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October 08 2005

Serenity takes 2nd place at the UK box office for Friday. Very narrowly beaten by 'Pride and Prejudice'. There is a good chance that Serenity could take the number one slot for its British opening weekend (reg req).

It's very close, people...

If you can convince your friends and family to go, TONIGHT is the night to do it.

By the way, the fan movement in the UK is pretty small (nowhere near the size of the US fan movement), so I think this should speak wonders as to how alternative styles of marketing work.

Anyway, a great result for us UK'ers - people showed taste and turned up here - now we just need to boost the figures a little bit tonight if we can.
That's not bad at all, considering that the advertising here in England seems pretty low-key (virtually non-existent, really, aside from Jonathan Ross giving the film a glowing review). Hopefully, that word-of-mouth plan will work.
Well, there has been advertising here, but it has been low-key, yes.

They ran adverts in SFX and national newspapers last week, and plastered the underground at one point. Additionally, it got glowing reviews from Empire, Total Film, SFX, Hotdog.. and lots of others.

Basically, it wasn't plastered everywhere you look like Kinky Boots was - but it opened WELL above Kinky Boots.

In other words, a very good opening.
This is pretty good if cinema size in my local Vue multiplex is anything to go by:

9 screens in total, largest one (446 seats) was showing History of Violence, second largest one (292 seats) was showing Pride and Prejudice, third largest one (200 seats) was showing Serenity. Sold out btw on the Friday night showing I went to.

If the film has good results maybe they’ll move it to larger auditoriums.

I was also surprised (and very happy) that it sold out as for many people in the UK Friday evening is a holy time for after work drinking (yes, it’s a sacred duty) and going out. I go to the movies often but haven’t been to a cinema on a Friday night for years and years. But maybe that's just me.
what is the box office numbers usually like in UK? I'm wondering how much this will boost the international numbers.

When I went to see Serenity last night they had moved it to a smaller seating area. And even with that less amount of seats there was barely 20 people in the theather with me.

[ edited by eddy on 2005-10-08 16:31 ]
I went to one of the special previews on Thursday, and the cinema was about 60% full at 6.30 (again the sacred after work drink factor - for some people it's not just on Fridays!) and the crowd seemed to really like it.
I've got an army of people recommending the film this weekend to thier friends, I'll be going with at least 6 people during the week, and I've pestered everyone at work. Bring on the big damn sequel!
Yes, many of the US theatres have moved it to smaller screens unfortunately. The US B.O. figures will be out in a few hours time, and.. uhm. I hope they are okay.

UK wise, we're not massive. If we do very well, we'll make £7m in total from Serenity (about $12m). So, whilst not masses, it'll certainly really help.

To put this into perspective, by the way, Serenity is a "15" in the UK, which means anybody under 15 isn't allowed. To come 2nd (nearly first) is a very good show. I was really worried as to how this would do in the UK (there's about a thousand fans, compared to a million or so estimated in the US), so these results tend to suggest we did good. We did real good.

Saturdays results will be very, very interesting. If (big if) we raise from Friday to Saturday, it tends to suggest this will really do the business in the UK. I'm not counting my chickens yet, though.
The online fandom may be smaller in the UK, but I think that Joss Whedon is a bigger 'star' there. Buffy and Angel never got the following or recognition in the US that they had in the UK. Plus the big film feastival opening of 'Serenity' should have made an impression. I'm thrilled to hear about the great opening night, and I hope it continues throughout the weekend (from what I've heard P&P isn't really the kind of flick people want to see 2 or 3 times).
Thanks for the good I'm off to see a matinee of 'Serenity'!
Glad it seems to be doing well, I'll be going again tonight, that'll be my 4th viewing, and my 3rd in as many days, can't think of any other film I could watch this often in a short time and still enjoy the hell out of it. Gonna have to go a bit later today though, don't really want to see the same 5 trailers again, as good as King Kong may be, the trailers are just getting in the way of them starting showing the movie.

Hope it pulls into 1st position, Pride & Prejudice has been out for a few weeks now I think, and we definitely won't get #1 next week, Wallace & Gromitt comes out.
embers, I agree. I banged on at people for a long time to plaster "From the creator of Buffy and Angel" on the posters and trailers. People laughed at me. People mocked me. People mocked the River In Space posters. People called it the worst posters ever.

But... It sold. 4 million Buffy viewers here, you target them.

I went to a screening at 8.30pm, and it was on the smallest screen, but it was packed out with 18-24 demographic people, majority female, probably Buffy viewers. They loved it. No applause, no sticking around for the end credits, nobody getting the in jokes - but they laughed, gasped and had fun. As they should do.

So, I take that mocking and go "Hah".

I'm trying to get exact figures, but given Pride and Prejudice has more cinemas than Serenity and only beat us by £40k, it tends to suggest Serenity has the highest per screen average and is also the #1 opener for Friday (P&P didn't open this week).
Eddy, If 'Serenity' pulled in a £1 million gross in it's first weekend (about $1.75 million) that would not be a bad achievement. To try to give you an idea of its potential total gross, 'The Grudge' took £8.2 million ($14.4 million) and 'Constantine' took £5.9 million ($10.4 million). These are just two films chosen at random. I realise they are not necessarily exact fits.

I went with my wife to see 'Serenity' today at a small cinema in West London. It was given the main screen. I would guess that about another ten or fifteen people were there (the lights were down when we went in so I couldn't do an exact head count). This was an early showing (11.45am) so that's quite good. Mind you, I would imagine that at this particular cinema 'Pride & Prejudice' would out-perform it.

(Edited because I got the figures wrong and had to come back to correct them. I'm an idiot!)

[ edited by dashboardprophet on 2005-10-08 19:19 ]

[ edited by dashboardprophet on 2005-10-08 19:19 ]
eddy - I am just curious, where abouts are you located?

gossi - what happened to the Thursday figures? I presume you are just talking about Friday here?

I read somewhere recently that in terms of int box office the UK is quite important as we tend to provide the biggest chunk of change certainly within Europe. Mostly to do with the level of cinemagoing being quite high (well, the economy is doing well), so I guess what happens here is quite important. (No disrespect to the rest of Europe, I am not British, so I have no bias here.)
Where are the numbers?
miranda - I don't surely know, to be honest. I've just had an email from a certain film company telling me it's come in 2nd, £40k behind P&P. Those figures might include thursday, not sure.

I will have updated figures tonight..

Either way, I'm happy. Breathing a big sigh of relief. Joss is being called tonight to let him know what the final count looks like.

If Serenity grows from Friday to Saturday, I will be grinning like a cheshire cat. This money might not be enough for sequels (who knows?), but it's certainly a big chuck of potential cash, and all along I've just wanted this movie to do well.

If the UK can buck the trend, excellent. So far, so good.

I love my UK'ers.
hmmmm Gossi, you really only think there are only about one thousand of us in the uk? i think there must be more...a few more at least, when firefly aired on sci-fi uk it broke the record for being the highest viewed programme on the entire channel…ever. I've been quite few times now and the first showing I went to was filled with fans bout 20 of us, in the middle of the day though. yesterday night at 6 the cinema was packed, I’ve never experienced anything like it, people (including my friend who wouldn’t even give firefly a chance) were clapping and cheering, gasping and laughing so hard...I’ve never ever felt that connected to a crowd of complete strangers in my entire life....was awesome. On the way out I was listening to other peoples reactions, all good, even heard some people apologising to their friends for not believing them how good firefly was! to top it all off my friend turned to me and said "I only have one problem with the whole thing.....when is serenity 2 out?”

in short:Gossi i love the ukers too!

[ edited by willowzbitch on 2005-10-08 17:07 ]

[ edited by willowzbitch on 2005-10-08 17:15 ]
Well I went to the Filmworks last night to see it for the 3rd time and it was on the biggest screen (485 seats) which I took to be a big show of confidence from the cinema. The crowd all seemed to get it which is encouraging. I'm already planning on going 3 times next weekend and maybe wednesday as well so I don't know if I'll be going again this weekend, might have to know we're so close to beating P&P.
I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. Miranda. I think the other people were non-browncoats. I heard a couple before the movie started, talking about how "the reviews said this is the best sci-fi film in years", that made me smile.

[ edited by eddy on 2005-10-08 17:34 ]
Empire Magazine just sent out an email to everybody Serenity is "What to watch Tonight" choice - "Smart, thrilling, sexy and beautifully realised. This is Joss Whedon at his best and can't fail to entertain."

Additionally, check out the front page of UGC Cinemas.
Wow! That is FANTASTIC news!!!!! I can see it as being a movie that would do well in the UK, Joss does have a bit of the Brit humour to him. I suppose that comes from going to boarding school there (?)(I can't remeber if that's correct but he mentioned something about it at the Q&A, or maybe it's my hearing)
The overal world figures must influence the possibility of a sequel surely?
It dropped pretty sharply by the end of this week in Oz. It was down 69%. Granted Cinderella Man had also dropped almost 50%.
Altho, the weekend is not over yet, and we do have the second wave of screenings!
You're right, nixygirl. He went to Winchester, which is second only to Eton - amongst British boarding schools - in terms of academic prestige.
The US figures are due out in a few minutes.. I'm so very nervous 'bout 'em.
But it'd only be the Friday figures, right? Saturday and Sunday could still add up to an acceptable U.S. box office take, couldn't they? (I know that bad figures on Friday indicate bad for the rest of the weekend though)

Do the U.S. figures include whatever the film made in Canada as well?

What were we supposed to be seeing on the front page of UGC Cinemas? There's nothing to do with Serenity there at the moment.

[ edited by Kris on 2005-10-08 18:00 ]
The US figures will include Canada. If they are really bad (over 50%-60% drop) the US domestic market will be in real trouble - in fact, I'd say it'll be gone from most theatres sharpish if it's bad.

UGC have swapped the banners, they must be rotating them - when I was visiting it was showing a Serenity banner :)
I saw it yesterday at the AMC in Manchester at it was in a fairly small screen. It seems odd to me that The History of Violence, which by reports seems like a less mainstream film would be put on the bigger screens on the opening weekend. But as you say if it does business this week, Serenity might move up next. I remember something similar happening with Scream way back when as word of mouth and momentum grew. Plus Sunday night is generally a very big cinema going night over here.

The audience enjoyed themselves -- even though there was a wierdly large number of pensioners in. The audience laughed much of the way through and I did hear the odd gasp here and there -- which is not something I've heard at the cinema for a while. It seems to be connecting. Expect sales of the boxset to skyrocket... Sales Rank: 15

It was 1500+ a few months ago here :)
Excellent. Sundays the big day for me. I'm taking a big group of people to see this movie, as well as getting them all hyped up for it.

Lets kick Keira Knightley's ass!
Gah! Are the US figures out yet, gossi? I'm so nervous.
There are some international box office figures at boxofficemojo but not many. Frankly it would probably be easier to predict the box office using a Fox executive's entrails.

Generally it seems the UK kicks between $2.5M and $5M into the kitty. France, Germany and Spain produce similar figures. The UK contributes roughly 10% of international box office.

Obviously there are a lot of smaller countries with low box office but they add up significantly. It looks as though the usual result is for the 'international' box office to be roughly equal to the US one.

There are exceptions; notably The Island which took $35M as 'domestic' box office and $124M Internationally (go figure!).

I know nothing about this !. This is just a amateur interpretation of figures from about 3 'similar' films. Figures from other films vary by about plus or minus 50%. For instance some films make twice as much money in the 'domestic' box office and others are exactly the reverse.

The safest prediction is that the marketing manager for Serenity is going to need some good ulcer medecine.
Nope. No sign yet. They're normally out by now, it's a bit odd.
Is this situation at all comparable to Pitch Black ? I think its budget was roughly half of Serenity's ($23 million is IMDB's estimate). I know Pitch Black became a way bigger hit on video and DVD than it ever was in theatres, but it got a sequel. Would all it take to garner a sequel is for one of our cast members to become as big as Vin Diesel (but hopefully not disappear like him) ?
I've just come back, went to an afternoon showing. Theatre nearly full, and it definitely went down well.

The audience enjoyed themselves -- even though there was a wierdly large number of pensioners in

not just at my cinema then? Very weird.

I'm just about to go and pimp the BDM at all the mesage boards I frequent- actually came on to find the clip that's online to link to in my pimpage.
I went to see the film today at 1.20, and considering the time, it was a good showing, at least half full. I went to the same cinema at the same time last week to see Four Brothers (which was very poor) and there were only a few other people there, so Serenity seemed packed in comparison, which I took as a good sign, I'd imagine that last night and tonight were probably full.

I do think everyone seemed to enjoy it, although the first time I saw the film at an advanced screening was the best, because generally everyone there was a Browncoat, so all the funny lines were laughed at and everyone was just that little bit more invested in the story and characters. Today was just a little less reponsive, so I'm really glad I attended the preview because it was really a very special night.

Two of my friends really loved it (one of them had seen and enjoyed a few episodes of Firefly), one of them was pleasantly suprised and said it was better than most films we see, and another said that it was quite good, but I think they enjoyed it more than that because they were definitely getting into it.
I wonder how Joss feels about competing with Pride and Prejudice. In this corner we have snappy dialogue, great characters, emotion and plotting; in this corner we have... Jane Austen. Uh-oh.

[ edited by futile on 2005-10-08 20:05 ]
Well, The Guide (from the Guardian) has Serenity as No 2 pick of the week (before History of Violence), and also has it in its own little box in the review section. And I quote 'could be the most entertaining blockbuster of the year'.
I was tempting to leave off the 'could be' there, but I'm honest. Alot of my friends (and more people than that) read the Saturday Guardian religiously. This is all good.
I really hope the UK will bring the board and Joss good news. Pride and Prejudice will not defeat us! Come on - fancy dresses or Zoe in leather?

[ edited by lone fashionable wolf on 2005-10-08 20:21 ]
#2 great. What's the gross?
"I wonder how Joss feels about competing with Pride and Prejudice. In this corner we have snappy dialogue, great characters, emotion and plotting; in this corner we have... Jane Austen. Uh-oh."

P&P is a huge piece in the UK thanks mainly to the tv version about 10 years ago. UKers love P&P and they are keeping it #1. Don't diss the Austen. ;0)

Plus it's been out for several weeks and I think Wallace & Gromitt will be #1 next week.
Another factor is that it's a really crowded weekend at the movies here in the U.S. -- with "Wallace and Gromit" being the proverbial 500 pound piece of delcious Winsleydale cheese. I almost hate to say it, but W&G have somewhat higher name recognition at least in cities in the U.S. than Firely/Serenity and the huge advantage of being a film you can take small children to see.

Add to that "A History of Violence", which I'm sure is an truly outstanding film (haven't seen it yet, but I trust David Cronenberg) which is cutting into what you might call the "quality" audience and is gaining steam -- I'm sure the Viggo Mortenson factor is a big help there, as the ladies are drawn to him like Wallace to cheese and we men like anything with the word "violence" in it.

So, good on you Brits. Maybe you can guys can be part of Serenity calvalry that saves the day from the revears of dissapointing boxoffice!
UK gave over 2 million of HoV. What did we get I wonder?
The reason the UK box office is particularly important at the moment is because the pound is very, very strong against the dollar.
I just saw the friday U.S. estimates. Eek. At least we beat "Blue" again. I guess Serenity will be out of the top 10 by the time "Doom" marches into theathers.
Just saw it again, about half full this time, that's not bad though it was a big screen, quite a late start time for a 2 hour movie and there's another cinema not a mile away that's showing it too. Was sad to see a group of 4 leave a bit into it (when Mal is talking to Book the first time), but was nice to hear someone say "I think that was the best movie ever" as they left.

Hope it can get number 1, seeing as it didn't manage to do so in the US, and we definitely won't get it next week.
Just got back from seeing it (third time) in Basildon, not the nearest to me but a nice complex, and it was 3/4 full and everyone seemd to enjoy it. Reaction to the one liners was more muted than the two previews but people seemed to 'get' the humour and laughed at all the second half ones. It think if people are unfamiliar with Joss's work they maybe have thought "Was that meant to be funny? Should I laugh?"

The last line, which is the same as the first line (something that I realised some time after seeing the movie), got the biggest laugh from any of the three screenings I've seen. Either they uppped the volume or fewer people were laughing at the visual joke and therefore heard the line after the screen went dark.
lynnie, I didn't mean to diss Austen. I meant that she is the proverbial 300lb gorilla of snappy dialogue, great characters, emotion and plotting. Oh, that didn't quite work either. Adorable, sensitive, sweet gorilla...
The last line, which is the same as the first line (something that I realised some time after seeing the movie),

Well only if you don't count the 9 minutes of dialogue that come before it;-)
gossi sits waiting for saturdays figures..
Ed, sorry, I meat the same as the first line from that character... I suppose I considered the first nine minutes a big "Previously On Firefly".
Ed, sorry, I meat the same as the first line from that character... I suppose I considered the first nine minutes a big "Previously On Firefly".

Hehe, I gotcha, this is just me being annoying.
I've seen it three times this weekend in the Cineworld in Glasgow, which is the biggest cinema here. The first time it was in a big screen, but by the second they had moved it to the biggest. It sold out the first two times, and the third time was 11.20 at night, and it was STILL more than half full. It got a fantastic reception every time, especially since Glasgow audiences usually seem pretty unresponsive. There was a lot of laughing and gasping, even from the Saturday night crew just wasting time before they went out with friends.

Also I was asking a manager if they had any of the Serenity postcards in yet, and he told me that they had run out of them within a few hours, and they'd even been taken off the walls where they'd been displayed. He said that it was doing much better than they'd expected and that he thought there should be more promotional stuff appearing over the next week or two.
Variety reports Serenity earning $1.8 mil and Pride and Prejudice earning $2 mil.

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