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October 10 2007

Buffy Musical hit by same issue as Parkway showings. "Criterion Pictures notified me last night that Fox has pulled the license for ALL their TV shows from theatrical exhibition," says the site.

"This is effective immediately, and of course includes Buffy and 'Once More With Feeling'. This means that we have to cancel all upcoming bookings of the Buffy Musical production."

Some further information, and speculation, and some suggestions all included at the linked URL. Also information for those who already have bought tickets to forthcoming Buffy Musical events.

(On an editorial comment note, I'd suggest to the Musical people that any online petition like the one they've launched should not be focused solely on their own showings, but a "let us show these shows" expression of more general support. A united front and all. Just my two cents.)

For context, see the previous thread regarding the first hit, against Buffy/Firefly events in Oakland.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2007-10-11 00:37 ]

Frag! I didn't get to go to the LA Film Festival showing (with added Jossness)---and now the showings were scheduled for my neighborhood. I could have walked to see the OMWF Phenom! Grrr. Aargh.
I was all set to go to the San Francisco showing, and now it seems I can't. Grr Arrgh indeed!
Great, just great.

[ edited by numbereleven on 2007-10-11 03:36 ]
This really doesn't make any sense, these showings are ways that new people are discovering Buffy for the first time, which leads to them becoming fans and buying DVDs. I don't see any value in people not enjoying the sing-a-longs. I am flummoxed.
This is not a surprise, you see FOX typically drops the hammer on something Verse related at least once a year.

However this time with heated negositations going on in Hollywood right now between the studios and all the unions, FOX as well as other studios want to play their cards as close to the vest as they can. So the extra cirricular stuff has to be nailed down, for fear of the unions finding out the money they make and actually demanding their fair share. This to will blow over once the contracts are signed.
Wonder what they have against making money? (then again, Disney won't put out serious Zorro DVDs which would sell like oxygen on Mars. The Biz can have odd business models.)

I was reading a comment in the previous thread abotu the possibel writers' strike. I can just see them doing like was doen with Mission Impossible in 1989, re-filming old scripts with a new cast(PEter Graves came back, Greg Morri'ss cosuin repalced him, Thao Penglis repalced MArtin Landau). I can see the eventual DVD release now; Buffy the Vampire SLayer: the Episodes That Should Have Been Lost but Weren't.
Bloody buggering hell. Is fall their traditional time of the year for being a**holes?

I'm struck by the same overwhelming question for the TV show license-holder(s) that kept smacking me over the head when 11th Hour got her C&D letter last fall:

Why oh why can you not see that this here kinda fan-love is - aside from a lot of wonderful other things - one big honkin' ad for your product? And why can you not see that this kind of behavior alienates your major market? ???????

What the hell is wrong with you people? You need to learn to adapt your thinking to the way the market is moving, not try to control your market to some old idea you have of how it should work.

Fox Mo-rons. Evolve or die out... it's how it works.
Gah! I passed up a chance to attend an OMWF midnight show a couple of weeks ago because I was just too tired to drive around late at night/early in the morning in a strange city. And now--who knows when or if I'll get another chance? "Fish of the day," drat it!
I had tickets to see it in two days! Two effin days from now. I am kinda heartbroken right now.
Hmm, sounds like this is a side effect of the looming writers' strike in Hollywood. See
here for details or just google it.

The WGA contract expires at the end of October and the big issue on the table seems to be compensation for new media platforms.
Considering that the new popular TV shows are scripted television (with 'reality' TV, with no writers on the payroll, on the way out) the writers are probably bargaining from a position of strength for the first time in almost ten years.
To quote a certain Slayer...

"It's about Power." They've got it...they may lose it (with the strike)...and, it seems to be that time of year. Time to annoy the fans! ;) *sigh*
Actually, it appears to be a problem with determining residual rights for screenings of TV shows in theatrical settings, something which until recently was not commonly done and which existing contracts likely don't spell out explicitly. So not knowing exactly how to handle those very legitimate legal issues, they've pulled the theatrical screenings for the time being. Hopefully it will all get sorted out soon, because the growing popularity of the OMWF and Firefly screenings ought to be telling them that there is a revenue stream out there for old TV shows that's just waiting to be tapped.
I've started a .org thread in order to have a place -- once we know for sure what the reason for this is -- to discuss a collective response that is measured and relevant.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2007-10-11 01:13 ]
Duly noted, Bix! I don't think we can clear up EVERY tv issue, but I'm all for the Firefly and others as well...I changed the wording of the petition a bit.
Whoop - I can't edit the petition text, but I did add a bit to the buffysings site. Namely:

This doesn’t just apply to “Once More with Feeling”, but to the whole Whedonverse. If screenings of Firefly episodes are selling out, why not let them. I am just focused on OMWF for now because I think it is easiest to get this one through the door, especially with all the momentum we have built up around this particular show (loads of press, national tour). It seems silly to make it stop now. If we can get the musical up and running the rest are sure to follow.
OMG seriously?! But - But - Buffy Horror Picture Show!?
I wonder if this somehow ties in to the recent crackdown on youtube videos? It just seems all too... coincidental. -And stupid.
At least they can't cancel the CSTS screenings. Not only would we be losing our BDM, but thousands of dollars in charity money as well. What will FOX think of next? :(
I really feel for everyone who has organized screenings or purchased tickets. What a disappointment, and a completely unjustified decision on FOX's behalf. This falls firmly into 'WTF are they thinking?' territory.

I guess it reaffirms why Joss put the nix on TV projects for so long. Can you imagine what it must be like to have to WORK with these people?! (There'd be homicide in the air, for sure.)
I really hope they rethink this. It's especially ironic given Buffy's place as one of the first shows to really embrace the "new media." Two steps forward... five back.

I wonder if this somehow ties in to the recent crackdown on youtube videos?

Oh, crap. The Mexican serape of evil clip is gone. Watching it at work was my "BuffyFaith day" celebration since I often can't pick the comics up until Thursday.

At least they can't cancel the CSTS screenings.

Well, that's a totally different thing, because (1) it isn't TV and (2) that's Universal, not Fox.
More info from a source at Criterion here.
If this is in response to a WGA demand then Fox is absolutely doing the right thing (for now). I'm not sure how it makes them the bad guy. If they don't know their liability they should shut the theatrical viewings down. Their lawyers wouldn't be able to allow anything else.
This is all very frustrating. I've never been to a "Once More, With Feeling" screening, but I've always wanted to. Entertainment Weekly even recently featured the screenings on their Must List.

The WGA strike is, to me, silly, for a multitude of reasons that may sound ignorant or inconsiderate in print but which make complete sense to me.
You realize that the WGA hasn't gone on strike since 1988? It's not like they do this at the drop of a hat.


Actually, it was good times last time around. The 1988 strike forced networks to air episodes of programs they had not aired prior to canceling those shows. That's how we got to see two previously-unaired episodes of Max Headroom.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2007-10-11 04:08 ]
Hmmm, two unaired episodes of Drive. Unaired episodes of Firefly.
Given the bits I've heard and read here and there about the issues writers for tv and movies face, I tend to support the WGA. I'm just hoping that once an agreement is made and the dust clears, there is some rethinking of these decisions (which hopefully are just precautions as some have suggested) and we get events like the Buffy Musical back. I hope it's a pause and not the end of an era.
Yeah, it's been about twenty years - or some of your lifetimes - since the WGA last struck, and there have obviously been ginormous changes in the the entertainment industry since then.

While the negotiating arm of management is going to play it like writers should get reduced compensation and residual models due to broadcast TV's revenue dips, the key areas of increased DVD sales and foreign residuals, compensation for writing for the internet and other non-traditional media, as well as compensation for animated and "reality" programming all have to be re-negotiated.

Disagreements in some of these areas - such as internet writing - have affected the writers of one of our favorite shows, Battlestar Galactica, as well as countless others, and though I am most definitely not looking forward to whatever reality and game show crap producers have hiding up their sleeves in the event of a strike, I'd have to be with the writers on this one.

I'm sorry if this is the reason that Buffy and Firefly eps have been pulled from public viewing, but even if it is purportedly so, we have to remember that the studios and the union are also involved in a PR battle for sympathy, and there may be currents and counter-currents underlying these events that folks on the outside may not be able to fathom.

While I am not aware that Joss has said anything publicly about the current potential writer's strike - and as a "freelance"? writer, I'm not sure exactly how he personally would be affected - he did speak up when the last writer's strike loomed in 2001, as quoted in BBC News online:

"Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator and writer Joss Whedon said: 'I wish we could reach an amicable agreement beforehand. But sometimes you have to go on strike. I wish it weren't that way.' " -, April 16, 2001

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-10-11 05:26 ]
Joss Whedon's a member of the guild. He'll have to strike if the WGA strikes.
Yah, orphea, I was referring to some of the issues under negotiation, rather than if as a member, he'd have to strike - but never mind me anyway, he's "work for hire" and not retaining copyright, so I don't know what the hell I was thinking about when I wrote that - but it was probably my dinner.

This may be an... interesting time coming up in my home town...
Actually, it was good times last time around. The 1988 strike forced networks to air episodes of programs they had not aired prior to canceling those shows. That's how we got to see two previously-unaired episodes of Max Headroom.

Yes, but it also led to some TV series having a reduced number of episodes - and in the case of Star Trek: Next Gen old scripts from the Star Trek II days dusted off and turned into the craptacular "The Child".

Of course, I completely support the WGA if they go on strike. It's much more important they get a fair deal than we get full seasons of television.
QuoterGal - what I meant to preface my little post with was how hard your post rocked. :D I didn't mean to come off as correcting you.
Thanks, orphea, and no, it's cool, it made me correct a totally wonky train of thought I was pursuing, so it's all good.

If anyone's interested in reading more of what the Writers Guild is dealing with, here's their Sept. response to management's proposals, and here's recent Reuters coverage of the negotiations.

For those not interested in any of the above, here's It's A Wonderful Life Performed in 30 Seconds Re-enacted by Bunnies for a tiny, quick singalong.
Whatever studio owns the rights to It's a Wonderful Life will no doubt issue a cease and desist on the video, and sue the vidders. And the bunnies, if they can find a way.
Definitely in support of the writers here. I imagine when the big studio execs take off their skins at night, they embody the form of leeches. ;)

On the other hand, this might spell death for some of the newer shows. We've all seen what happens when a show isn't aired in the proper manner. :(
Warren Ellis did some wonderful moaning about the WGA in one of his latest emails.
This will just push Whedonites underground. I see speakeasies popping up all over the country. Angel, Buffy and Firefly will live on! We'll have to come up with a secret password. Yep, I aim to misbehave! ;-)
Well, I'm pleased that Joss finally got to see one of the Sing a longs before they were squashed. I'm sorry for all those who were going to see it but now aren't, though.
Please, let's not declare it officially dead, as the movement is on to bring it back. We just have to let FOX know that it's worth their time (and possibly money) to work out the issues at stake (no pun intented). I, for one, chose to remain optomistic that we will have the Buffy Musical and the Firefly screenings once again in an official and legal capacity. :)
Dietcoke--that's hilarious. Do we have to wear spats?
Well, I'm pleased that Joss finally got to see one of the Sing a longs before they were squashed.

Right you are, Lioness, and I understand he was smiling ear to ear and floating six inches above the floor. Wish I could've seen that "Buffy Horror Picture Show".

To be fair, all the networks are being a little squirrelly with their rights due to the WGA case coming up next year. I'll be watching it in great interest. Actually, this battle has been brewing for awhile so I'm kinda' glad they're finally hashing it out.

Not holding any hard feelings towards FOX in this one, their motive is understandable. They're just pulling their eggs into the basket before the case. After all, BtVS is still a valuable franchise. Not many shows can prove the same after five years of going off the air. I say give this matter a 'wait-see' and let the chips fall in place. I'm betting we haven't seen the last of "Once More, With Feeling" in the theaters.
Singeasies, and I don't have any spats. I do have a number of bowties, though!
Ha! Singeasies.

*knock, knock.*

Pssssst. "Swordfish."
There's swordfishes? "Swordfish who?"
A swordfish would be king in the dimension of only shrimp.
QuoterGal - loving you right now for the Marx Brothers shout-out!
In my earlier post, I didn't mean to imply I wasn't for the writers. I'm always for the writers, and their rights (and salaries)...but I've got serious problems with the WGA. Not the members; the organization as a whole. This also goes for the Director's Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and sundry other similar associations.
Forgive our foolishness, UnpluggedCrazy. What's your concerns?
Ah, got it. You're right, many areas of gray here.
Organizations like these generally place restrictions on what its members can and cannot do, which can at times effectively quash creativity. Did you know that if you're a member of the DGA and you don't have opening credits that clearly state you're the director, you get fined? Or did you know that as a member of the DGA, you're not allowed to credit more than one director on your film? As someone else mentioned, in one of his recent e-mails to his mail listing, Warren Ellis talked about how the WGA is preventing even non-members from writing any animation or new media during the forthcoming strike if they want to be a member at any time in the future. The WGA is responsible for Joss' credit on Speed being taken away.

It's things like these that irk me to no end.
Oh, yeah, there's an ungodly amount of b*llsh*t on both sides, no question about it, but I have to weigh in in favor of collective bargaining as opposed to not bargaining collectively.
It seems that I remember hearing that Robert Rodriguez couldn't have Frank Miller named co-director on Sin City because of some fracas with the Director's Guild. Rules like those do a lot to detract from the creative process I think. But I also shudder to think what would happen if the studios were left in control of things.
Robert Rodriquez quit the DGA for just that reason, and yet he continues to make movies. Funny, that, you would have thought the earth would swallow him up or something.
Larger issues are important, but I wonder if smaller ones closer to us might be getting lost in them. The original post implied that there was an agreement in place between Criterion (agent for Fox) and the promoters and theater owners. And they either paid money to those parties or spent money on promotion in the expectation of paying a percentage to those parties. The impending writer's strike hasn't been a big secret, for months. Fox and its partners trying to take money and pass any losses onto whoever they can make take them wouldn't be a surprise, either. There might still be a cause for action on the part of the little guys.

Is there a lawyer in the house?

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