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May 13 2005

Serenity's sold-out screenings on Slashdot. Kinda strange to be posted on the /. but there it is.

Let's see... 1 million Dvd's sold in a day at an average of $40 per set..

5 million sold since it has been released.

So, Fox has made somewhere around $200 million off that series so far..


*boggle*

Most companies consider $200 million a fairly decent amount to make off a series that has had a multiyear run.. For a show that was cancelled before it even got a run is pretty far removed from the norm. ...

This particlar vocal sub-group put a lot of money on the table.


Let's see ... evidence of property's massive appeal and financial lucrativeness, even given the series' limited original run on FOX ... self-perpetuating online buzz on highest-profile geek channels, months before the official release... preview shows (both rounds) sold out within hours in every city...

So, what is it Uni needs to see before Serenity sequels will be getting greenlit, exactly? More green? Or something else?
I like the blurb from the front page. For some reason it all sounds vaguely familiar:

'Following the sell-out success of the May 5th pre-screenings, creator Joss Whedon recently announced that more advance previews of his movie Serenity would appear at twenty theaters in twenty cities, this time on May 26th. By the next morning, well before the official list of cities was posted, fans on the Serenity movie site and elsewhere had diligently located half the listings through trial and error and several of the locations were already sold out... "
Universal, to date, has made nothing out of this, and certainly nothing out of the Firefly DVD sales. One of the posters made a comment about "not confusing a dedicated fanbase with a large fanbase". Universal need to see money, large amounts of it, by getting backsides on seats on release. We are all excited sure, but hell, I'd be excited if Joss sneezed! I. Am. A. Fan.

Money is the only measure!
This is Slashdot's third article on Serenity so it's not surprising.
It's not profit, but do they count the money they've taken in for the screenings?

That'd be maybe something like ($10/seat)*(250 seats/screening)*(30 screenings)*(80% studio's cut of the box office) = $60,000. Hmmm... if the BDM cost $50,000,000 to make, that's... uh, one tenth of a percent of Universal’s initial investment. Ok, never mind. I guess you're right, catalyst:

In effect, "Universal, to date, has made nothing out of this".
Um, unfortunately those DVD sales numbers are way off. There is absolutely no way one million sets were sold on the first day (or any day). Even counting pre-orders, etc. If I recall correctly, it sold about 200,000 in about 3 months, which is really damn good. But nowhere near those numbers.
Yeah selling one million DVDs in one day is Hollywood blockbuster territory. And I think that particular poster was taking the piss anyhow.
Why does everyone think Universal is making money on the screenings?

1. It costs at least $1000 (up to $2000) to make a 35mm film print - which they can't use for the real release because its not finished

2. They have to rent the theaters, it's not a regular showing so they have to pay for that.

3. There aren't more than 200-250 seats per theater.

4. They are printing flyers for the events.

5. I suspect they have to pay for the actors/actresses to travel/appear
Very true, Universal hasn't made any money from 'Serenity' as of yet. These screenings are for the sole purpose of promoting the movie and to gather audience feedback before the film is set in final production. The fact that Universal has taken such efforts indicate (to me, anyway) that they want this film to be a success at the box office. With the word of mouth from the few thousands of people who attended these screenings beginning to circulate amongst the general public, I say Universal is on track.

Must take a few of these / posts with a grain of salt.
Yeah, Madhatter. To me it seems Universal is showing some respect and care for their investment. I haven't always felt this way in the past, but right now the word "universal" makes me giddy.

I still don't think Fox makes much from DVD sales. Twentieth Century Fox, maybe. If the networks were making profits from DVD sales, they would have released a lot more shows more quickly, I think. This has come up so many times I'm gonna see if I can find some answers online now.

ETA: I'm finding that newer lax FCC regulations let networks earn some $$$ from DVD sales, and they can now partially own shows, like the production companies/studios (they couldn't in the past). I'm just not finding numbers yet. Look's like Newscorp, the owner of Fox, makes up for Fox's network losses because it owns so many other companies.

[ edited by April on 2005-05-13 14:39 ]
Eh, sorry for the double post but oh well.
I almost had my first link today! Been kinda stuck lately trying to find good links, since Whedonesque has been my primary source for links lately.
I found the coolest site, and I have a feeling at least Simon might hang out there. www.dvd-intelligence.com . Too bad it costs many Euros a month to suscribe there. They have plenty of teasers about loads of "inside" DVD info. Looks to be solid but I wasn't there too long. (no subscription funds). Your inner DVD lovin' geek might like it.
Maybe I'm confused (wouldn't be the first time), but it's not a Slashdot article, it's a link to a Rotten Tomatoes article, right?

It's very cool, regardless.
"Why does everyone think Universal is making money on the screenings?"

They aren't making money, but you can bet this is one of the cheapest ways to advertise effectly. Yes, there are expenses, as there would be for any advertising, but the costs are defrayed by our admission fees.

Universal knows Serenity has an avid and vocal fanbase that is extremely active on the internet, so that through message boards, chat rooms, blogs and early reviews, as well as through word-of-mouth, they are getting virtually free advertising.

The one drawback for movies or TV shows of Joss-quality is that they appeal to an intelligent fan base, but are not necessarily big money makers. They don't draw in the braindead masses who watch shows like "America's Next Top Model" or "Britney and Kevin" and then go out and buy the latest toothpaste that sparkles and the $50,000 ozone-layer-destroying SUV. Brilliance doesn't always translate into making lots of money (as any adjunct college professor could tell you).

The one drawback for movies or TV shows of Joss-quality is that they appeal to an intelligent fan base, but are not necessarily big money makers. They don't draw in the braindead masses who watch shows like "America's Next Top Model" or "Britney and Kevin" and then go out and buy the latest toothpaste that sparkles and the $50,000 ozone-layer-destroying SUV.


Yes, that's my main fear concerning Serenity. I honestly don't think that, even if it is three times better than any of us hope, it will make a major amount of money.

This is a shame since we know that sequel could be considered if Serenity is a success.

Brilliance doesn't always translate into making lots of money (as any adjunct college professor could tell you).


I confirm!

[ edited by Le Comité on 2005-05-13 17:10 ]
I'd imagine that Universal is banking on large dvd sales for Serenity as well, which could constitute a considerable sum of money.
While I certainly believe that Universal is not making any money off of the screenings (because, the theaters have to make some money or they wouldn't do this), but I did read an article regarding the Boston screening of Serenity and it did state that there were 600 people there. So the screenings are a bit more than 200 or 250 people.
the san francisco screening was in one of the smaller rooms at the van ness theatre, so i would say that it was about 200-250 people. still nice, and with stadium seating and all, but it's one of the ones that i'm usually bummed to find myself in if i'm seeing something big, like star wars. so i guess the size of the screenings varied?
Hun? Guess I need sleep.
"Brilliance doesn't always translate into making lots of money (as any adjunct college professor could tell you)."

*cracking up at Nebula1400 as I just sent off an online application about ten minutes ago for said position*
TVsBrent- you're right, I was at the Boston screening, and I made sure to check the door before entering the theater, and it sat over 600. I can't remember the exact number. But it was 600 and something.
I found the coolest site, and I have a feeling at least Simon might hang out there. www.dvd-intelligence.com .


I've never seen that site before. But thanks very much April, it looks right up my street. Cheers.

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