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July 07 2008

What next for the Buffy franchise? Portfolio Magazine looks at the success of Buffy season 8. Could it be a double edged sword for Joss and Dark Horse?

It's a very peculiar article. For one thing, I'm a little confused as to who Evan Narcisse is and why he seems to be the focus of opinion in the piece. And I don't mean that as a slam on him or his opinion -- I'm just confused as to why he's the only reader voice in the piece.

For another thing, it draws broad conclusions based on too little information. While it is true in the strictly technical sense that "Whedon has a lackluster track record turning his TV shows into films", that record consists of only a single movie. One could argue that a single-movie track record might be enough for the industry to decide upon his bankability, but it's not enough of a track record upon which to base an actual considered opinion (whether that opinion be positive or negative).

It's an interesting premise for an article, but I'm not sure they've managed to actually delve into it. It almost seems the Conde Nast equivalent of trolling for links.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-07-07 09:10 ]
It is a slightly bizarre article. But there's a pretty if somewhat inaccurate slideshow.
Both the article and the slideshow, jumped around a lot, I've tried to find the thesis here...and it seems to be: find something to be vaguely skeptical about.

It isn't even made clear that Evan Narcisse was referring to the comics, or that the article was intending to criticize said comics. It would just be nice to see a statement of intent somewhere.

The article discusses both artistic integrity and film grosses, but doesn't come to any conclusions on either front.

I guess I don't have any conclusions to make either.
Isn't it the first time we have seen a reference to Season 9's length ? Says shorter than Season 8.

Yeah, the article seems a little vague and "what's your point ?"-ish to me too.
"The Spin-offS Angel and Firefly"
Lol, wut?
That's so cool, it mentions Flying Colors. That's where I buy my Buffy and Angel comics! =)

I have nothing of further relevance to add. Heh.
When it comes to a Buffy movie, I'm not going to say it would make $100s of millions, but I would be shocked if it didn't make at least about double what Serenity made. So at least around $80 mil.
I agree, mossoholic (okay, so I lied, I have more to add now...). But I actually think Buffy could make even more than that, given the...ahem...enthusiasm of us fans. I think there are several fans that, regardless of how good the movie was (which I'm sure it would be more than wonderful), would go see it over and over again. I think that we've all proven our loyalty to Joss and his endeavors, so I think a Buffy film would do fairly well at the movie house but on top of that it would generate a LOT of revenue in dvd sales, as well. I think there would probably be multiple reissues of the dvds, as we've seen with Buffy and Firefly, and I'm sure there would be plenty of wonderful editions to choose from.
I agree with all that. I do think it could easily make over $100 mil especially counting overseas and even before the dvd revenue, I was just saying it should make at least around $80 mil. I mean Sex and the City has already made what around $150 mil just in the US. Does it really have more than double the fan base Buffy does? I doubt it. I go to the movie theater a lot and if the Buffy film is as amazing as it could be I would go see it at least 4 or 5 times in theaters.

Obviously this is assuming the thing ever gets made, which doesn't seem to likely. For one just to get SMG to agree to do it and a studio to put up the money it is gonna be hard enough just for those 2 things to happen let alone all the other factors.

[ edited by mossoholic on 2008-07-07 11:39 ]
Narcisse: "I just want one iteration of this fictional universe that's good."

I'm pretty sure we already had that.
Since news of the movie first surfaced pretty much every adult woman i've talked to about it has at least heard of 'Sex and the City' and knows roughly what it's about, even if they didn't necessarily watch the show. In the UK at least, Buffy just doesn't have that sort instant name recognition among the wider public so it wouldn't necessarily amaze me to hear SaTC had double the fanbase worldwide.

As with others, I don't really "get" the article. Personally I didn't see "season 8" as a risky proposition at all - even instant cancellation/executives leaping from tall buildings numbers on TV are huge by comics standards - and I agree that one film which most agreed at the time was a fairly hard sell given its cross genre nature is not enough to judge Joss' big screen sellability (though I guess it is his entire TV to movie "track record" so in that narrow sense a valid point).

And AFAIK, this article is the only place talking about cartoons etc. as possible "other fronts" for Joss to spread himself too thin on so that whole segment was kind of a solution in need of a problem i.e. let's speculate about stuff no-one intends to do and then speculate about potential problems if they do that stuff that they don't intend to do (I worry about Joss attempting to re-create the Apollo landings - I just don't think the political will's there right now and for pity's sake Joss think of the cost ! ;).
But I actually think Buffy could make even more than that, given the...ahem...enthusiasm of us fans.


Hey, this statement looks familiar ;). Is the hardcore online Buffy fandom really that much bigger than the core 'enthusiastic' browncoats? (that was rhetorical). I think there's a lot of overlap at least, and even if it's - say - two times bigger, I still don't think that's big enough to make much of a difference. I think Serenity has taught us all that a core group of very loyal fans does not equal boxoffice succes. Even huge online fangroups are relatively small when compared to the entire movie going population

The main reason a Buffy movie might succeed at the box office, where Serenity didn't, is because Buffy ran for seven seasons and Angel for five. The name recognition is larger and there are more casual viewers who maybe saw a couple of episodes (or even most of 'em) and might be inclined to check out the movie.

I don't know if I agree with Saje on the name recognition front: while I agree that the SATC name recognition is incredible and Buffy probably isn't doing quite that well, I know of no one in my social circle who hasn't at least heard about Buffy. The main difference there, I think, is that pretty much every woman I know has positive connotations with SATC (why - I can't for the life of me figure out :-p), whereas the connotations with Buffy are a very mixed bag.
Wow...I've never thought of Buffy as 'back'...it sounds weird.
... while I agree that the SATC name recognition is incredible and Buffy probably isn't doing quite that well, I know of no one in my social circle who hasn't at least heard about Buffy.

Yeah that's the same with my social circle too GVH but my point is, even way outside my social circle (which, to some extent, will be self-selecting for geeky/sci-fi/cult fandom) i.e. with work colleagues and/or relative strangers that I know aren't into the sort of stuff i'm into, SaTC is known and (generally) well thought of. Buffy on the other hand, not so much.

(as you rightly point out, we've found to our cost what happens when we sit inside the goldfish bowl and project our response onto the wider public)
I don't the "double-edged sword" reference -- the article doesn't mention any downside to Buffy being back in comic form for either Joss or Dark Horse. Certainly not Dark Horse, for which Buffy's return could be called the greatest success in the history of their company.

And Joss' history of having irons in too many fires isn't a problem specific to Season 8, unless we're now going with the UPN seasons as a double-edged sword for the franchise as well.

I'd love a live-action Buffyverse project, or even an animated feature in the style of, say, "Beowulf". But I was pretty hot about Joss' saying he'd throw Season 8 (and, by consequence, a good chunk of my dollars) under the bus if it was an obstacle to a movie. If it was like that, why not just do a complete Buffy re-launch but without the beatdown on his script that led to the campiness in 1992?

I think between Joss, Sarah, and a studio, all three would be waiting for someone else to commit before even considering it. But, hey, the Eagles got back together.

But it's Narcisse's lucky day -- there are now at least two iterations of this fictional universe that are good.
Oh, man. That last slide is the best ever. I think we all have photos of ourselves that suggest we may in fact be a zombie supergenius. But only geek celebrities have the true misfortune of being a popular topic among internet writers who lack a true sense of irony and like to make slides.
I remember SMG talking about being interested in seeing how SATC did in some of her recent interviews before the movie came out when she was asked about a Buffy movie and Buffy coming back as a movie.She was a fan of SATC,and even appeared in an episode.And as a fan,she said she wanted to see if they could pull off bringing it back in a movie format after it got such a great wrap up and would fans accept it.Would it do well and work?It seems it has.

Hollywood is a place of fads.Once something does well,the other studios and executive copy.Since Sex In The City did so well,I've seen talk of other T.V. series getting the movie continuation treatment talked about.

In the last few weeks,there has been major talk that Arrested Development is going to be brought back as a big screen movie with some of the cast indicating that it's finally greenlit due to SATC being a hit.Just today,I saw over at MTV Movie Blog,news that a big screen Friends movie is now being pushed for by executives due to the success of SATC as well and that the cast have agreed to do it should it move foreward.

If The X-Files sequel is a hit later this month,then it wouldn't surprise me if FOX got interested in doing a Buffy movie either.It will be interesting to see how The X-Files:I Want To Believe does because like Buffy,it was a genre show and also it's a movie based on a series that has been off the air for a few years now.If The X-Files proves to have legs and combined with SATC doing well,then I can see Fox wanting to look at some of their other properties for movies.

Truthfully,I think at this point,it comes down to Fox.SMG said she wants to see a script/know what she's signing onto before committing.And that's understandable.Joss dosen't want to start work on developing a Buffy movie and a story unless he knows it will be made.And that's also understandable.Look at how he got burned with Wonder Woman,The Buffyverse T.V./DVD movies,Ripper and Buffy The Animated Series.He dosen't want to put all that time into something again that ends up not being made.

That's why I think this is really more in FOX's court now to get the ball moving at this point.
Re: possibility of a Buffy movie....

As far as I'm concerned there is absolutely no chance - Joss isn't doing a buffy movie without SMG and from what I've seen and read - a snowball has a better chance in hell. And honestly, I'm not all that broken up about it. The comics work fine for me.
Maybe there should be something in the subject line explaining that the slideshow is the thing. I enjoyed the one with the action figures, after I read the article (bad!) and down into the thread.
My glass is all-full. Season 8 is a commercial and creative success. What next for the Buffy franchise? Season 9.

I'm not hankering for a movie. I'd love a cartoon series, but it'll never be. (Feature length animated movie years down the line, mebbe? Show Disney how it's done.)
even way outside my social circle [..], SaTC is known and (generally) well thought of. Buffy on the other hand, not so much.


I agree that there's a certain selection effect at work there, Saje. Most people I know are of similar age or younger than me, but among those numbers, are quite a few people who wouldn't even touch genre shows when wearing a bio-hazard suit, for fear of getting infected with the geekiness of it all. And even those people have heard about Buffy (but, admittedly, think it must be crap and prefer watching, I don't know, America's Next Topmodel or similar ;)).

Now I don't know how that translates into 30-somethings and up or current teens, so I'm making no claims about the wider name recognition, but I'm pretty sure that well-educated 20-somethings in The Netherlands have at least pretty much all heard about Buffy. And my gut feeling tells me that that translates into a pretty big world-wide audience. Not SATC-size, or Friends-size, or X-Files size. But probably larger than the Arrested Development name recognition is at the moment (to use a few of the other shows named in this thread). But yes, all this is nothing more than only-very-slightly-based-on-actual-data-guesswork-which-could-be-completely-wrong :).

(this is probably a long-winded way of agreeing with you, Saje ;))

Also: I think this guesswork is completely useless, because I don't see a Buffy movie getting made in... ever. Probably. Even if 'recent tv show movie' becomes the 'superhero movie' of 2008/2009. But who knows. Sometimes improbable things do happen, after all ;). But if it does end up happening, I'll be happy. I love the S8 comics to bits and I'm comic fan in general, but I think Buffy works best on screen, in the end.

ETA: irritating typo fixed, will probably spot another one in a minute, so will stop looking at own comment :p

[ edited by GVH on 2008-07-07 16:37 ]
My own feeling is that there will not be a Buffy movie. I won't say never, because I cannot possibly predict what might or might not happen in twenty years time with an entirely different cast. I am talking about a film in the foreseeable future with the cast we know from the TV show.

Would a film be a box office hit? I am not so sure. It would not, I think it is fair to say, take anything like the gross of SATC. I'd be very surprised if it took the $80 million mentioned earlier in this thread at the US box office (alone), at least. My own experience of "brand" recognition is that the vast majority of the people I know (family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances) are either entirely unaware of Buffy or have heard of it but know next to nothing about it - and have absolutely no interest in finding out more.
My glass is all-full. Season 8 is a commercial and creative success. What next for the Buffy franchise? Season 9.

I agree with this. Also I don't think a movie is possible at this point. Maybe much later with new faces, for a new generation of Buffy fans. When remaking 90s tv shows into movies becomes a thing.
The article's pretty weird. And since when did Firefly become a Buffy spinoff? Also, a Buffy movie would make much more money then Serenity did. You can't compare the two. Firefly (sadly) only lasted for one season while Buffy did for seven seasons. Although I do think that if there was a BTVS movie it will do better internationally then here in America. Also, since SMG said that she would see if SATC did well (which it did), I am pretty sure that there will be a BTVS movie.
Was the author of the article just trying to predict things that might go wrong? I'm confused. Why write an article like that? It didn't say anything.
I was going to post this to the article, but then slapped my forehead, V8 style, and came back to Whedonesque, because, well, duh!

Serenity was a love letter to the fans, plain and simple. Joss is on record as saying as much, and while nobody goes into these ventures expecting them to fail, the term "success" is better defined here as being the completion of an unfinished story.

As for a Buffy movie, I agree that the undertaking is full of risk, perhaps prohibitively so. The comics, which are lush, beautiful, and oh so complicated in terms of story, have set up a situation that requires extravagant budget, intense writing, and of course, original actors. SMG isn't the only one who's said she doesn't think she'll be back. David Boreanaz (a MUST HAVE for rabid female fans the world over) has also been quoted as being not interested in returning.

The kind of "effects" and story so skillfully portrayed in the comic and so very different from the tv show indicate that a change of forum is not just possible, but enriching. Dark Horse, however, is not a tight fisted movie studio nor a tempermental star. Not worth it, to me, to endanger the standard of excellence we've come to expect as fans.
This is just the coolest news ever. Buffy the movie is finally being discussed! What a dream come true.

I love Sarah's Never say never comment and how she is always so worried for the fans enjoyment. Quite a leading lady we have in our Buffy. :)
The X Files movie could help any chance of a Buffy movie if it's able to make anywhere near what SATC has made so far.

When it comes to the comics I'm with exactly what Joss said. If he has to throw it all or some of it out the window for the movie, that is fine with me. Granted it would be better for continuity if he didn't I care more about the possibility of the Buffyverse on the big screen. I like the comics. I have bought at least 1 copy of every Buffy S8 and Angel ATF comic. Most of them are good not great. Buffy and Angel are my 2 favorite shows of all time, but right now I wouldn't even say either is the best current monthly comic out there. It is certainly not the same as the show and isn't anywhere near how great I think the movie could be.

As for the people saying Buffy does not have half the fan base of SATC. Maybe just among women it is around half, what about males? At least 85-90 percent of the audience for SATC had to of been female. Of the other 10-15 percent almost all of that is guys being dragged on a date or gay men. Buffy would have a much bigger male audience than SATC has. Am I wrong to think the Buffy fan base is at least close to 50-50 when it comes to gender?

If its great material, guys like to see girls kick ass. Both of the Kill Bills made around $70 mil just in the US and most of that audience had to of been male. Same goes for Wanted with Angelina Jolie being billed as the main star that movie has made over $90 mil in 2 weeks. Those were also all rated R and Buffy would be PG 13 which has a much bigger potential audience with not lossing money from kids sneeking in and obviously anyone under 17 year olds not having to miss out on going to see it in theaters because their parents won't take them. Not to mention that when it would come out on DVD, something like Buffy is going to make much more than the average DVD does.

I also think the Buffyverse fanbase has gotten much bigger than some think since the show ended because of DVDs and a little from the comics. I'm one of the people that never saw the show air but saw all the seasons on DVD. Just some of the reasons I think the Buffyverse should be a success if the movie ever happens.

One more about the person who mentioned DB. Although my favorite 2 seasons of Buffy are 3 and 2 and Angel may be my favorite character of just about anything, I wouldn't say he needs to be in it or at least not as a main character. Maybe just a cameo would be enough although it would be awesome if he was one of the main stars. Even assuming Fox had no interest of doing anything else with Angel and no matter what DB may come of as in interviews or whatever, I think he would be in a Buffy movie. Hopefully he knows Joss gave him his big break on Buffy, not to mention his own show as Angel for 5 years after that. He may be a little bitter if Angel isn't getting his own movie, but for all Joss has helped him with, he owes him one movie if Joss wants him for it.

[ edited by mossoholic on 2008-07-08 03:13 ]

[ edited by mossoholic on 2008-07-08 03:24 ]
I really don't think DB "owes" Joss anything in the way of appearing in some future project.

If we start thinking that way, we're just paving the road towards attacks on DB if such a project should happen and he doesn't appear in it.

("But it's long established that he OWED it to Joss!" etc.)
I'm not down for the movie. Don't get me wrong (or throw rotten eggs at me- I already had breakfast), but I want to see Joss make more crazy worlds for us to play in. I feel that a Buffy movie would just enforce the pigeon-hold that Joss can only do slayers and vampires well. I say that because from this article and in the media, Firefly isn't seen as a success (even if it is in my eyes).

I say this because when I saw that there's a new X-Files movie coming out, I went "meh". It was awesome, but it's over (for me). The craze is gone, and I'm not sure how well it's going to do. Granted, it's coming out during Comic-Con, which will really help boost sales, but as far as a future for the leads, I will always see them as X-Files people. DD is the lead in Show/HBO's Califonication, but I don't buy that channel and wouldn't because he's the X-Files guy.

Let Buffy live in DVDs & comics. A new movie would be FAR into the future, when no one has anything else better to do. I want to see what else our actors can do. Dollhouse, for one, looks amazing. DB said he wouldn't revive Angel, and after seeing Bones, I agree. The broody vampire really limits his range, and DB truly likes to smile- he has a variety of smiles, which we don't really get to see unless he's evil on Angel.

AH is doing well with HIMYM, and, I don't watch it but it's mainstream enough to make the public happy.

ASH is going to star in that creepy rock-opera Repo man movie, which I can't wait to see. Blood and song should always be involved.

Even though this article was vague and pointless, I do agree that all three shows suffered when Joss went juggling. I want his focus on the larger forms of media. It's been mentioned here in the black that not all of the comic issues are strong on Buffy when he's absent (preferences of course), but the point is that there is a difference noted. I don't want that. I want awesome all the time.

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