMHO, it's her right to want to expand her horizons and move on.

Back on topic, I pretty much gave up on the sequel, but not in a negative "it's never gonna happen way". I think with Joss' plate soo very full right now, the last thing he needs is more of a Serenity sequel push from us fans.
Serenity will probably become a big(ger) cult thing and get remade in 30 years time.
I thought the article was saying the sequel was going to be in comic form?
*Imagine the likes of Sir Ian McKellen as a Blue Sun Corp. executive or staring as an original operative.

*Comedian/actor Dane Cook as a new member of the crew of Serenity.

*Don Cheadle or Terrence Howard as an operative.

* Jodi Foster as a important player of some sort. Perhaps a passenger aboard Serenity.

*Evangeline Lilly as Mel's ex girlfriend and a bad ass pilot!

* Lucy Liu, Chow Yun-Fat and Sandra Oh as some of the leaders of the Alliance.

*Jet Li...as a rogue operative!

*Such a cast would be great! We might even see such actors as Laurence Fishburn and Morgan Freeman in pivotal roles.

Although I am aware of budget constaints in respect to casting, a number of these roles can be filled via giving some of these actors limited roles. You can get a great deal of footage on a actor with a role that only requires them to show up for a week or two week's worth of filming. These are the little known tricks of the trade. Many high priced actors are willing to do small roles for upwards of a couple million dollars per week. Just reference legendary actor Sean Connery's reputation for taking such roles. These roles of course, could be spread out throughout the sequels...some serving as mere cameos in one film or more, and others serving as fully realized performances in others...ala "Kill Bill" volumes 1 & 2.

Like it or not...hugh marquee names secure product recognition among the media and the public and should secure vastly higher totals for opening weekend box office...and that's a good thing! Serenity's opening was 10 million dollars plus...if we can get such an opening up to 24 or even 35 million dollars, we will have ourselves a real box office franchise with the Serenity sequels that are certain to shock all the naysayers
out there, as well as the entire film industry as a whole!!!

Should the sequel become a hit...the original tv cast of Firefly will be deemed stars and will attract more interview requests from the major media then they can possibly respond to...thus giving them the kind of star power Hugh Jackman, of the X-Men franchise, now enjoys. This will allow them to easily promote further releases of any Serenity related sequels. It's a win, win situation for the cast, the studio, Joss Whedon and most importantly, you, the fans!!! Spread the word about my two posts...lets make this thing happen now...big time!!!
Hmm. Joss churning out endless sequels to Serenity vs Joss doing new things.

Sorry, but I'm the side of new things.
To Biki: Joss Whedon can easily do both. By assigning a team of writers on the sequels and enlisting the aid of new directors ala Firefly's co-executive producer...all Joss has to do is turn in script outlines and sit in the executive producer's chair in order to insure quality control over the projects.

This will allow him to direct projects like Wonder Woman, Goners, and produce new tv series! As you can see from my proposal, if Joss were to shoot the Serenity sequels on a tv schedule, he can successfully produce 3 sequels back to back in 63 days of live action shooting...hence, giving him plenty of time to do other work elsewhere!!!
I never mean to express Sarah-hate and my comment was not meant to seem that. I love SMG and usually defend her. But when it has come to the subject of revisting Buffy she has never given a response and her only answer came through Freddie Prinze Jr. Also, I find it extremely tacky that she didn't express to the cast or anyone that she was quitting the show and everyone found out through an Entertainment Weekly cover that they would be out of the job. Also her smiling under the huge letter 'BUFFY QUITS!' Was a really rude way to present things. Not that she was created that headline or title but I felt like it was really rude that she stood behind it nonetheless. She was absolutely Buffy for seven years and I worship the ground she walks on for this, however, I feel like she could be more respectful. It's also extremely tacky that she didn't even show up to the wrap party.

Go Serenity! Woo-Hoo!
Blue Glove, I hate to say this, but it doesn't look like your casting or budgeting ideas are practical. Doing movies back to back is not the same as making a TV series, even if it seems it might be. The economics are utterly different.

[ edited by swanland on 2006-06-13 04:14 ]
I have to say I don't know if putting a lot of stars in big or small roles would make a Serenity sequel come along any faster. What we love about the 'Verse is the BDHs, but what the studio loves is BDP (big damn profit)! Since Serenity didn't make BDP, would Universal (or Fox) pay for any movie to be made, no matter who you try to cast as the villain?
We will never get a sequel based on Serenity itself. It simply won't be profitable enough. Ever. Even with DVD sales and merchandising, I just can't see how this movie could possibly hit a benchmark profitability number.

The only way it will happen is if Joss has a couple profitable movies under his belt and Nathan, Summer, Gina, et al become huge movie stars.
I think it will happen, but not for at least 5 years. The fandom will build, and Joss will become huge rock star with WW. That's my prediction at least.

Yippee, more Firefly comics. Woo Hoo!
I think that's the most realistic sounding prediction yet, TamaraC! There's still hope -- but a lot of other things would have to happen first, so there's no reason to hold our breath (or write postcards!). Keeping the 'Verse alive through comics is a good start, as far as I'm concerned. (But I also want that shiny, shiny Firefly Official Companion!) ;-)
To Swanland:

I thank you for your comments, but you have misunderstood the wealth of my greatest intentions, at least in part. Certainly, for someone like Jodie Foster...we would be talking a hefty 5 million dollar pay check and a hefty role of some sort! As for other actors, I do agree with you that Lucy Liu, for instants, can be hired for a much smaller salary. I am fully aware of that, but choose to allow Joss and his money crunchers at the studio run those numbers for themselves.

In regard to Chow Yun-Fat, Sandra Oh, Terrence Howard, Dane Cook and Evangeline Lilly...well, that's just good casting. And neither of us can deny the fact that they regularly get booked on the big talk shows and morning shows...that's a part of my strategy. To force the big wigs at the networks to place people who are cast in Serenity related sequels on their shows in order to generate much needed publicity...thus reaching the
highiest available target audience for tent pole films. The kind of people that buy lots of movie tickets and create box office block busters by merely showing up in the first place
at theatres...and returning for repeat showings!!!

Now, to address your concerns about this being simply a tv show all over again. Well, thanks to the digital FX revolution, we can now do what George Lucas was attempting to pull off with his Star Wars: Special Editions...but in reverse. Yes reverse! Lucas was working off of the prints of a series of older films which were completed 20 years before. I however, am suggesting applying the same type of technology to films that are, or will be in effect new to the market place. Films that will not be seen by the public until their release, several years up the road!!!

Why not film the Serenity sequels with skeleton budgets and as expediently as possible. Once in the can...they can be tweaked, adjusted and enhanced, any way Joss sees fit over the next 5 or 6 years until they are released in theatres. In other words, Joss would be essentially locking in the cast so that they will never age ala the way cast of Buffy has. For practical purposes, Joss would be in essence handling the production like Pixar handles recording its celebrity voice casts for its animated films...recording their voices 4 1/2 years before the completion of the films and using the pre-recorded voices as a template or framework for further production in post...but, in Joss' case, employing live action footage and audio as pre-filmed on the set.

Joss Whedon can add FX, additional live action sequences, digital or live sets, or even matte paintings, at his whim, over the years to come...as dictated by the performance of the release of the 1st and 2nd sequels, etc. Hence, the box office performance will ultimately determine whether he expands or contracts the productions in the post production arena as far as any additional budgets are concerned! If these movies tank, well, the budget will remain the same...and they'll make nice DVD packages. But if they succeed...every film maker and exec
in Hollywood will be copying this business model for the foreseeable future...and beyond!!!

This will allow Joss to release a new Serenity sequel about every 2 or 3 years, or at least until he exhausts the number of films in his film vault!!! And for the prying fans, Joss can always film alternate endings to throw off any potential spoilers!!!
Personally I would rather see any Serenity sequels done with the loving time, care and quality that the first one was made with. I would rather see casting that is right for the role, rather than getting a big name in just to boost the profits. And I would prefer it to be made with as little FX as the original was. I would hate to see 2 to 3 Serenity sequels just flung together and filmed in as little time as possible just to save money. I would rather have no sequel at all than that. As for the cast aging, well people age. What would be the point of a Serenity film set 5 years after the original when all the cast look the same as the did 5 years previously?? These characters are human, not vampires, and therefore would age.

Just my point of view, but I believe in quality over quantity any time.
In lieu of - or in addition to - a Serenity sequel, I've often fantasized of seeing all of the BDH cast together in an entirely unique ensemble production. Like an actors troupe putting on a different show. The precedent examples which comes to mind are the films "A Fish Called Wanda" and "Fierce Creatures" with John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline and Michael Palin.

Honestly, I think about this all the time!
Let me ask you a question...as a fan of Firefly...I would assume that you like or love the quality of the series...a show produced with 9 days assigned for the live action production schedule per episode. The same is true of the new Galactica. Some would argue that television is now producing better dramas and comedies these days, than the movie studios are. Studios which have on average 2 1/2 years prep time per film...and more time for too many cooks to enter the kitchen and spoil the soup!!!...Witness the mess which is X-3 for example, or Fantastic Four!!!

However, great tv series with massively smaller budgets are beginning to out shine huge block buster movies. Just look at Firefly, the new Galactica, The Sopranos, Sex In The City, Deadwood, 24, Alias, Buffy, Gray's Anatomy, Veronica Mars, Lost, Medium, The Dead Zone, Weeds, The L-Word, Rome, The West Wing, etc. In fact, some Firefly fans have suggested that although they love the movie Serenity, that they prefer the series episodes better.

So quality is not an issue here. Can the Star Wars prequels measure up to Firefly or the new Galactica when it comes to quality or story telling? The answer is a clear no!!! And while we are on the subject, the best films, in movie history were actually filmed with short schedules...These fast production schedules having been the norm of the day in the 30's and 40's never hurt the quality of those golden age film classics. And quite frankly, in respect to the Verse, I prefer the cinematography seen in Firefly as opposed the dark under exposed effect we saw in the movie that it spawned...Serenity! I seem to recall Joss Whedon stating that the studio wanted him to compromise on his vision...to make Serenity more digestible to the wider audience story wise.

With a smaller budget and less risk for the studio to make the sequels as I have suggested above...this will cut the unnecessary studio tampering out of the equation as studio execs tend to micro manage the bigger budgeted films, not the smaller films...and independants. They couldn't care less about them...thus giving film makers that create them more freedom to experiment...as well as push subversive dogma and other controversial subtext as Joss Whedon often does with his stories!!!

Let's face it...we are the Browncoats and the studio system is, for want of a better term, The Alliance. They want to meddle in everyone's business...in their brains. Let's be like River Tam for once...and resist!!! If we fly under their radar just enough to get the sequels produced and distributed...that means we win!!! It's the difference between Star Wars, The Terminator and The Matrix before the studio brass got interested in them...and the sequels of those movies (and in Star Wars' case, Return Of The Jedi and the prequels) after the studios execs got too involved in the process with Ewoks...and pushing toys and video games...and more toys and more video games, etc.!!!
I'm having a thought here...Barbossa.

Blue Gloves. Your enthusiasm is wonderful but I must share with you my thoughts.

The man of Serenity is Nathan Fillion. The rest of the cast is as beautiful and remarkable as he, but he is the poster boy in the literal sense. Would filling in big name stars that you are pitching mean that the story would not be about our people but about these others. Would this be along the lines of Jack Nicholson promoting Little Shop or Horrors or Matt Damon promoting EuroTrip?

I notice that when you write, you write very much. I understand as many people do. You speak like a producer and I wonder if you area producer who had an idea about how to sell Serenity to a wider audience and wanted to run it by the Browncoats in secret by creating an account. I notice you have just begun to post recently. This producer character of who I am assigning your post name (purely just for the sake of running with this thought), you ask Joss what a name that the Browncoats will notice and relate to would be. Joss said, "Blue Gloves" in an attempt to subtly warn us that this is voice telling us a feasible seeming plot of Serenity coming but almost at the expense of its trueness.

As for Feature films based on Serenity. NO ONE will write and direct these films than Joss Whedon. No one, I say.

This message shouldn't sound bitter but I just felt like being sarcastic in those moments. Love the enthusiam for more Serenifly.

If someone doesn't own all of the Joss Whedon DVD sets but perhaps would like to...definately do so. That would be sweet if the sales were like BOOM. I wish time could stop and Joss could make a million things. Y'argh to my patience...not the one who shot Mal...oh deary me.

Wooo hoo! Props to Serenity and the Firefly verse and curse the idea that the story may not be able to expand but bless the serenity that I am given in order to accept this story as its final.

Angel ends perfectly. Flat out. Buffy too, I'd say. The last scene with River and Mal could definately be the beautiful swan song that the story was meant to end with. If there was an uplifting boom on the mast of ship with Tom Cruise at the helm and it was "Serenity" movie I would be like...wow. Why did life take turn?

Sagas ruined: Star Wars, X-Men...that's all I can think of right now.

This becoming an unscattered rant. Let's all definately keep raising the hopes and buzz for a Serenity sequel. Our enthusiasm will at least still show Joss and peoples that the interest is still there.


I WANT BUFFY AND ANGEL MOVIES TOOO!!!


End the War. Peace on Earth.

P.S. As one who loves the Ewoks...I really don't think it's feasible to knock Return of the Jedi which is an amazing film. Lawrence Kasdan is an amazing writer and the structure of that film is staggeringly moving. A lot of people didn't like the Ewoks...and just because one doesn't like an alien race in the movie does not diminish it's quality. And the idea that tiny bear creatures were crushing the heads of men and shoot arrows is amazing. The Ewoks were cute. They were terrifying. The only cute one was Wicket and the baby. The rest were really effing scary. And if the ewoks were a marketing plow then why is there very few Ewok dolls. SO FEW. You are lucky if you can find one. And the Ewok Adventures were wonderful low budget sci-fi adventures in the vein of Legend and the Dark Crystal.

Please...when you make a claim against Return of the Jedi...speak your clear mind for that can be considered blasphemy to many people.

[ edited by Dolphin Tamer on 2006-06-06 09:11 ]
Give it five to ten years, people. It won't happen before then no matter the passion of the fans.
Wow. A Whedonesque membership and news on the Serenity comics all in the one day. :D

And on the topic of sequels...Joss has a lot of commitments over the next few years - WW, Goners, Astonishing X-Men, etc. - so he won't have time to work on Serenity II much more than throwing some ideas onto paper. Once he's wrapped all those up Serenity will have make oodles of profits and Universal will be more willing to do a sequel.
White Knight. You are wise like the man for whom I assume you take your name after.
I've often fantasized of seeing all of the BDH cast together in an entirely unique ensemble production.

That would *rock*, napua. I think we've tossed the idea around on some threads here when people talk about parties Joss has had where he's asked the BDHs to do a reading of Shakespeare. (For some reason, A Midsummer Night's Dream comes to mind -- OK, 'cause I had to read it last year, but it would still rock!) A Fish Called Wanda (which also rocks!) is a great example.

What with all the rockin', and all. ;-)
Hello world.

I recently broke down the Serenity figures at Buffista's. Realistically, it took just under a third of it's production budget on release (worldwide). Now, compare that to say - Garfield (which is getting a sequel) - that took about $200m.

I believe genre movies can be profitable, and I believe (like, 110%) that Serenity will turn a profit for Universal. I haven't met anybody who regrets making it, and I know a lot of the people involved are proud of that movie.

Unfortunately, though, it's just not the kind of numbers you make sequels with. Like, at all. The DVDs did some good numbers, from the initial fan rush to the 'I'll check it out on DVD' factor -- but as soon as Universal's advertising machine stopped for the DVDs, they disappeared off the sales charts.

Or, in shorter form, I don't think it's worth getting peoples hopes up about a Serenity sequel. If somebody indicates they want to have another stab at it and provide the funding, great. But right now, I'm just being proud of that movie.
Hear, hear gossi. Much as i'd love a sequel, I figure we've had one more film than, by normal Hollywood standards, we should've had and I reckon that puts us one up on the universe.

Not often you can say that in this life ;).

(clearly genre movies can be profitable - anyone heard of a little franchise called 'Star Wars' ? ;) - but Serenity's problem was partly that it wasn't a genre movie it was a genres movie and that made it harder to sell to the great unwashed)
gossi, thank you for being the voice on reason in this topic!

Plus, Saje, Star Wars came out a long time ago when people were more likely to be open to movies set in space or the future, etc...people now-a-days just want to see stupid comedies with naked women and bathroom jokes...just not in the same scene.

And as far as the "get-a-list-stars-in-the-sequels" idea? I feel all kinds of eeek. (one of) The reason(s) Serenity is so fantastic is because it didn't have to rely on stars to get made. No one knew who our BDHs were. I'm sure millions more would have seen it if just ONE of the nine was a "celebrity" or house-hold name. But honestly, I'm glad there wasn't.
If Star Wars wasn't so revolutionary and mind blowing for its time, it wouldn't have been as huge as it is today. If it was just another sci-fi flick, people would know about it maybe a little bit more than Serenity due to the marquee. Just a guess.
Good to hear from you, gossi and Saje both, on this thread. I certainly can't think of any other case ever where the entire cast of a cancelled television series (and cancelled after just 11 eps aired) went straight into a movie. Yeah, there was an X-Files film while they were still on the air, but X-Files was a years-long hit by that time (and, in fact, I think that film kind of lessened the success of the series because it was so confusing, IMO) -- but that was it, period. Not Friends, not Everybody Loves Raymond, not The West Wing, not NYPD Blue -- zip, nobody, nada ever did this before. Gotta love our BDHs, especially including Joss! :-)

But gossi is absolutely, positively right -- despite the high quality of Serenity, despite our love of Serenity, it just did not make blockbuster money, and that just does not earn a sequel in the Hollywood equation. No cost-cutting can change that. It's not that the studios are saying, "It would cost too much for a sequel, can you make it cheaper?" I remember seeing article after article praising how inexpensively they were able to make Serenity! Nope. It's not about saving a few million off the price of making it; they're just not gonna put the tens of millions into a project that has proven it won't earn the money back. A Jodie Foster guest role won't suddenly get millions of people to come see a film about the aftermath of a civil war in the future where people still carry guns that shoot bullets and wear brown deerskin coats and say "I aim."

Yeah, I'll always hope that a few years from now, Joss will be such a superstar because of WW and Goners and other good stuff, and Nathan and maybe Morena and Summer, too, will be big successful well-known stars, and maybe that will change things. But that's not a guarantee. As gossi says, let's just be proud of the movie we have. And go to the comic book store for more Jossy goodness! ;-)
If you hadn't said "entire cast", I'd gone with the Police Squad show being turned into The Naked Gun. Would Leslie Nielsen have portrayed Mal better? Food for thought, methinks.
As always, Simon hits upon the real subtext of this topic - POLICE SQUAD.

Also, regarding the whole mainstream people in a sequel thing, I believe the idea was tossed around for Serenity. We all know The Operative was originally planned to be a 'lead' name, but here's Mr Universe from the casting sheet, back in 2004;

"
[MR. UNIVERSE] An unkempt young man, sleep-deprived, over-caffeinated and kinda sweet, he lives in an empty industrial complex on a deserted moon. Accompanied only by his lovebot, Mr. Universe is the ultimate information junkie, monitoring pretty much everything in the universe (hence his name) through a variety of video feeds and monitors. An old buddy of Mal, Mr. Universe knows he’ll only hear from his pal if he’s in mortal danger and needs a secret code -- or something -- to get him out of the latest spitstorm...LEAD/CAMEO 3 scenes."

So, Captain Jack Sparrow for Mr Universe, then.

In a way, I liked the lack of named actors in Serenity if I'm honest - it probably helped keep the box office for the movie down, but the idea of seeing Morgan Freeman running around with a sword terrifies me. He might, you know, fall over and kill Mal by accident in the middle of the movie.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-06-07 00:37 ]
To: Dolphin Tamer

Agreed about Nathan Fillion. But I must point out that Harrison Ford delivered a star making performance in Star Wars: A New Hope amid such legendary acting talent as Sir Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing!!! Was Ford upstaged in any way by those actors? No!!! Did Billy Dee Williams upstage Ford in Empire Strikes Back? I don't think so!!! And just as Ford stood out in Star Wars, Hugh Jackman was an unknown at the time that he took on the role of Wolverine in The X-Men franchise. Nevertheless, he stood out among the likes of sex symbol Halle Berry and shakespearean trained actors Sir Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.

Like Harrison Ford, Nathan Fillion is a charismatic scene stealer who by nature doesn't get lost in a crowd as he is a stand out!!! And in regard to the rest of the Firefly/Serenity cast, I for one would not wish to see anyone overshadow our favorite lovable group of rogues. Any star actors brought into the sequels should and would only play supporting and or adversarial roles to the main original cast of Serenity thus drawing more attention to them...not away from them. These are considerations that we must all realistically entertain if Serenity or Firefly are to continue in any form!!!

Lastly...Regarding the Ewoks in Return Of The Jedi!!! Did you know that The Wookies were planned to have originally been in those infamous sequences which featured the Ewoks? And did you know that Han Solo and Chewie were to die in the climatic battle of the 2nd Death Star? I don't know about you, but I think it would have been more impacting than seeing teddy bear Ewoks taking on the Empire. Imagine an end scene featuring Ben, Anakin, Yoda, Chewie and Han Solo appearing as smiling ghosts before our surviving heroes Luke and Leia. Theatre audiences would have arisen from their seats in roaring applause!!!

Imagine the aftermath of a battle between Storm Troopers and Wookies...emotionally...you can feel they would be capable of taking out a Sith Master's troops...not a group of teddy bears...no matter how cute they may be...The Ewoks were a ploy to sale toys and toys only...not to advance the plot!!! That's the difference between producing a truly great film and selling-out for product licensing tie-ins!!!

This is why Firefly and Serenity are so important...they entertain yes, but never lose sight of the pathos that is so important to serious story telling. Firefly changed science fiction as we know it...and that's why the new Galactica and Lost exist today. Because of the daring risk Joss Whedon took to change the language of the medium away from toy sales to selling emotionally impacting stories.
Ok first of all, great thread!

Second, let’s stop comparing one of the most popular films in the history of the medium with Serenity. Star Wars was a miracle of vision (and some great timing--which nobody can control).

Serenity and Firefly were uncompromising in their vision but think of it as a concept with horse blinders. When you don't pander to the masses, most of the masses don't "get it".

Didn't Joss say of Buffy (paraphrasing from memory), "I'd rather make a show that 100 people have to see, versus a show that 1000 people like to see." This is what he got with Firefly and Serenity.

And lastly, to chime in on Blue Gloves' idea for putting many films “in the can” and then completing post production as necessary, no studio will invest money in a show that might be popular 7 years down the road. It would be great if they did and I’d even chip in. But the truth is that they want to keep their stock prices high and you do that by meeting and beating box office projections and selling commercials, not investing in something that might turn out to be a “non-fan” favorite.
To: Alex Reager

Your comments are appreciated...but as you, I'm sure, will agree, the average chick flick movie featuring Meryl Streep discussing men and relationships with her best girlfriends...and zero fx or stunts costs 60 million dollars in terms of median budgeting. With that fact in mind, a simple investment of 38 to 60 million dollars for 3 Serenity sequel films would be of little to no consequence to a film studio...but may yield high money returns in the end!!!
With that fact in mind, a simple investment of 38 to 60 million dollars for 3 Serenity sequel films would be of little to no consequence to a film studio


I think their accountants and stockholders might raise an eyebrow or two.
The finance department would say absolutely no, based on past performance. Without a question. The NPV calculation would not fly.
You fail to realize that for the normal budgeting process in respect to a 200 million dollar block buster film, a studio regularly spends upwards of 60 million dollars on development alone...hell, just in regard to an ad and promotions budget you're talking at least 60 million dollars!!! With that being a factual reality, when you compare bloated budgets like these to actually delivering a sell worthy product like 3 Serenity sequels at the third of the cost each of the pricings I mentioned above...well, that's close to nothing in studio terms...we're talking a mere tax write-off to the types of folks who play with the books like the rest of us play Monopoly...The difference between the two however is that these guys play Monopoly fore real!!!
Blue Gloves, I work in corporate finance for one of the largest entertainment companies in the world. No one in this company would greenlight spending $1 million dollars on something that would not see a profitable return. It just doesn't happen.

Corporations do not throw away money like you are suggesting. Not in this day and age of Sarbanes Oxley and personal accountability to shareholders.

Your view of corporate America is just not reality.
I grew up in the entertainment business, around some of the most famous people in the world. I know exactly what I'm talking about. And for all of you nay sayers...allow me to refering you to the movie Mulholland Drive. Produced and directed by David Lynch in 2001...Mulholland Drive was originally produced as a tv pilot for ABC Television. This of course was a misleading tactic by David Lynch who never intended it to reach television screens. No...his intention was to gain the necessary financing needed to produce Mulholland Drive as a R rated art film.

Mr. Lynch, a legend in the business, certainly accomplished
his desired goal in a short matter of time. Upon handing in the finished print, the network turned the pilot down flat... objecting to the tone of the material, as Lynch had expected from the start. Within months, he re-labeled it a film, and the rest is history. This, a film created on the budget of a television pilot proving that such deeds can be done!!! Any self respecting film student or professional knows that. You have been sold a false bill of goods by the studios. I assure you, no film should cost over 100 million dollars...not one.

And as far as Serenity goes, it could have been filmed with a much lower budget. The truth is, if Joss had shot Serenity in Canada for instants, he could have brought in the film for 1/3 of the cost...as the dollar is stronger in Canada and the local tax and union codes are less stringent.

Now, students...film class 101 is over, class is dismissed!!!
BlueGloves:

Battlestar Galactica and Firefly do (and did) indeed shoot on fast schedules and manage to produce good looking work... for TV.

The requirements of something looking good on the big screen- especially in such a visual genre as science-fiction are magnitues of order bigger. The short cuts you take with lighting, set design, performance, sound mixing, writing etc. in TV just don't hold up on the big screen.

Yes, a lot of movies are big, bloated behemoths (hell, I just finished working on Superman which epitomises that) BUT there are inescapable realities of the Feature World that mean you can just take a TV style production and put it up in the cinema. Even from a screenwriting perspective, Joss said he had to tell the story of Serenity differently. As a medium, cinema tends to be far more image-driven than TV ('a radio play with pictures') and the expectations of teh audience are also bigger.

3 sequels back to back in 70 days? Who the hell would CHOOSE to do that but Roger Corman?
Blue Gloves, please tone it down a little. This isn't a classroom, nor a pitch meeting, and there's no need for lectures. Thanks.
First off. Let's all relax and be glad that we are even having this discussion and that so much of our minds can be wrapped around this subject.

Mr. Blue Gloves. I can see that you grew up in the entertainment industry as you say, simply on how you deliver. Also, I see that you focus on negative things. On what "could have been" or "could be" as opposed to what was and what will be.

You speak from a producer's stand point. You speak as a film critic. I can't let the last words of the Return of the Jedi speak happen as you have said them, however.

First of all, in this matter. There is no movie called "A New Hope". Not in my belief. I grew up with a movie called "Star Wars". With all your imdb.com trivia info about the Wookiees originally battling in ROTJ, which yes was true, (before they were utterly wasted in Revenge of the Sith...another discussion), let's not be producers or critics. See art. Focus not only on the negative. You did not like the Ewoks and can throw this opinion out in a manner of sarcasm that in all cases must indeed mean that it is correct.

For those of us who can appreciate the craft behind Lawrence Kadsan (The Indiana Jones flicks' screenwriter) and his script or the score John Williamns specifically wrote for this film...or the Escape from Jabba's Palace, the confrontation with the Emperor and Vader by Luke, Nien Numb and Lando Calrissian flying the Millenium Falcon into battle, Leia and Luke's speeder chase through the woods, The Death of Yoda, The final wisdom of Ben Kenobi and the revealing of the Star Wars lore behind Anakin Skywalker's children, and for those of us enchanted with the Ewok's score....yeah, I'd say Return of the Jedi is a pretty effing awesome flick.

Again, try to find me photographs or proof of this Ewok marketing scheme, you spoke of. Battle For Endor and Caravan of Courage are also epic films. I'd wish for you to stop selling your opinions as mandate for the rest of us to judge our interpretations by.

Han and Chewie LIVE. That is another HUGE discussion for a day not today.

For one mad at Lucas' story, you seem quick to use the terms "Sith" and "A New Hope" coined for the rebirth of a franchise that you swore most of the films were not good based on an alien race that you were not hot upon.

I don't mean to sound any bit bitter. Star Wars was a huge part of my child and Return of the Jedi will always stick with me as a beautiful film no matter how much everyone who dislikes the movie is truly just in disagreement with one alien race.

As it is clear that you are being adressed personally in this thread than many others, I would suggest a method for smoother communication.

I am glad that you have a mind rich for film knowledge. I am glad that there are those of us who get excited to see great stories told through this medium and who have appreciation for the world that goes on while creating such pieces of art. However, do not use your knowledge to discount the validity of others' opinion. My knowledge is for the form of Dramatic Writing as I am of a student of such. All of us appreciate good story telling but know that all of us are not going to agree. Using phrases such as "students" when referring to us can seem bitter.

I know that yo mean nothing but good on this board but keep an open mind. Everyone sees this world differently.
And Dolphin Tamer, let's try to avoid making this overly personal. Everyone take a breath, and let's return, if that's possible, to one of the topics at hand. Thanks.
To Biki:

You are right...in part. But if you look at my entire plan, I am sure I can change your view. As you may have read in my posts...I am talking about doing something quite revolutionary here. Simply put, I am proposing altering the way films are made all together. Think of live action productions as loosely sketched animatic or live story boards designed for use later in a far greater post production process that can be completed at the leisure of directors, producers and studios. Akin to the fashion in which animation films are assembled. The animators clean up the dirty sketch lines and color the animated cels, which are later photographed...one at a time.

As a industry person, you are aware that issues like lighting, sets and even lenses, etc., can be adjusted in post. It's no different than using Pro-Tools for audio production...except, in respect to the Serenity sequels, we are talking about using digital processing in the visual realm. With the assist of green screen fx...every environment is a controllable one. Backgrounds, middle and foregrounds can be erased, slightly augmented...or touched up. And if you film digitally, the expenses are cut drastically...via lowering set-up times, eliminating certain lighting concerns, eliminating the use of costly film and increasing the speed of image processing...it's a vast savings. All you need do is capture the performance of the cast...and you can alter it, or enhance it any way you see fit...something we both know is true.

For example, let's look at Scanner Darkly, the new Keanu Reeves film. It was shot cheaply via live action. The captured visuals were later painted on through the use of computers. And although that is an animated film...the same process can be employed for live action films. Shoot them cheaply and fast...then treat yourself to a longer post production schedule than what most movies presently receive. Lighting, cinematography and sound mixing issues can be addressed there and then...as they are easily correctable. Michael Mann shot all of the night shots in his film Collateral using a digital camera...allowing him to avoid being caged by various lighting considerations that would hamper all productions that use film.

The film industry is spending too much time on the set, and not enough time in post. A film is made 3 times...once when it is written, once when it is filmed...and once when it is edited. George Lucas, an editor, was quoted as saying that his ex wife saved Star Wars in the editing. Ultimately, once the actors and directors do their job, the post production team including editors, sound mixers, and the effects people, etc., can make or break a movie. And these increasingly short post production periods are killing what could be truly great films. I don't know if you noticed, but the cast of Firefly delivered great performances on the tv show. Performances that were short changed in the movie, even though they had a longer production schedule. That doesn't add up!!!

So, with that in mind, great acting and mood can be filmed on short schedules...even short tv schedules, as Firefly so wonderfully demonstrates. It is all about what is written, great acting performances, great camera movement and how those images, once filmed, are edited!!!
Are you confusing limited screen time for a few of the cast members with quality of performances? Because I thought the performances of the entire cast in Serenity were beyond awesome. Summer, as River fighting the images in her head that "weren't hers" and then fighting for real as the most badass ass-kicking machine ever? Great performance! Nathan, as Mal reaching his lowest point ever, trying to give strength to Book in his last seconds of life, then turning around and ordering the crew to turn his beloved ship into an "abomination" to carry out his plan, then rallying the troops to take on the Alliance and Reavers head-on, then facing off with the Operative? Great performance! Gina, as Zoe taking on Mal by speaking as his conscience, then facing her husband's senselessly violent death like a soldier? Great performance! Look, I could absolutely say the same of all 9 cast members, because they were all great! And the non-Firefly cast, Chiwetel and David Krumholtz, were also amazing.

Having a long time for editing has nothing to do with any of that!

BTW, if I'm not mistaken, Marcia Lucas "saved" Star Wars A New Hope by cutting around all the mistakes that were made on the set (they had trouble steering R2, and so on). It wasn't that she altered performances. Editors do great work on movies (and sometimes do shape performances by the way they cut scenes or takes together), and make films come alive, but Serenity's not-so-great boxoffice earnings had nothing to do with editing.

If you think that shooting on greenscreen sets allows studios to save a lot of money, maybe you can check out the production budgets on Sky Captain or I, Robot and see if their costs seemed similar to TV episode budgets.

I really shouldn't even post this, because I can see that nothing we say will change your mind. OK, I accept that, and you are definitely entitled to your opinion. :-)

But, dude, when you said that the performances in Serenity were somehow "short changed," by which I think you were implying that they weren't of the highest quality or could somehow have been better? Dude, I can't let that stand. :-(
To: Dolphin Tamer

George Lucas has named all of his Star Wars films by way of giving them titles that appear after the prefix name Star Wars. A New Hope as I recall appeared on one of the early posters of the original movie in small print. Lucas never played it up until the Video and DVD after market popped up...The Special Edition movies...and let's not forget the prequels. Although Lucas claimed that it was always his plan to call the original Star Wars film...A New Hope, a reference to Luke, he said that 20th Century Fox had some concerns...marketing wise...thus, he only implemented it sometime in the last decade or so. I think it is important to note that this isn't the first time he has done this...as you will remember, he retitled Raiders Of The Lost Ark...Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark. All this has to do with making it easier for stores to order and properly stock his films without confusion over what is what...
in regard to the two Star Wars trilogies, and any other related products.

Now...let me address your views on my feeling about the Ewoks...well, let's say you are totally right. Would it then be okay for Joss Whedon to flip out and plant a team of muppets in a Serenity sequel...muppets who save our heroes from the big bad Alliance?????...Please!!! We might as well all jump out of our collective windows right now...and save ourselves from the pain!!!

As far as Chewie and Han dying...that was the original plan according to Star Wars and Empire producer Gary Kurtz. When Lucas changed that storyline...the two had a falling out. I'm not making it up...I'm quoting the man. I'll remind you, that I can be sued for slander...I'm not about to put myself in that kind of situation. Joss Whedon said that if he had written the story, that he would have killed off the characters too. Not to disrespect them or merely throw them away, but to better illustrate the importance of what they were fighting for...and what they were willing to sacrifice to honor the value of the Rebel cause, by saving it from the enemy...with their lives. Harrison Ford himself, demanded that Lucas kill off his character for that very same reason, but Lucas refused. Hell!!!...Why let this kind of pathos get in the way of a good Teddy Bear pillow fight with Storm Troopers???!!!

I love Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back...but the puppet show that is Return Of The Jedi just isn't for me!!! Instead of Boba Fett sticking around to menace our heroes longer...he had to die early to make way for more scenes full of cute cuddly fur balls. Teddy Bears killing off a group of bad guys with the power to destroy planets just seems down right ridiculous to me. All we were missing is a group of those Teddy Bears dueling with the emperor light saber style and flying X-Wing fighters into the new Deathstar and blowing it to pieces. That said...I've really gotta bounce.

BTW, the reference to class was meant as a joke to one or two posters that I was addressing. I certainly meant no offense to any of the legions of Browncoats out there as I am one. Anyway, sorry.
Billz

I loved the performances...but even Joss Whedon himself said that some of the actors received reduced parts...something he regrets, but he had certain timing constraints placed on him by the studio. As a result, several of the characters didn't even speak to each other in the film or only spoke a few lines back and forth to one another. Go back and check the relationship between Inara and Kaylee...You'll see less than stellar interactions. I am in no way attacking the actors or Joss...they always do a great job...award worthy!!! I am talking about the tight running time that the studio imposed on Joss in order to increase the number of showings of the film in theatres, thus upping the box office in theory.

And as for having a long time for editing...no...I'm talking about a full post production process where you film all of the raw footage of an entire saga...and polish each film
according to the varying levels of success, which you, as a film maker may receive in the marketplace...film release by film release. In other words, you as a film maker...will be availed fore vision in respect to the way you choose to set your budgets for a film series. If the first film, carrying all the bells and whistles succeeds...you can amp up the fx budget of sequels that you have already shot the live action footage for...or scale it down, if say, its predecessor bombs or does mediocre box office.

It was all or nothing for Lord Of The Rings...if the first film bombed, New line and Warner Bros. would have been stuck with a very expensive trilogy of unreleased film turkeys, thanks to their 300 million dollar budget. I'm talking about only shooting things with a meager budget, save for the first film of a series...and letting the market dictate whether you commit to a higher budget scale regarding the pre-filmed live action sequels...This allows you to fluctuate that scale at will...up, or...down. You'll have that convenience as a director, producer or even an executive of foresight in the process of shooting multiple films back to back.

If George Lucas had known years ago that his company would
later invent digital film making, he could have filmed all of the Star Wars trilogies at the same time...only adding special fx per each film he choose to release...if at all. Captain Sky and I-Robot were always envisioned as expensive films. That's why they were expensive. All I am suggesting, is doing what James Cameron always advised...film only what you need. Many sets don't need to be digitally rendered or built full scale...the use of miniatures, forced perspective, in camera fx and other practical fx can shave down budgets.

I hate the abuse of green screening and computers...as it can, and often does, look like a video game. I am only forwarding the use of appropriate fx were needed...as again determined by the box office. For instance, if the Serenity saga had been filmed as one long production at a budget of 60 million dollars...20 million per film. Should the first film that was released had been a block buster...the film makers could easily add additional fx to the pre-filmed sequels...without the fear of the budgets getting out of control.

Quoting X-3 director Brett Ratner, from a recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel..."The new X-Men film is probably the most expensive film in history". Fox is saying that they expect that X-3 will earn 245 to 250 million dollars by the end of its release...in part due to a 70 percent drop off in its 2nd weekend performance. 245 to 250 million dollars?...That's only 35 to 40 million bucks more than X-2 earned at the box office, and cost about 120 million dollars less than X-3 to make...meaning, X-3 will make 80 million dollars less than X-2 when you look at the numbers. And that doesn't take into account increased ticket prices, distribution, ads and promotions.

My method of film making will lock the actors and budgets into place...only the studios can decide to adjust the budget...not a greedy agent demanding a 20 million dollar paycheck for the star of a trilogy(if he/she is going to agree to continue to honor their contract and hence appear in the next film or films). That's where the budget went for X-3...increased star salaries...not effects or added production values.
Blue Gloves, don't take this the wrong way, but living in Hollywood and knowing famous people does not equate to a realistic understanding of the media industry at the moment.

Many of the Whedonesque posters -- including some in this topic -- either work for entertainment companies directly or for related industry things.

I don't claim to have a great understanding of these things, but I have talked to many people who either understand them or in some cases actually worked on them.

Serenity got made because it had Joss attached, there was obvious marketing issues Fox had faced with the series (read: they botched it), and it very well return a profit due to careful budgetting. If Universal were lucky, it would have exploded. It was a calculated risk. I think in many ways that paid off.

Making another movie, as much as it pains me to say it, would not be a sensible risk from a business. Making a few back to back would be worse.

I think there's some milage exploring other options, like a direct to DVD project -- which Universal Home Entertainment would be in a position to make as they have produced DVD premieres in the past ("American Pie 4"), and wouldn't be overly surprised if that happened at some point. I'd be thrilled if it did.
I actually work in the industry...thanks! And the current model of the industry needs to be retired. Movies are getting worse, not better, because execs from Coca Cola and McDonald's are being hired to run the studios...as opposed to real film makers. As a result...box office is falling off in theatres, and even DVD sales are waning. Futhermore, the best films being made today, are actually being made by independant film makers...not Hollywood big wigs who clearly aren't interested in innovation or art...just cookie cutter factory line produced garbage.

There were sequences in Serenity, fleeting moments, that reminded me of a great art film in some respects. It's a shame really...the world is going to pot...and people seem to be happily pushing it further over the edge by accepting the tripe they are fed with crazed glee...like Reavers.

Well, I refuse to accept what they are trying to feed me!!!
Movie studios are certainly taking less risks on bigger projects, yes - you'll see an endless line of Harry Potteresque movies because they pay off. However, they do take the odd risk - for example, a little movie called 'Serenity'.

The reason why something like Garfield gets a sequel, and Serenity doesn't? The viewing public. They went to see Garfield in masses, even though the buzz was bad as were the reviews.

It's the same with the influx of reality TV. If people weren't watching, it wouldn't be made. Sadly, watching people eat spiders is roughly 4 times more appealing that watching Firefly for the masses, and until that changes, you'll get more spider eatin'.

I have no answer to that one. Joss is well positioned, in that he deals with genre items, and when they explode - they explode huge. Sadly, a lot of things won't fly at all, which leads to cancellation or a not great box office -- but at least they'll let him keep trying.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-06-07 18:27 ]
I am talking about the tight running time that the studio imposed on Joss in order to increase the number of showings of the film in theatres, thus upping the box office in theory.

Shooting films for cheaper or taking longer to edit would have absolutely no effect on that whatsoever. A movie is about 2 hours, no matter how much it costs to make the movie. So, your proposal would have absolutely no effect on such things as the running time of the film. Period. I just don't think there's a lot of reality in some of the benefits you claim your proposal has, one of which is this topic (running time).

If the first film, carrying all the bells and whistles succeeds...you can amp up the fx budget of sequels that you have already shot the live action footage for...or scale it down, if say, its predecessor bombs or does mediocre box office.

The truth is, that no one can deny, Serenity did mediocre box office. So the budget for a "sequel" has already been scaled down -- to $0. That's what we're all trying to explain, as kindly as possible. It's really sad, but it's the reality for the forseeable future.

even DVD sales are waning

Not even close to true. Yes, boxoffice was down last year, because many of the films with big stars didn't do as well as they thought -- which also shows that your proposal to put big stars into a Serenity sequel to guarantee bigger boxoffice results is not really a guarantee. Boxoffice was also down because people are starting to prefer to stay at home and enjoy DVDs at their convenience (and for cheaper than paying for tickets, parking, popcorn, babysitters for families with young children, and so on). So DVD is doing quite well.

Well, I refuse to accept what they are trying to feed me!!!

That is clear, but if you work in the film business, as you claim, these facts should be easier for you to accept. It's not something "they" are trying to feed -- it is what is happening. As gossi said, as bad as Garfield was, people went to see it, and took their children. So it made money, and when something makes money, you make more. When it loses money or just barely breaks even, there's no reason to make more. That is fact, not something that is being fed. People watch the spider-eatin' shows, so more spider-eatin' shows go on the air. People watch Deal or No Deal, so now there is Game Show Marathon on the air as well. "Give the people what they want." Also, someone I studied this year, an American journalist of the 1920s and 30s, H.L. Mencken, wrote, "No one in this world, so far as I know -- and I have searched the records for years, and employed agents to help me -- has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people," which most people simply quote as "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

We can't force people to "get" Firefly or Serenity. We did everything imaginable to boost the boxoffice for Serenity. It didn't work the way we wanted. We lost at Serenity Valley, and now we fly around on our little Whedonesque ship and are happy when we have a new series of comic books called "Better Days" or announcements are made about scripts for Wonder Woman and Goners, all to give us more of what we want while the Alliance folk enjoy their entertainment elsewhere *coughDavinciCodeTheBreakupGarfield2cough*. And, who knows, maybe those Alliance folk will wind up liking WW and Goners, and there'll be sequels to those, and maybe that might make studios more willing to spend more than $0 on Joss' vision of a 'Verse with a little cargo ship flitting around, scaring herds of horses. We'll know more in the future.

You are so passionate about films, Blue Gloves, and as you mention, independent films often have very high quality. Have you thought of writing a script for a low budget independent film? That might be a good use of your energy and creativity, and also of your contacts growing up in the film business with some of the most famous people in Hollywood (as you told us about yourself), and also of your experience working in the entertainment business. Try it! :-)
Billz

You denying that DVDs are waning in sales? Did I hear you right...cause everybody in the industry knows different???!!! Perhaps it is due to everyone waiting for the new formats...but nevertheless, I am correct. And when it comes to theatre ticket sales dropping offs, I am right on the money also, as you have conceded. Hollywood doesn't want to admit it...but the industry has been shooting itself in the foot for years. These cost over runs have forced film and television productions out of town and out of the country.

This situation, is hurting so many people that the networks and studios serve up reality tv shows to cut costs, putting actors, writers and production crews out of work. It's a circulating system...what hurts the movie studios, hurts everyone, including television production wings of those very same studios. The losses have to be made up somewhere. Why not in tv?

It became easy to cancel Firefly, while leaving Joe Millionaire on the air. So it becomes simple...Why develop a whole slot of scripted television or nurse shows like Firefly when you've got American Idol on every night? And that doesn't include competition from the internet, video games and other media. Well, just examine the fact that the budget costs of films are going up higher by vast amounts, yet, ticket sales are going down greatly. That doesn't seem to be an effective business model to me...nor does it to you...no matter what you claim!!!

Universal blew the promotional campaign for Serenity from start to finish. Joss won't say it, for political reasons, which, given his position, is highly understandable...But since he can't say it...I just did!!!...There is no dancing around it...or escaping that as a reality. The actors were not booked on any of the major talk shows and or morning shows, which nobody here seems to want to address. I don't even believe I saw any of them on TRL or any other MTV shows in order to reach teens and college kids. In fact, you would have even been hard pressed to catch them on entertainment news magazines like Entertainment Tonight, Extra, Access Hollywood, The Insider, Inside Edition, etc. That' not a good marketing strategy...that's suicide!!! The public would have been very interested in seeing a story on a tv show that was canceled...but rose from the ashes to become a film, thanks to the large fan out cry and strong DVD sales. But they never got a chance to hear that...did they?

Now, as far as my plans...since so many of you are walking around like defeated zombies...Yes, I have many surprises in the works...but that would be telling...now...wouldn't it?
You denying that DVDs are waning in sales? Did I hear you right...cause everybody in the industry knows different???!!!

"Everybody"? Really?

Yearly shipments of DVDs, 2004: 1,518.3 million

Yearly shipments of DVDs, 2005: 1,656.9 million


Source: The Digital Entertainment Group

LAS VEGAS (Jan. 5, 2006) – Consumers spent $22.8 billion renting and buying DVDs in 2005, announced today by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Consumer spending for DVDs was up approximately eight percent.

DVD retail sales grew five percent to $16.3 billion in 2005, with unit sales up 10 percent . In addition, consumers also spent $6.5 billion renting DVDs, an increase of 14 percent over last year.

U.S. CONSUMER HOME VIDEO SPENDING (in billions):
Total Consumer Spending on DVD, 2004: $21.2
Total Consumer Spending on DVD, 2005: $22.8
[Only spending on VHS format was down from 2004 to 2005, as fewer people use that format for rental or prerecorded entertainment]


Source: The Digital Entertainment Group

Also: do you honestly think that Universal didn't try to book the cast on chat shows or the Entertainment Tonight-type shows?
Enough of all that industry propaganda meant to appease nervous stockholders!!! Here are some real facts to sink your teeth into.

According to a July 2005 article from the Hollywood Reporter-- headlined...Analysis: DVD Dip Trips Loud Alarm

The trade magazine's reporter Diane Mermigas filed a story from Herbert Allen's Sun Valley Summit. Quoting industry analyst Michael Nathanson, from Berstein Research, the foremost independant Wall Street firm, Hollywood Reporter claims that Nathanson expects U.S video growth (DVD Sales accounting for 95% of all U.S. Home Video Sales) will slow from 9% in 2005, to 4% in 2006, down from 21% in 2004.

Further, a July 13, 2005 Business Week article delivered similar news. Face it...DVD's have reached critical mass penetration in the consumer market. Thanks to high gas prices, a rise in health care costs, price hikes in education, cut pensions, a sluggish economy...and competing media, people have less disposable income for impulse buying...meaning, they buy less of what they don't truly need to survive. Things like DVDs, CDs and movie tickets.

And yes...honestly, whether they tried or not...the results are the same, Universal Studios failed to book the cast of Serenity and Joss Whedon on the chat shows and the entertainment magazine shows like...Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Extra, The Insider, etc.!!! Not to mention the Dateline's of the world and the 20/20's...No making of features on HBO...or Showtime...No behind the scenes specials on Cinemax, The Movie Channel or Starz!!! Nothing even on NBC...The new owner of Universal, which goes out of its corporate way to promote Galactica like it's the 2nd coming of Jesus!!!...I could go on!!!
P.S.-The Hollywood Reporter is considered to be the Bible of the industry!!!...Not Digital Entertainment Group?...Thank you very much!!!

Billz...all your credit has just burned up!!!
P.S.-2...NBC/Universal owns Jay Leno and Conan O'Brian
...They also own the Today Show, Dateline NBC, Access Hollywood and Extra. But did you know who owns NBC? GE...a defense contractor...that doesn't like subversive science fiction writers like Joss Whedon telling you that the government(The Alliance) is evil and should stay out of people's minds. And guess who owns Fox...government darling and neo conservative Rupert Murdoch (spelling?)...The infamous creator of Fox News, who owns most of the media services in the world! No wonder why Firefly got canceled and Joss' fight the man rants have all been gutted out of so much of his work at Fox!!! If I was working for the man...I'd try to shut him up too! For NBC/Universal...Galactica is safe...as its heroes say:...Be the man...Torture, kill, rape...get results!!! The free thinkers of the series...The Cylons, are cast as the bad guys...That means...they think that anyone claiming their God given right to be free...well, they are the enemy...and they may rain revolution and destruction down upon the system!!! Isn't that the point of the X-Men? Go along to get along. Hell, Magneto is not the bad guy...he's the hero!!! But leave it up to the metaphors Fox is trying to brainwash you with...and the free thinker, becomes the enemy!!!

Like Fox, when the top execs at Universal realized that Joss was trying to say something of importance to the masses...they muzzled him...by intentionally failing to promote his message.
But what they don't understand is...you can't stop the signal!!!

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