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October 19 2005

Box Office Mojo reviews Serenity international performance. "Serenity displayed some relatively strong holds. The sci-fi thriller had a $2 million weekend internationally, led by the U.K.'s $868,664-a drop of 39 percent for a $3.3 million total there. Russia was the picture's sole opening, grossing a respectable $711,201 from 232 screens. Next weekend, Serenity lands in France and Spain." Serenity actually opens in France today.

Good news from abroad, coinciding with bad news from home. The film just opened in my town, in the movie theater two blocks away from me, and word is it's about to close out in one week because ticket sales aren't nearly high enough. I've lobbied friends to go see it, but I just moved here, so it's not like the few people I know will make much difference.

I'm kind of torn about going myself...on the one hand, I'm still really sore about *those moments*. But on the other hand, I am a Browncoat and I want to do my part to help out Joss--he's still given me a lot of entertainment over the years. Maybe I'll just buy a ticket, and not go see the film. Or give the ticket away at the front door. Or maybe I'll actually see it one more time. Maybe that would change my perspective on the *those moments* issue that I have.

Besides, I paid full price for pap like "The Island" and "Star Wars III." I'll sure as hell pay for another "Serenity" ticket, whether I use it or not.
FAFler: I'd recommend using the ticket in some form if you buy one. While I'm sure Joss is humbled by the fact that fans are willing to buy extra tickets in order to help out the box office of the film, I'm equally sure he'd prefer it if those same fans were spending their money to actually enjoy watching the film rather than shelling out money for a seat they don't end up using. The film doesn't need help at the box office so badly that people should pay for unused tickets (although I mean no disrespect to those who have done so).
Impossible: I thought you were a mission. =)

You're right...maybe I will go see it one more time. Now that I know what to expect, maybe my surprise won't have a chance to turn sour, and I can appreciate the rest of the movie instead of letting a few moments overshadow the whole.
Serenity actually opens in France today.


Yes...

In 177 theaters. :(
Since you're talking international I think I can add that here in Italy the movie will open on November 25... I guess we'll be the last country in the world, huh? It was to open on October 28, but last week, all of the sudden, the opening date was magically moved a month forward. Bummer.

I don't know how much money movies make here, I heard last week's top movie got about 3 milion dollars or something... that seems pretty much to me, maybe I got it wrong. Anyways, guess what other movie's opening here on November 25? Yep, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire... so I think nobody will go see Serenity. Bummer, again. I will of course, even though I've already seen it two days ago at the Italian premiere (that thanks God wasn't postponed! :-) )
That was much better than I expected! Thanks for sharing the news, gossi. What's the total so far, that should being us close to breaking $30M.
Not last country Lez. The movie doesn't open in some countries until late December.
Russian sources give different numbers - weekend gross $696,435, Thu-Sun gross $793,803
Serenity opened at number two spot (number one is 9th Company, incredibly popular Russian war movie).
$ 600-700 thousand is considered pretty good opening in Russia. The Dukes of Hazzard debuted the same weekend and took only $330,775
(you can see the details here )

Anyway, Russian pirates has already made a DVD which can be bought at every corner. Damn. They "rent" a copy for a night from a projectionist, digitize it and sell in every "Electronic Entertainment" booth along with games, music, etc.
BAFfler, I really enjoyed 'Serenity' more the second time, and even more the third time. It helped to not be on the edge of my seat the whole time (although I still ended up laughing and crying, even the 6th time I saw the BDM!). Subsequent viewings allowed me to pick up on lines I missed and enjoy seeing the sets, and the reactions of the actors who were not speaking. And somehow it comforted my heart.
Didn't the movie open on Thursday in Russia? That would explain it being 4 days in release and two different numbers for the gross (with or without Thursday).
Update on Serenity in The Netherlands:

We're doing a last-ditch effort to get people in the seats of the twelve theatres in The Netherlands when it opens on November 17th. We're currently making a flyer with UIP Netherlands to distribute at an upcomming major sci-fi convention. It's gonna be one of these two:

version 1
version 2

Big thanks to fellow browncoats.nl moderator Fredep for the design and fellow poster NielsSF for taking the first step and getting the con organisation to put our flyers in the welcome bag every visitor gets. Oh, and, yes, we've noticed the typo in the SFX quote (it should be "its most" not "it's more". Whoops). It's being corrected.
Since you're talking international I think I can add that here in Italy the movie will open on November 25... I guess we'll be the last country in the world, huh?

According to the Signal's website, the last country in the world to get Serenity is Singapore, where it opens on January 12, 2006. They also have Malaysia for December 29. So that's two countries that will have to wait for Serenity after it opens in Italy. :-)
I'm not one to blow sunshine up people's butts but if you go to BOM, goto the Serenity page then similar movies check out Chronicles of Riddick overseas breakdown. It had a 50/50 domestic/worldwide box office take. France, Germany, Italy, Mexico(not on the signal list) and Spain were all big players in that and Serenity has yet to open there. If Serenity can make it to $30m domestic and $20-$25m worldide I think that would be great. Then the DVD sales are almost all gravy.
Thanks eddy and Matt_Fabb... you're right! We won't be the last country... yay 8-)
Didn't the movie open on Thursday in Russia? That would explain it being 4 days in release and two different numbers for the gross (with or without Thursday).


Yes, $711,201 may be a Fri-Sun boxoffice numbers. The word of mouth here is good. I checked some popular Russian forums - the majority of people love the movie. The reviews are good too.
Good luck with that campaign, GVH. Above and beyond, for sure.
International takes have to be divided by 3, the studios gets back about 1/3 of the international take, domestic gross is divided by 2.


But the US is where the money is sadly, Arnie's The Last Action Hero made like 350 million world wide, but it didn't do well in the US against Jurassic Park, so it was deemed a failure. They make so much money at the US, everywhere else is like desert, if you know what I mean.

But I'm glad it's doing well in other places, it shows culture variations, and if there is ever a sequel, then the studio needs to market it in the US better.

But these days, the dvd revenue helps out a films reputation, if it did so so at the cinemas, Senerity dvd will be it's big prize.
Universal is hot on the Serenity DVD, trust me. Check out the page title of SerenityMovie.com today (you may need to refresh). The website has transfered over to Universal Home Video now.

Internationally, it's on target for $30m. Domestic will hit around $26m, which totals at $56m. It still needs $44m injection. TV and other licensing will eventually hit $10m, which leaves $34m or so in terms of a profit for Universal (going on $100m final total).

That's many millions of DVDs. I worked it out the other day, it is going to need to sell around 10 times the estimated amount of DVD sets Firefly sold, which scares me. It's possible, but if ever there's a time for major league marketing of a DVD, this will be it.

One thing about these international results... I find it very interesting in countries where the movie is getting almost no marketing, the movie is doing exceptionally well. The country with the most marketing - the US - did the least well. I don't know how to parse that.
gossi, how can you predict $30m internationally, when it's at about $3m now? Isn't that a bit too optimistic?
Ariane, possibly.. My prediction is based on the UK, and previous releases. If you look back at other film releases, the UK normally makes 10% of an international gross. The UK should hit at least $3m with Serenity...

Of course, the UK could just be over performing in this case, or the other areas could screw it up, who knows. Guestimate wise, I'd say $30m is reasonable.
On the plus side domestically, Serenity reentered the top 10 yesterday. It squeaked by Corpse Bride to take the 10 spot.

Of course, in their analysis of the domestic weekend, BOM called us a "supposedly dedicated fanbase." Aint no supposedly about it, BOM!
gossi - "The UK should hit at least $3m with Serenity..."

According to BOM it's already hit 3.4 in the UK. :)
I noticed to my dismay that as of this Friday, Serenity will vanish from all Washington, DC theaters except for a single 11:50 p.m. showing. So it shows for barely three weeks and vanishes? So sad. At least Into the Blue has already vanished. Damn Doom. Damn it and its stupid ilk to hell.
The US theatre counts come out tomorrow midday (US time). There will be hell when they are out, methinks. Or maybe I'm just Mr Doom today (boom boom).
I'm just amazed Box Office Mojo said something about Serenity with the words 'relatively strong holds' in it. Sorry but for a supposedly objective site, they've been a little on the negative side. And though it's obviously not set the US market on fire, remarks like "depsite the supposedly strong fan base.." were just a tad unnecessary.

Obviously there is a strong fan base because that's the main reason why a movie almost no one even heard of, knew of, or even 'got' the poster or the title of, opened to 10m. It didn't jump over to the mainstream as hoped, which is a pity, but that 'supposedly strong fan base' remark was just a bit on the petty side.

And LeComite don't fret over your 177 theaters. Holland as said, had only 12....you still got us beat. Then again, France is a lot bigger than Holland so maybe it actually evens out.
Good luck with that campaign, GVH. Above and beyond, for sure.


Thanks, Caroline! We hope it'll at least get some people to take notice and go see the movie.

Of course, the UK could just be over performing in this case, or the other areas could screw it up, who knows. Guestimate wise, I'd say $30m is reasonable.


Yep, it could be. But I still have the feeling that the UK is simply the best country for this movie. Joss is almost a household name (and Buffy certainly is). And it seems to me it's very accepting of sci-fi in general, unlike most other countries. So I hope you're right, but I fear the UK is probably overperforming when compared to other countries.
No one has really heard of Joss in the UK. He's doesn't have that much public recognition here. I don't think any show creators have any kind of mass recognition here.
Oh man. I just checked the Boston area theaters. No Serenity this weekend except at the Loews on the commons in Boston, one showing at midnight. This depresses me. I was supposed to bring three more people this weekend. Two of them are my 14 yearold cousins, and their mother definitely won't let me bring them into the city that late (I live in the suburbs, so it's a bit of commute).
Simon - Russell T. Davis is a possible exception.
I've just seen Friday's US theatre counts so far - Universal have 2900+ for Doom, WB have 2550 for North Country and Fox have 1700 for Stay. No sign of Serenity's numbers from Universal.
In Denver, it's down to 7 theaters. Which, I guess, isn't awful, given that Holland only plans to have it in 12 to begin with. But, it's still disheartening. The thing I'm feeling vaguely pleased about, is that I saw it in 3 seperate locations, and all of those are among the remaining theaters. And, I honestly have been itching to see it again, so, I'm relieved that I can.
Just got back from the 8pm show at one of the (too) few cinemas showing Serenity in Paris (7 total, 3 of them only subtitled). And well, the room was not full but near from that.

Unfortunately, Serenity has a 50/50 reception from the critics here, some like, or even love the movie, some plainly don't get it. I've seen comments like "Joss Whedon has filmed this with his feet" or stuff like that.

It kinda depressed me.
That and the fact that one of the big multiplex in the heart of Paris has chosen NOT to preogram Serenity in their line-up, instead showing it in their neighbour theatre that is actually what I like to call the cemeteray of movies (the last Star Trek installment started there too for example).

Well, anyways, unfortunately, don't expect France to give Serenity a big welcome. The Corpse's Bride opened today too, and even my friends say when I tell them "We have to see Serenity", they say, "But I also have to se The Corpse's Bride"... Depressing... mates... depressing...
Two showings will still remain in my town on Friday. That's down from seven. For me, that means one more trip to the theater. :)
No one has really heard of Joss in the UK. He's doesn't have that much public recognition here. I don't think any show creators have any kind of mass recognition here.


Hmm, check. But still, the UK is probably the place where Buffy was the biggest hit. So with the 'by the creator of Buffy the vampire slayer and Angel' advertising, well, Serenity certainly always had the most change of succeeding in the UK in my mind.

Oh, and pir2 that indeed does not sound very promising. But we'll keep our fingers crossed :-)

And LeComite don't fret over your 177 theaters. Holland as said, had only 12....you still got us beat. Then again, France is a lot bigger than Holland so maybe it actually evens out.


Let's see, EdDantes: Holland has 16.3 million people, france has 60.7 million people. 12/16.3=0.7 theaters per million people for holland and 177/60.7=2.9 theaters per million people for france... yes... except that one must take into account the density of population rather than the number of people (less dense countries need more theaters for the movie to be accessible to the majority of people).

Density for holland: 0.4 (in million of people per thousand kilometer square - sorry for our english and american readers, I am using the metric system... which is the international one ;) ). Density for france: 0.1.

France is four times less dense than holland, but has 14 times more theaters. Yes, we beat you again, but only with a ratio of 3.7.

Anyhow, considering the lack of publicity here, that won't do any good (and if there isn't more publicity in holland, that won't do any good either!).

[ edited by Le Comité on 2005-10-20 10:21 ]
Edited to include tags.
Apparently estimates say "Serenity" took 10% of what "The Corpse Bride" took opening day in France.

ETA: I've just noticed Serenity is making more midweek in the UK than it is in the US at the moment, without having to scale the figures for the population differences.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-10-20 12:11 ]
I'm relaxing now.

I think the relatively weak opening weekend of Serenity has been put into perspective by other openings now.

Actually, after I took a look at Elizabethtown and The Fog at Box Office Mojo, I don't think Serenity did too bad.

Elizabethtown made about 10,6 million $, The Fog about 12 million (with approx. the same production costs).

One has two incredibly strong lead actors (Bloom and Dunst), the other one is the remake of a movie legend.

So I think Serenity is in good company, lacking well-known screen faces and the movie legend part. :-)

[ edited by Simon on 2005-10-20 13:25 ]
Certainly, the box office has under performed at this period. To go out with a 'nerdy' sci-fi TV spin off movie with a cast of unknowns and make $10m opening weekend is actually quite good, if you ignore the hype factor.

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