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October 05 2005

Box office day 5 and Serenity drops to 4th for Tue. Flightplan remains number 1, Corpse pulls into 2nd, as History comes in at third, dropping Serenity to the 4th place. Bringing in 665,000 for the day. Box Office Mojo reports Serenity pulling in $701,005.

$665,000? Nope. While Serenity did drop to 4th, it pulled in $701,005 for the day. A bit distressing, however, is that Serenity's the only film in the top 10 that dropped on Tuesday.

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/daily/chart/?sortdate=2005-10-04&p=.htm

[ edited by The Dark Shape on 2005-10-05 21:59 ]
It didn't drop much it would seem, but that is a troubling perception.

All this week I've been feeling like I've been kicked in the chest because of how little Serenity is pulling in.
Well, we're all saving up our repeat viewings for the 2nd weekend, when it really counts...right? Right?
Show Biz Data and Box Office Mojo have been reporting different daily estimates all week. In the end, though, the cumulatives through Tuesday are roughly the same: Show Biz Data at $11,571,000, versus Box Office Mojo at $11,520,000.
BOM isn't posting estimates, it's posting actuals.
I purposely am waiting to this weekend to help the numbers.
We just have to keep going and bringing everyone we can.
Very disappointing! If I read this right, Into The Blue is pulling more folks per screen than Serenity...if true, our educational system has indeed failed us!
The savvy fan knows it's all about the second weekend. I'm curious if we lose screens, gain screens or remain the same. It'd be nice to see how some overseas totals factor into the equation. Doesn't that happen this weekend as well?
"If I read this right, Into The Blue is pulling more folks per screen than Serenity"

If you look at the actuals from BOM it is clear that Serenity beat Blue in the per/screen race! $320 to $203 :)
Considering Into the Blue is playing in more theaters than Serenity and made less money, I think it's safe to assume it's making less per theater.

PTA:

Serenity - $320
Into the Blue - $203
I saw it again today. It was in a small theatre in the local multiplex, but the theatre was 1/2 full. It was mostly men, and clearly most of them were not Browncoats; but they responded well to the movie. A lot of laughter (I noticed in all 3 shows I've seen since the premiere that the women laughed more than the men. My 12-year-old son said it's because the women get more of what they are seeing than the men.)

There were two people who were obviously not Browncoats (they didn't know the history of all the characters), but it was obvious they were loving the movie. Some other people actually applauded - something I hadn't seen since the screenings.

We're going to do our part to bring in a bunch of people this weekend. My teenage daughter is lending our Firefly DVDs to a friend. The plan is to get a group of them together for the TV show during the week and then the movie this weekend. My oldest son (new to the ranks of the Browncoats) is seeing it again this weekend and bringing friends (all benign Star Trek geeks who hated the three prequels) along as well.

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-10-05 22:46 ]
Are you seeing them in the Neshaminy 24, Nebula? I've seen it there all 4 times I been. On every showing, and I mean every one I've seen people walk out. Most folks seemed to enjoy it, but I lament those folks who walk out on it.
ShowBiz data's number of screens for Into the Blue is apparently wrong (it's been wrong the entire week) which causes the confusion.

These numbers are not really encouraging if Serenity is supposed to become a sleeper hit, because then the numbers shouldn't be going down every day for 4 days in a row. Anyway the movie is not even out for a week, so who knows what might still happen?
Well looking at the ShowBiz site, it looks to me they are saying that ITB is showing on fewer screens and has a larger per screen average...if I'm misreading it fine, but I can do without the snide response!!
Something that really sucks, I don't know for how many states, but many teens are taking the SATs Saturday morning. That could prevent many from seeing it on Fri, so Sat might have higher numbers. I however am seeing it both night!
Are you seeing them in the Neshaminy 24, Nebula?

No, IMForeman. I've been going to Loews in Cherry Hill. It's closer and there is no bridge toll!

Two people walked out together in the second show that I saw, but that was it.

ETA: There are SATs also to consider this weekend. but then those teens might feel they have to treat themselves afterward. A good tactic would be to invite them out to see "Serenity" when they are done!

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2005-10-05 23:38 ]
Calledon, no need to be snippy.
My old girlfriend from college went to the Cherry Hill theater last night, Nebula1400, with her sister (a FF virgin, who loved it) and a best friend.

She and her boyfriend are going this weekend.

I'm going again tomorrow, and probably over the weekend, too.
My 12-year-old son said it's because the women get more of what they are seeing than the men.

Your son is wise beyond his years. ;)
God, this is all so worriesome - not necessarily Tuesday's numbers, but the numbers in general. I can't even imagine how Joss and the others involved in "Serenity" must feel. I just keep pouring over the box office results, trying to gague for myself how I think this next weekend will work out.

I was talking to a friend today who hadn't even heard of "Serenity" before. She watches an average amount of television AND she's really into movies on the geekier end of the spectrum (luckily, she has me to steer her towards the movie). I just can't help but think that "Serenity" is largely flying under the radar and it -
*sigh*
I just can't wait for this to all be over.
Hmm, this is slightly worrying, I agree. But let's reserve judgement untill we get those all important second weekend figures.

Hmpf, I have to wait till November 17th to start paying to see the BDM (did see it twice already, but the dutch pre-screening and red carpet premiere were free of cost, even though most of us would've gladly payed to go).
>because then the numbers shouldn't be going down every day for 4 days in a row<

I just looked at the number for "The Dukes of Hazard" which is right on the crest of hitting the $80 million mark and it had drops almost every day during the week.

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=daily&id=dukesofhazzard.htm

I guess it means that drops during the week aren't all bad... Let's hope! :)
I can do without the snide response!!

In reading the posts, I didn't interpret anyone as being snide with you. Sorry you felt that way though. I never really considered BO numbers to be so stressful until I actually cared about any of them.
I went last night – the downtown chicago theater I went to was only about 1/3 full, if that, but for a tuesday night i didn't find that surprising. The audience was VERY responsive, though – laughed a lot, gasped in places, seemed to be really enjoying it. I took my husband, who I practically had to drag. He didn't like Firefly at all (I showed him three episodes, including Out of Gas, but failed utterly to convince him of its brilliance), and was predisposed to hate Serenity, but ended up loving it.

I'm sure that if we could only get more people into the audience they would love it as well... It's getting them there that's the challenge. I'm having very poor luck so far with my friends, most of whom want to write off anything sci-fi or action-oriented. I'm focusing on the positive reviews, the great writing, the character-oriented nature, but it's still an uphill battle. If all i had seen were the trailers and ads, without knowing anything about Joss or Firefly, I doubt I'd be going either....

[ edited by acp on 2005-10-05 23:22 ]
It would certainly help things if they aired a single darn commercial for the film where I live... I mean come on ! In the last 2 weeks I have seen only 2 spots on both Canadian and American network tv.
"I was talking to a friend today who hadn't even heard of "Serenity" before. She watches an average amount of television AND she's really into movies on the geekier end of the spectrum"...

This is the price paid for the nearly utter lack of advertisement. Largely the only group of people who knew about the film's release outside of industry folk like critics were series fans and folks who travel heavily in sci-fi fandom circles of various types.

All we can hope for at this point is word of mouth. It's happened before... look at movies like "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". That thing opened in wide release with only a 3m take in its first weekend, but then proceeded to stay in theaters for nearly a full year, eventually becoming one of the top grossing movies (top 50 domestic, top 100 world I think? somping like that) of all time that never actually hit #1 on the weekend box office ranks.

It could happen. Universal isn't going to sink any more money into it, we just gotta keep telling our friends and acquaintances. We DO have a grace period here of a few weeks for theater owners to decide to keep it on a screen for awhile.. the big crowd of holiday movies won't start gobbling up all the screens for another 5-6 weeks or so.
The main problem I'm having getting people to go is the PG-13 rating. Everyone in my office has kids, most under ten years old, and pretty much never to go the movies at all unless they can take their kids and it's a G-rated flick. They watch most adult stuff on TV or via Netflix, that's just how it is.

This is why "Wallace & Gromit" has me worried -- it's gonna pull a ton of these "family" viewers away from "Serenity". (It's gonna pull me, too -- I've been looking forward to "W&G" all year! I intend to go to "W&G" for a matinee showing so as to save a little money for another "Serenity" viewing, though.)

The same thing may happen with the next Harry Potter movie -- it's the first in the HP series to get a PG-13 instead of a G, and I think this could bring down its box office take a bit (not that they really need a lot of take, they've done so well in the past that I'm sure they have some kind of 'cushion').
Why have the trailers not been airing on TV this week? If they are airing, they certainly are hard to find. Shouldn't the ad campaign continue?
All right, that's it. I'm going 3 times this weekend, with 5 different people. If Dukes of Hazzard is close to making $80million, there is no way we can let Serenity make less. That would be wrong on so many levels. I harbor hopes that the media blitz (which I didn't think really happened in the States) in the UK will give this coming weekend a nice boost. Also, as a baseball fan completely disinterested in any of the teams currently playing, I hope that sweeps happen in this round to clear the weekend schedule for sports fans to go to the theaters.
Not to double post, but it's relevant. Went again today and verified it's staying on two screens this week. The manager said that means it's doing okay.
I'm not sure that fretting over each day's returns is helpful, least of all to our collective blood pressure. If I were in a position to change the box-office numbers on a large scale, that might be different. As it is, all I can do is all I have been doing, which is to see and re-see the movie repeatedly, and to tell people about it, directing them to reviews where appropriate. This micro-focusing on individual dollars and screens is a tad meshugganeh. The patient lived - Joss and the cast and crew got to reunite and made a terrific movie. I recommend easing down with the blow-by-blows.
"I recommend easing down with the blow-by-blows."

But...but we love the drama! ;)
Box Office Top 10 (according to movietickets.com)

Weekend Box Office as of 10/4/2005
1.Flightplan$14,805,739
2.Serenity$10,086,680
3.Tim Burton's Corpse Bride$10,033,257
4.A History of Violence$8,103,077
5.Into the Blue$7,057,854
6.Just Like Heaven$6,128,180
7.The Exorcism of Emily Rose$4,380,280
8.Roll Bounce$4,029,257
9.The Greatest Game Ever Played$3,657,322
10.The 40 Year-Old Virgin$3,120,045
On the flip side of "no one's heard of it", in a very small, non-statistically significant sample, I've randomly brought up Serenity with four people all over (one's in Alaska, one in Canada, two from Boston) and was shocked to find out all of them had heard of it. Two of them have been watching Firefly and plan to see the movie (the ones in Boston), the one in Alaska heard it was good but has no first-run theaters near her, and the one in Canada was like "is that the movie based on that TV show Firefly?". Unfortunately, since that last one is a Dark Angel fan, she long ago boycotted the series b/c she says Fox cancelled Dark Angel to put Firefly on. Not sure if she'll go see the movie. But she has heard of it.

And the week before the movie, my spoiler-averse boyfriend couldn't seem to avoid the commercials on TV. And most of my Firefly-watching friends had heard radio commercials or seen the Tivo promotion or seen TV commercials (though most of them expressed concern about the trailer not appealing to the non-fan).

On the other hand, every time I've heard a promotional bit that emphasizes the popularity of the screenings, I've cringed a bit. B/c honestly, I don't think that's the best way to sell this movie to the general public... It's nice to pay tribute to the fans that made the movie possible, but I personally think the screenings are better tools to get people to spread word of mouth than selling points in and of themselves...

And then there was the coworker of a friend who thought Serenity was a chick flick based on River's prominent placement on the poster. ???
Yeah it might be better if the next figures that are posted are the ones for Friday.
I think we all just need to relax a bit. I'm sure a lot of die-hard fans are planning on going on the weekend and bringing friends with them. Let's just try to enjoy the victory that the film made it to the big screen, it was absolutely amazing and is getting such wonderful reviews.

[ edited by Firefly Flanatic on 2005-10-06 00:11 ]
And then there was the coworker of a friend who thought Serenity was a chick flick based on River's prominent placement on the poster. ???

But chick flicks sell. They just sell more slowly and evenly over a longer period of time. You wouldn't think that, though, if you saw the audiences - mostly male, between college and middle-age.
Ahh the movie has a woman as a main character, despite her holding a gun it must be a romantic comedy :D.

This isn't all that bad, it's still making ok money for a weekday.
I don't think the box office will be good for wednesday. Lost is on tonight and that has alot of sci-fi fans plus theres the baseball playoffs so sports fans are staying in.
I heartily second SNT's and Simon's plea for maintaing healthy blood pressure levels. Holding off posting box office receipts until Saturday sounds good to me.

Meanwhile, I must get one last worried bit out stimulated by all this box office anxiousness: *where* in god's name are the TV advertisements? Where are the previews? I continue to see Flight Plan and Corpse Bride pushed on the idiot box but not Serenity. Feh. My hat is off to Cronenberg's History of Violence, though. I wish it well....by most accounts a brilliant picture. I'm glad people are seeing it. Although I imagine many of the smarty-pants arthouse folk seeing History of Violence would not give Serenity a moment's thought due to the poster alone. A real pity, since Serenity is nothing if not an intelligent, thoughtful film.

I'll be seeing Serenity for the fifth and sixth times this weekend. Both times I'll be bringing people. Take that, Flight Plan!
You read my mind, phlebotinin. I was just wondering to myself why we aren't seeing TV and print ads trumpeting the critical acclaim, fercryinoutloud??!! Hurry, Uni, before it's too late!
Let the numbers roll as they may this week, this weekend is what matters.
I have a friend who watches network TV during the week. She told me that she has seen Serenity ads everyday so far since this weekend! They're out there somewhere.

[ edited by Tiny Tabby on 2005-10-06 02:22 ]
I went and saw it for my fifth time last night (2x in screenings, 3rd time since friday). Everytime I've seen it I've brought atleast one newbie, and they all, even the ones who'd prefer to see a chick flick, have enjoyed it. Last night I brought my father. He loved it. There were only 12 of us in the theater, and I think the majority were browncoats, but it was a Tuesday night, and the Red Sox were playing, and I live just outside of Boston.
I have a friend who watches network TV during the week. She told me that she has seen Serenity ads everyday so far since this weekend! They're out there somewhere.

Somewhere doesn't equal everywhere. And while I could see the premise of buying ads only in targeted markets for the first half of this week (they've not aired during anything I've watched and/or checked here in Portland), now that it's Wednesday, there needs to ba a national buy of review-quoting ads.

If there isn't one, then it will smell something similar to Universal walking away.
Suggestion: How about one central box office thread like we had with the review threads?
Just saw a "two thumbs up" style commercial during Veronica Mars, thought you guy would like to know.
I saw it too. Great episode by the way!
There were several "Serenity" ads on today with the "two thumbs up" notation on them. I guess I just haven't been watching enough TV... ;-)
I haven't seen any at all and before the movie opened I was seeing them all over the place. Do you think if an area did good with ticket sales they stop advertising on their local stations?
I haven't seen any ads this week either Nebula, but I'm glad to hear someone has. I was bowling with my friends tonight (because that's what all the cool people do...) and two of them are now planning on seeing Serenity this weekend.
Just watched Veronica Mars that I had taped and sure enough there was a Serenity ad! It was a new one mentioning "Two Thumbs Up!" Glad I saw one because that reassures me somewhat.
Watched "So You Think You Can Dance" (what? a friend knew two of the final 16) and there was a Serenity ad - the "two thumbs up" one. It was really short, though - I think three quotes and not a heck of a lot of footage from the movie. Wouldn't have caught my attention if I wasn't looking for it...
Just chiming in to say I saw the "two thumbs up" ad during VM. That's the only TV I watched today so I don't know if they aired it during other shows.
I saw the same ad on VM tonight, too. Along with the familiar visuals there were several very positive review pullquotes from respected sources, which instantly alleviated my nervousness that Uni had somehow forgotten basic film marketing for TV, or else decided to devote the rest of its budgeted resources to the European promo push. I would hope there'll be more like it running on NBC and FOX tomorrow night to make a play for those mainstream veiwers who didn't venture out opening weekend, but are looking for something to do this Friday or Saturday night.

I'll be going again myself, probably on Sunday. I know of a couple acquaintances who've mentioned they were interested in giving it a try after the "first week rush" is over. I considered telling them not to worry about a crowded theater during the week, but in the end reflected that it might be better psychology (if a little sneaky) to let them keep thinking it was selling out everywhere, based on the rave reviews they've read ;)
I do think the movie is generating a lot of buzz though but people are interested in seeing the DVDs first before seeing the movie. A guy over on the Sideshow Freaks board mentioned he had been interested in seeing the movie so he bought the DVDs and he watched the first two episodes and he is now planning on going this weekend to see the movie. He's probably not alone doing it this way. I think if the numbers can hold enough to keep it in the theaters this movie really will have legs. People seem to be really interested but they want to watch the series first. I know that's how I'd want to do it if I hadn't seen any of Firefly.
acp, I know exactly the theater. It's so sad that it's the only one playing the film in Chicago considering it really isn't the biggest and most people end up avoiding that theater all together because it is in downtown.
I saw the same ad on VM tonight, too. Along with the familiar visuals there were several very positive review pullquotes from respected sources, which instantly alleviated my nervousness that Uni had somehow forgotten basic film marketing for TV

I'm glad to hear that it's out there somewhere but I still have that feeling of 'what gives' and I don't think I'll be able to lose that as long as I don't see even a single one of those ads on any channel. Anywhere. Any time. Ever.

It's really my only frustration. If it doesn't do well, so be it. It was always a long shot, I'm really happy it got made and I do believe it will be discovered in time. But now I'm losing that "well everything that could be done, was done" feeling. I've seen the most moronic movies (that did worse business than this one and had only 10% positive reviews) still get the "critics rave" second-week-trailers shown regularly. And now...I come in from the study when I hear it's commercials, and...nothing. Ever.
It's so sad that it's the only one playing the film in Chicago considering it really isn't the biggest and most people end up avoiding that theater all together because it is in downtown.

Yeah, a whole issue in addition to the smallish number of screens is the rather poor theater selection, at least from my limited knowledge.
I was in New York last weekend and thought I might have a chance to go – I was really sorry to see it wasn't playing at Lincoln Square or one of the other really big theaters. And in Chicago, it's not playing at any of the theaters I normally would go to, but rather in what I'd consider second-tier ones. At the one I saw it at (Loews 600 Michigan), the print was *terrible* with major sound/picture issues.
It's especially disappointing since some of those big theaters are the ones that hosted the early pre-screenings. Has anyone had similar experiences in their cities when it comes to theater selection?
for the 1st week in Australia, Serenity made $1,489,797 ($1,130,519 US Dollars).
It finished in 8th position. http://www.mpdaa.org.au/customers/mpdaa/mpdaa.nsf/Web_Insider?openForm&login&action=insider&source=top10

Also note: This past weekend was Australias Highest Grossing weekend at the Box Office for 11 weeks
EdDantes, I feel your pain. I wouldn't be bothered if everything was being done to get people in...but the barely-there ads and lack of TV coverage are puzzling, and IMO could have significantly boosted attendance this weekend and next week (especially with the golden reviews and the great story behind the movie!). I'm really surprised Universal hasn't pushed Serenity more in the home stretch, cause right now is when it's needed. The fans sure are working hard enough!

Finally saw the ad during Veronica Mars, good to see it had reviews in it, but it was so short compared to, say, the spot for "Elizabethtown" (which has way less plot and two main characters!) and I don't know that the "Star Wars" comparison will get a lot of the VM audience interested.

On the positive side, I also know a few people who are going this weekend, specifically because they assumed it would be too crowded the first weekend. I didn't know what to say to correct them from thinking the theaters are packed! so I hope the "sneaky psychology" mentioned earlier works on the viewing public.
The main problem I'm having getting people to go is the PG-13 rating

I don't think that's been too big a prob here in Southern Ontario - on opening night and last night ('cause I couldn't wait for the weekend to see it again!) there were lots of parents and their clearly-under-13 kids, and that was for evening shows. We're going with our downstairs neighbors to see it on Friday night, and then I'm taking their two 10 year old boys on Saturday for a matinee.

On a side note; I'm kinda scared to go to a matinee, I haven't been to one since I was still a screaming brat myself :-D (and no, that wasn't last week. bah-duh-bump!)

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