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May 18 2005

Joss Whedon talks Serenity comic. He tells Sci Fi Wire how the miniseries was based on the animated prequel that never was. And if the movie doesn't do so well then the future for Serenity will most likely be in comic book form.

I hope for comics either way the movie goes. Just that little bit we got the other day got me excited about Firefly/Serenity stories (I guess they did their job then).

Of course, the more mediums we have Firefly in the better, I say.
Is that the first time we've seen Joss talking about what happens if the movie isn't a success? I think it might be.
You know, you're right. He's mentioned the possibility before, but I don't think that he's mentioned the future of Firefly if the movie doesn't do very well.

It's great that there is another plan though. It would be sad to have these characters disappear due to the lack of mass appeal.
I think you're right, Simon. But I wonder whether Joss was actually doing his usual thing and the writer not a capturing Joss's tongue in cheek.
Well I'm guessing this interview comes from a Serenity press tour event. So it's more than likely we'll see variations of what Joss said about Serenity's future in other interviews.
Yeah, and what is he to say? It's possible it won't be a hit and he knows it. The more I see the Star Wars hype blowing over every aspect of our culture, the more I think a September release for Serenity was a good idea. Let all this blow over first.

And...well I hate to be one of those people to go "Well, when I talked to Joss himself, the other day, at this fundraiser..." but...when I did talk to Joss at that fundraiser (ya know the 3 minutes you manage to stutter words like "Hi" "You cool" "Me fan!" and stuff) I told him how much I hoped Serenity would hit and become a trilogy. He gave me a wry smile and said "I don't not hope that myself!"

Now I wonder how much of him maybe expects it to not be a success on some level. Not because of lack of faith in the product, he cleary poured his soul into it, but there's just no telling. And like he said in his video intro at the screening: no huge budget, no big name actors, no easily sellable concept... If the trailers strike people wrongly somehow, there goes your opening weekend.

Gawd I wonder how nervous he is. I mean I'M nervous and I'm just a fan! I'm gonna feel so damn bad if it flops. I can't imagine what Joss or the cast must be feeling. Nathan especially is so emotionally attached to the whole thing.

I think it will at least make it's money back, especially with DVD sales, but it might not warrant a sequel then. Then again, people are ready for something new. Plus, maybe SW:RotS will make space adventure 'in' again so the space ship shots in the trailer will look good to people.... Aggh, I gotta stop this. Wait and see, wait and see....
I think it would be a little unreasonable to expect Joss Whedon to blindly assume that 'Serenity' will be a block buster hit, not when he has suffered through having 'Firefly' cancelled on him so abruptly. I mean I'm sure he believed 'Firefly' was wonderful (and we know he was right), but that didn't make the show a ratings hit. So it doesn't seem like a terrible thing to have a plan B, to have an idea of how he'll tell the tales he is longing to share.
At the same time I think the comics are a great marketing tool, and will find even more fans for 'Firefly' and 'Serenity'. Heck, we saw the movie trailer cause the DVD sales of 'Firefly' to rise again! A lot of kids are in the comic book stores during the Summer, and this is a great way to expose a lot of them to this great show.
Sounds to me like Joss is trying to keep his expectations under control, given the pain and tragedy of what happened to Angel and Firefly... sniff Though I personally am confident Serenity will do well - the execs seem to be getting the message to promote this thing, and then there's the power of word-of-mouth and repeat viewings. Big question is: will Serenity catch on? Will it make the casual viewer want to come back again, with friends?
It's not just the quality of the movie to be considered. Regardless of how good Serenity is, it may simply not be enough to lure the teeming masses like the pied piper. Pretty soon, nothing may be enough.

This year, movie ticket sales are at an all time LOW, and Whedon's saavy enough to understand the mentality of not only his own fanbase, but movie enthusiasts as a whole. Movies thus far this year that were predicted to kick major butt have done only a fraction of what was expected. HitchHiker's Guide, House of Wax, Sahara and Amityville Horror failed to impress most anybody. The numbers overall have consistently been less this year than previous years, and this is a continuation of a trend that's been going on since the start of the millenium. Going to the movie theater is becoming less and less appealing. People prefer to just stay home.

I'm seriously considering not going to the Star Wars 3 film in the movie theater at all. I know I won't go opening weekend. I will at least wait until the crowds thin, but waiting even longer than that is becoming even more appealing. I bought the original films one at a time on VHS, then got the remastered copies that came out just before Episode One in one box set. I learned my lesson though. I'm waiting for all six films to come out in one box set, before I buy any on DVD. Eventually Lucas will have to release all six movies together in a giftbox set complete with all kindsa new gunk. That'll probably be the last time he sees any of my money.

I don't enjoy going to a crowded movie theater with outrageous prices for popcorn and nachos, paying for a one time sit down about half the price the DVD's gonna be in less than a year, having to tolerate cellphones and crying babies and people shouting at the screen, not to mention that the level of sound in a movie theater is always either too loud or too soft, depending on my mood at the time. If you have to pee halfway through the film, you gotta miss valuable minutes of the film: you can't pause it. Then you gotta put up with the increasing use of Pre Movie Ads that start with static filmstrips when you come into a theater early, and continue for almost a half hour through the 'movie previews' prior to the feature presenation. Hell, if I wanted commercials, I'd wait till the movie was shown on NBC.

It's a totally selfish attitude, but when one can either see a film on opening day having to put up with all that crap, or wait a few months and view it in the privacy of one's own home, where I have control of the remote, can drink beer and eat homemade nachos and popcorn if I so choose, the obvious answer to that dilemma is clear. The future of indoor movie theaters are in jeopardy, and their fate threatens to go the way of The Drive-In. I bet Joe Bob Briggs would be pleased to learn that, since he blamed indoor theaters for the demise of the drive-ins of his youth.

I will see Serenity on opening weekend, because for me, Whedon's work is different, but you and I are in a minority there. Most people will think of the DVD, as I think of the SW3 DVD as a preference. If like me, you want to see Serenity break box office records, we may have to come up with something that we can do as a force this summer to help spread the word. it's not going to happen all by itself. We need to find some way to make going to the Serenity film on opening weekend worthwhile. I don't know what that is, but we have only the summer to figure it out.

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2005-05-18 11:27 ]
Well, I hope the film is an enormous success AND the comic book continues.
While I agree that your attitude about movie-going is common today, I can't agree that it's quite as dire as that. I think the lackluster box office receipts so far are indicative of poor movies -- nothing has so far caught the imagination of the movie-going public because even though movies at home are more convenient and economical, there's nothing quite like the pleasure of mass movie-watching. The May 5th screening was great not only because the movie rocked & I got to see Gina Torres and Alan Tudyk, but seeing it with a whole bunch of other fans was radically cool. The communal aspect of seeing a movie has its bad parts, all the stuff you mentioned, but also its good aspects: the whole audience gasping at the same time, and jokes are always funnier when they're shared.

As for what needs to be done in order for Serenity to make enough money back for the studio to ensure a sequel... marketing is key. Word of mouth is key. Dragging as many friends as possible to the movie with you, also key. I'm seeing SWIII on Friday because of my friend despite an entire lack of desire, and I want Serenity to have the same kind of geek appeal, only more worldy. For the midnight screening, I'm already figuring on getting at least 5-6 people, some totally unfamiliar with the 'verse, to come with me. And there will be more dragging later on. I've already seen the movie and know it's a worthwhile viewing experience (to say the least!), but mostly I just really really want more movies.

The thought of no more 'verse onscreen makes my heart heavy. Not just because I have comic book issues, but.. I've gotten really attached to all the actors, and to never see them inhabit their characters again makes me feel weighted with something like sadness. I'll miss Nathan Fillion as Mal almost as much as he would! And I have the idea that Joss is only getting warmed up. Serenity is a beautiful movie, but it's also his first directorial big screen movie, and there are rough patches that have yet to be smoothed out of his style. For me, there's no question that the sequel will be even better. For me, that's truly exciting.
dottikin is raising something that I have been ruminating in the back of my mind Ė how is Joss going to stack up as a movie director. I am not trying to stir up any controversy or be unsupportive, but while I have zero problems using the genius label for Joss as a creator and a writer, I am not yet sure how good he really is as a director. In a TV series the format is so prescribed that you canít really tell from that.

He is probably quite aware of that himself, it is after all his first big feature, so it is reasonable to be a bit cautious about making predictions. The last thing youíd want at this juncture is to come across all cock sure and arrogant and deliver ammunition to the critics whoíll be busy looking for faults anyway.

It will be very interesting to see how he stacks up in that regard and I totally agree with dottikin even more fascinating how he develops. There are a bunch of truly great directors out there, but not that many at all who are great writers at the same time and even fewer who can create whole new worlds at the drop of a hat. I actually canít think of anyone who combines all three.

(Please donít say Lucas now, fantastic achievements on so many levels, but not a great writer, not by any stretch of the imagination.)

Now matter what happens we are just at the beginning of another journey alongside the Whedon. What fun!
Obviously it's a subjective thing but I put forward Peter Jackson, Joel (and Ethan) Coen as great writers and directors. Not sure about the "create whole new worlds at the drop of a hat" Very hard to judge that one.

I think Joss has already proven himself to be a great director, even if only (thus far) for tv. Hush and The Body are good examples of this, it's not just the script that makes them stand-out, but because of the differences to a normal script, the direction needed to be special and I think it was.
There is another thing that makes people go to the movies rather than wait for the DVD. People like to see BIG movies on the big screen. I sometimes think that is why action movies are so popular; they are something that is just better in the big screen format. Given that, if Serenity gets good reviews and good word of mouth, I don't see any reason for it not to get a good sized audience

A couple people mentioned Star Wars when it first came out and that made me think back to what it was like to see it then. It became an experience in itself, waiting in line for the doors to open, then the stampede to try to get enough good seats together for your group. You could feel the electricity in the air. Yeah, it would be fun for something like that to happen again.
I get that people like to see movies on the big screen but in most cases, screen sizes have gotten smaller over the years and TVs are getting bigger. We're thinking of buying one of those HDTVs this Christmas and if we do we most likely won't want to go to the theater when we can watch movies in the comfort of our own living room on a big screen tv with no screeming, giggling teenagers (well, except for the two that live here!). Of course I will be going to see Serenity at the theaters just because it will look fantastic (and I could never, ever wait for that to come out on dvd!) but I prefer to watch movies at home in most cases for many of the same reasons that Zachsmind mentioned.
Just wanted to add that you would miss out on the crowd excitement of getting to see a great movie in the theater if you opt to watch it at home instead. There is something about sitting in a crowd of people and hearing people cheer, laugh, cry etc. when you do.

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