This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month."
11978 members | you are not logged in | 14 December 2018


November 01 2005

Petition to have Serenity DVD cover changed. We've all seen it and screamed in terror over how it looks. So here's a petition to try and change this. And if you haven't seen it yet, here it is. (apparently they didn't enjoy the direct linking)

Well, I'm signed on. There were only 27 sigs on there when I signed it. It's gonna be interesting to see how many people hit that thing.
I posted it on myspace Firefly group and they have a different reaction. They like it. The cover is fine with me. I kinda get what they are trying to do with the cover. (except for that bottom part?) Is that suppose to be zombies? I mean reavers.

[ edited by Mr Universe on 2005-11-02 02:43 ]
Well, that cover IS fairly awful, but it's still light years better than that absolutely horrific U.S. theatrical poster.
Proof positive opinions are diverse ;)
I don't like the yellow looking army. If they'd just change that. If its supposed to be reavers it doesn't look like it. It makes one think of the resistance in Terminator.
I like the colours, but hate that they inclide scenes that just don't happen in the movie. There is so much great stuff in there, without the need to create it. Plenty of action in the third act alone! Stuff blowing up.
The region four version'll only have a big blue OFLC ratings logo on it anyway, so what the fuck do I care? *grumble*
I think the cover is fine. Not fabulous, but I can live with about a dozen copies.
Yup, I bloody well hate that logo too Weevil!
What in the world have they done to Summer Glau? That girl couldn't even pass for her cousin.
Um, I'm really not saying this to be mean, but shouldn't we just be happy that the movie was made and that we're getting it on DVD so quickly rather than start complaining about what the DVD looks like?
I don't see why it matters so much.
They've Catwoman-ed Summer! I guess the premise is that her boobs didn't show off enough in the movie, too much focus on her legs and feet. Boobs and guns, way to go.
Cygnet, you should be a movie marketing exec - you clearly have the formula down :-)

And Saralove, I think we all just want the DVD to do well - so anything that has to do with marketing it is bound to get scrutiny. We pick because we love. I'm with you though - I only care about the yummy filling.
Why it matters is this: if it looks like a crap B movie, people won't buy it.

Want to know a factor in why people didn't go and see the most critically claimed Sci-fi movie this year (and possibly this decade) at theatres? Well, work it out.

To be honest, I'm not planning to lead a bit crusade to get it changed. I plan to hand over a list of people's objections to Universal. That's all.

I *AM* glad the movie got made. I've been all over this from the start. I just think the DVD cover isn't, you know, going to sell the masses.
It's an unbelievably incompetent mess that makes it look like it was made by chimps with an endless supply of computers. Have these people ever heard of composition? There are now 2 desert horizons in here on TOP of each other!! Who on earth splits up a DVD cover in a top and bottom half like that?? How does that relate to the movie?? With the top half practically all blue and the bottom all orange browns?? Scratch even the most rudimentary feel for color composition and balance as well I guess.

And when I look at those boxes behind Mal and Zoe (you know as in that scene where they're in the desert behind boxes while thousands of Reavers charge them. You remember it, right?? Sure ya do.) I can see these guys barely even know how to integrate different images in Photoshop layers. That or they just didn't bother. WTF!

No sorry, the US theatrical poster (which had its big flaws) should be up in the Louvre compared to this abomination. Christ, why don't we just say 'Starring Dean Cain' and be done with it then...

BTW I was hoping for a poster that showed that Mal is actually more the lead than River is. Maybe people could then stop thinking that this is a movie about a chick named Serenity....

Um, I'm really not saying this to be mean, but shouldn't we just be happy that the movie was made and that we're getting it on DVD so quickly rather than start complaining about what the DVD looks like?
I don't see why it matters so much.

Why it matters? Because we'd like this to catch on on DVD the way it didn't in the theaters. And with a cover that makes it look like a cheap, cheesy SCi-Fi channel flic-of-the-week, chances of that are diminishing. And I am extremely happy the movie got made and we've all spend weeks and weeks saying exactly that. Doesn't mean I can't say the cover looks like crap when I think it does. and when I think it will hurt sales.
I don't see why it matters so much.

Becuase the original Firefly heartbreak was caused by the owners of the property egregiously mishandling it. Many of us are not all that keen on continuing to watch that happen all over again.
Not to beat a dead horse, but yes, the look of the DVD matters. Hell, I saw the flick 4 times and love it, and my first response that I'd never buy something that looked like that.

Okay, that was my second response. The chain went something like this:

"What the hell?"
"That's dreadful. I'd never buy that."
"Okay, wait, the movie was awesome, of course I will."
"No, but really... what the hell?"

People who have never seen the flick? They'd stop at #2.
I agree Rambleon623, in all honesty if I knew nothing about Serenity/Firefly and saw this at the DVD rental store, I'd put it down fairly quickly and believe it's another idiotic Chronicle of Riddick style flop.

Maybe it's just the fan in me, but this doesn't seem all that hard. I get having iffy ads, I even understand why there wasn't more advertising for the theatrical film, but to then screw up the DVD cover is insulting.
Here's why I hate it: I wouldn't rent it.
I don't think I've ever seen anything Whedon related getting trashed like this. Not Atlantis, not Alien Resurrection (which I actually kinda like), not even freaking Beer Bad or I Robot You Jane. This is some kind of record and it really deserves it. Fortunately it's just the cover art, there's still time to change that. The interactive menus on the other hand would have been trickier to fix, but they look good, no complaints there.
Indeed, the cover art looks terrible. I certainly wouldn't rent it if I saw that cover in the rental shop, and I intend to buy quite a few copies as gifts for birthdays etc, so I hope that it looks good/interesting enough that people whom I give it to actually watch it. When I signed the petition, there were 178 signatures.. looks like this is picking up some steam.
Well I do think the cover art is bad, but maybe it's not as bad as we think for marketing purposes. Maybe us whedonesquers wouldn't rent a movie based on this kind of cover art, but we don't represent the general population.
rabid said he wouldn't pick it up because it looks like a Chronicles of Riddick-type movie, but didn't that movie do pretty well compared to Serenity?
Can you say, "overreacting?"
We get worked up over this kinda stuff, SpikeBad. That was rude of you.
I'm pretty sure Chronicles of Riddick made under 60 mill in the box office, that's more than Serenity made, but 40 million less than the budget. That's part of the reason why there hasn't been a third Riddick film as of yet.

Plus, they had Van Diesel... which helps the BO.

[ edited by rabid on 2005-11-02 04:52 ]
Overacting. I can't say it! I don't mind the cover, though.

Edited to add: My overacting/overreacting joke wasn't very funny. :)

[ edited by Succatash on 2005-11-02 05:19 ]
No I don't think so SpikeBad.
I think this is righteous indignation. The DVD sales are essential to the remote possibility to us getting a sequel.

If they screw up on the cover art, ppl won't be eager to rent it. Word of mouth or not. When ppl rent or buy DVD's, at least 75% of the time it's due to an some emotive response that we get from the cover.
Especially rentals, I'm a big DVD renter, and I would never pick that one up if I wasn't a fan. I'd maybe read the back, find out it was from a cancelled TV show, then put it back down.
(OK they're my stats but I'm sticking to 'em)

Ed, I read the first few setences of your post and ddin't have to scroll down to know you'ld written it.
Go on Ed, make us one!
Maybe TPTB will use yours instead??

ETA: Gossi, this is your petition, yes?
Are we able to actually view the comments?

[ edited by nixygirl on 2005-11-02 05:12 ]
DAMN! And I thought the North American poster was bad, but this really on a amateur fan-art level. If it wasn't, I seriously would dismiss it for bad fan-art and never imagine it to be the real DVD cover. If the marketing people have certain demands on what is on the poster (River looking sexy + space battle + Reavers... etc.) that's fine, but at least get a professional designer to put the layout together. If Universal wants to cut costs like this they are going to end up losing money because it looks so cheap and badly done.
*scratches head*
Christ, why don't we just say 'Starring Dean Cain' and be done with it then...

Ouch. Poor Dean. He can't help that he sucks. But he's oh so pretty! That should count for something...

And the cover art looks like a fan art competition where only 4 year olds were allowed to enter. Blind 4 year olds. With no hands.

And then even those entries were too good, so they just fed some pictures to a cow and used the composition they found in the resulting patty...
I would seriously be embarrassed to hand this DVD over to friends in the hope they watch it. I wouldn't even bother because they would immediately defer the honour to another time, i.e., never. I wouldn't want to be seen carrying it on the subway. I wouldn't want it to be seen on my DVD shelves. Yes, it's unfair to judge a "book by its cover," but frequently enough, that cheesy cover really does reflect what's inside and the Serenity I know is not reflected on that cover.

Cover art is frequently and precisely created to hit a narrow target audience. I think Universal's contract graphic house (and I used the term loosely) missed by a moon and a half because surely, Uni doesn't really think that cover reflects the movie? I'm mean, I can accept "close enough"as New York is to London. But not Star Trek is to Dogpatch.
I hardly ever rent movies but was just at a rental store the other day. A lot of movies I didn't even remember them being advertised, let alone what the heck they were about. So most were quick glances at the cover and if I didn't like what I saw I just quickly glossed over it and moved on to the next one. I'm hoping this doesn't happen with Serenity. I at least hope if this remains the final cover art that they plaster a "Two Thumbs Up" on it to let people know it's actually not something to quickly glance at and move on.

Serenity didn't do as well as we hoped for and the average movie renter or casual renter may not even remember what it was about. This cover art is not going to grab the attention of anyone. They'll most likely do what I usually do, quickly glance, move on and rent something they remember vaguely hearing about and heard "it was good".
I agree Flanatic, the Two Thumbs Up, is kinda important I would have thought. I know myself that I will definately pick up any movie that has that on it, if just to read the back.
vampire dan, I've been telling myself for months that maybe what I thought about the images being used to market Serenity was wrong and the people selling the movie were right. Unfortunately, it did not turn out that way, so I am not about to believe that again when the image is even worse than the ones before it. Everyone else is welcome to believe what they want.

It really is terrible on so many levels. How depressing.
It wouldn't be SO bad if Summer looked like Summer, not like Ms. Skanky Ho from the Skanky Ho Planet.

And, no, we're not overreacting. Covers in video rental are absolutely crucial. And, yeah, no matter how many good things I had heard about the movie, I can't imagine making that final decision to rent it with this monstrosity of a cover. Frankly, if they release like this, I'll be of the opinion that Universal is deliberately trying to bury the movie. It's happened before.

[ edited by bobster on 2005-11-02 07:50 ]
*puts hand up cautiously* I like it. It looks fine to me, and yes I would rent it if I hadn't heard of it before. C'mon, I can't be the only one who likes it. But if I am, how bout some alternatives? instead of a petition, lets try putting together some of our own ideas. Im sure there are lots of very talented artsy browncoats out there who could do an amazing job. We put our heads together, work out what we like and what will sell, and present it to universal. Even if they stick with this one we'lll have excercised our creative genius and achieved something! Sounds more productive than complaining to me.

[ edited by ladysorcha on 2005-11-02 07:33 ]
Within a week of release, Whedon fans everywhere will be modding their Serenity DVD case art. It'll be the new cool thing.

I personally like the all black art that was posted on the other thread, but I understand that that's not a good cover art to sell the DVD with.
Check around other threads and boards, Ladysorcha. People are posting alternatives or the beginnings of alternatives or describing alternatives all over the place.
I'm appaled...

Something simple like a plain image of the logo could be way more enticing and attract people.
Yep, I just signed this petition. Here's hoping it helps.
People, get a grip on reality and realize that they are not changing the cover art. In all likelihood, the covers have been printed and the discs have been inserted and boxed and ready to be shipped.

Deal with it.

[ edited by tinktanker on 2005-11-02 14:36 ]
Yes, tinktanker, but if the R2 DVD cover is not decided yet, such a petition could encourage Universal to choose another cover for the R2 DVD (I guess they had made other possible covers for the R1 DVD; they could, for the R2 DVD, choose one of the alternate covers droped for the R1 DVD - and it is hard to see how it could be worse, anyhow! ;) ).
> Deal with it.

Uhm, thanks you that tinktanker.

Just a case of point, Veronica Mars fans protested about the final artwork used for the season one boxset - and it was changed because of it. There's still a window to change it. I'm getting the petition printed and hand delivered to Universal Home Entertainments' US office beginning of next week.
tinktanker -- tone it down a little, please. Everyone's entitled to their opinion. Plus, I don't know if you remember, but we were told to 'get a grip on reality' because they would 'never make a movie of that failed tv show'.
My fiance is a graphic designer,when I showed her the cover she laughed, and said "Well that isn't the movie I saw. It looks like a 10th grader designed it on some fan site. Why couldn't they get someone who actually SAW the movie to design the cover, a nice group shot with a bigger picture of the ship Serenity, since that's the name of the movie. River looks like an alien,and what's with the crowd?!? If you hadn't shown me the tv show and taken me to the movie, I would never watch this....oh and the menu screenshots look like urine yellow, grreaat." We are in the process of designing our own cover,if it turns out "shiny", i'll post the link. All I have to say is un-frickin-believable, thanks Universal for giving up so fast.
My next petition will be to have a naked Kaylee DVD cover.

Wait. Take the keyboard away.
The petition just entered the top ten most active on petitions on, just below "AGAINST DECLARATIONS OF IRAN'S PRESIDENT". Which is both funny and sad in equal measures.
My next petition will be to have a naked Kaylee DVD cover.

Wait. Take the keyboard away.
gossi | November 02, 15:20 CET

The petition just entered the top ten most active on petitions on, just below "AGAINST DECLARATIONS OF IRAN'S PRESIDENT". Which is both funny and sad in equal measures.
gossi | November 02, 15:45 CET

Mmm...naked Kaylee...I would so buy that. One of the only times I wouldn't care if the cover didn't depict what it holds inside...

And, I seriously laughed my ass off about the comment. Funny and sad, yes, but I'm thinking one outweighs the other...what's even sadder is, I can't figure out which!
I am unable to view the dvd art at the link provided, I get a generic "image courtesy of dvd answers" or some such. I also can't complete the sig process on the petition, get some weird message. Anyone else having this prob?

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2005-11-02 18:22 ]

[ edited by VerseRoamer on 2005-11-02 19:42 ]
VR - edited to remove signoff.
VR, go check it out on the Amazon thread. It's the same image.
On another note, I can't read the signatures on the petition.

God, I'm so whinny today!
That petition thing, and the film going unreleased in Israel. In all ties in together, somehow. Maybe. I don't know.

And, also I this all a very clever ploy to get us to actually stop complaining about, and even sort of like by comparison, that much maligned poster art?

[ edited by bobster on 2005-11-02 19:23 ]
Frankly, if they release like this, I'll be of the opinion that Universal is deliberately trying to bury the movie.

That doesn't make sense. They're the ones that stand to profit from DVD sales, why would they deliberately try to bury their own movie? I think its a difficult film to market and that they're trying (successfully or not) to appeal to a more general audience, not just the built-in fanbase.
I think we're overlooking the obvious possibility that Uni isn't trying to bury the film, they just have a crappy art department, and people without taste who approve the final designs. I mean, the posters weren't that great, and obviously they were trying to push the film before it's opening, not trying to hurt it.

Just a thought.

I mean, I always wonder how crappy art gets picked up for comics, and Steven Grant once said that we should keep in mind that SOMEone important, probably editors, likes the art. It doesn't mean they care less about the project, it just means they might have different tastes than the readership/viewership.
"My next petition will be to have a naked Kaylee DVD cover.

gossi | November 02, 15:20 CET">

(beat) I could hear more
I'm with Rogue Slayer -- Occam's Razor, folks.
I need some fan made covers to recover myself now :S
I wonder what Joss thinks.
I'm also with Rogue Slayer. I don't think this is in any way a ploy on Universal's behalf.

There's a hill being climbed towards here, and I'm not sure it's the right one. I'm not the person in charge, so I can't change that direction (also, I might be wrong too). But I'm also not employed by Universal Home Entertainment, so have the option to politely suggest a different direction -- as does everybody else who wants to here.

Yes, yes, I'm beating around the bush here. I'm sure at least one person here knows what I'm saying. (There's tanks over that hill..)

[ edited by gossi on 2005-11-02 20:54 ]
I was wondering if anyone knows an address or knows where we could find an address to send our, very polite, letters and postcards concerning this maddness. It is always said that individual letters will be taken more seriously than petitions.


(Whistles and tries to look casual while waiting for someone to slip an address in her hand.)
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608

President: Craig Kornblau
EVP Marketing: Ken Graffeo
Just to clarify -- like a politician who's gotten a bit too excited, I have to walk myself back a bit. Don't want to be the source of any rumors or weirdness.

Anyhow, I wasn't seriously postulating that Universal is deliberately trying to bury the film. I have absolutely no proof of that or reason to think so other than my very, very low opinion of the cover artwork. (I think my Isreal comment might have been misunderstood -- actually, right now, I'm not even sure where I was going with that, probably something about the geopolitical thing over there.)

However, just for the sake of a little historic context, studios HAVE buried at least one far more high-profile films than "Serenity" for purely political resons -- though in the current desperate economic climate, I'd be surprised if they tried that now.

Anyhow, in the late 1980s, after David Putnam was fired from Columbia "The Last Emperor" was given only the most perfunctory of releases. The reason: Putnam had tried a different approach to running the studio and it was important to "prove" that Putnam was a jerk and his approach -- more akin to the old fashioned movie moguls and based on the idea that audiences might enjoy quality films on occasion -- was a massive failure. To do this, the studio guys were willing to eat several million dollars that the company had spent on this lavish film. Besides, they reasoned, the film was going to be a dud anyway. Who wants to see a movie about some Chinese guy?

Of course, it wasn't -- and the massively positive reaction and loads of Oscar nominations forced them to give it a major release. So THAT story had a happy ending.

But, believe me, just because something seems stupid and self-destructive doesn't mean it's not happening, especially in Hollywood.

[ edited by bobster on 2005-11-02 21:45 ]
Okay, this may be an Oliver Stone-JFK level conspiracy theory but..

Since we know Uni has experemented with the marketing of Serenity who's to say that haven't released an uber-lame cover just so we can whip up a protest and get some publicity and Universal can 'relent' at the last minute and come out with a 'revised' cover? Remember many people thought Coca Cola deliberatly engineered the New Coke debacle to get people to protest and demand their Coke back.

Either way, still have to sign the petition.
Well, I respectfully disagree with the person who wrote that. I think there's a major percentage of people who judge a DVD by its cover. Yes, the fans are going to buy it, but we want other people to buy it too, not just us. And I actually do like my DVDs to look nice, but maybe I'm just silly.

But what's more, we want people to rent Serenity. At a rental place, the cover is even more important, and this cover is just going to hurt rental figures.

Also, I hate it when people don't use capitals in their text. It looks stupid. I tried not to mention it to not make me look petty (I'm sure I make plenty of errors in my english), but, well, it just looks stupid :-).
I like how the people who say the change-the-cover petition is "too much time on their hands" offer as alternative petitions things that are even more of a waste of time.
Sorry guys. But there was no naked Kaylee in the film And so there will be none on the artwork.
Now the script called for naked Mal so I think we have a case there.
Lioness - was there porn green eyed River in the film? ;)

Damn, I miss all the good bits!
Lioness, lioness, lioness. There were no llama's in the movie , but that didn't matter much either. Now I for one, would much rather see naked Kaylee than naked Llama (aren't llama's always naked, come to think of it?). But to be fair, I'd be okay with a flip-style cover which features either naked Mal or naked Kaylee depending on which side you have facing outward. And maybe an alternate fold-in featuring naked_rest_of_cast inside if Mal and Kaylee aren't enough for ya.

And, that, quite probably, is the most times I've used the word 'naked' in a Whedonesque post.

(and here's hoping none of the BDH's read this thread and get majorly disturbed)
Gossi! You know what I meant! Honestly. Men! And GVH, perhaps that is indeed why there is a llama on the cover. But I choose to believe that it is because Joss is a nerd lama.
Ha ha! Nerd lama! I had forgotten all about that. :)

As for the petition, I signed it, and so did my mother and sister. This cover is just the latest in disappointing turns concerning Serenity, but I'm hoping we can have an impact.
Gossi, oh dear. What a silly person, with their oh so powerful website! Really, he's just trying to generate revenue, and is hoping to start a debate like the Chud guy.
Not worth the time or concern.
Well, dunno know if it'll do any good, but I said my piece.

Kinda fun to get vocal again for something Jossy -- reminds me of the heyday of AtS's S5 renewal campaign. Good times ;)
Just wanted to let you know the first 24 hours signatures have been printed and boxed today, and are being shipped via UPS Express to the vice president of Universal Home Entertainment on Friday (the boss of the boss of the boss of the boss of the graphic design person). I will be checking with his assistant that they received and read the petition on Monday.

Extra signatures from now will be emailed across to his office, probably in bulks of about a thousand.

Trust me, the people who are retailing this DVD will be discussing this one. As they should.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-11-03 10:01 ]

[ edited by gossi on 2005-11-03 10:01 ]
I've added a link to the petition on my Session 416 (R. Tam Sessions) fansite, which continues to receive decent traffic, and replaced the placeholder Blogad on my Big Damn Commentaries site with one which pimps the petition.

Also added the Blogad to my Portland Communique site, which is technically now defunct but also continues to generate decent traffic.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2005-11-03 11:48 ]
I'd be extremely fascinated to know what Universal thought of the fan reaction to the artwork.
Simon - probably 'Groan' was the first thought ;)

Ruthie posted this online, it amused me:

"Love. You can learn all the design in the 'verse, but you put a DVD in the shops you don't love, she'll stay on the shelves just as sure as the turning of worlds. Love gets her off the shelf when she oughta go to the remaindered bin, tells you she's good 'fore you watch her. Makes a sequel."
Heh, that's a fun altered quote there.

And I'm also very interested in what Universal is going to make of this. Has there ever been a fan action over a DVD cover before? Probably not. But we have a very good point, seeing as the cover is going to hurt sales. Universal should realise that too, hopefully. *crosses fingers*
Honestly, is there one person here who will not be buying the DVD because of the cover?
tinktanker - the general public, I suspect. Of which 95% of the DVD sales need to come from.

Pretty much all the fans will buy it because they know what's inside. You could incase Serenity in poo and fans would still buy it.

People are looking at the cover here and going "Uhm. Nobody else is going to buy this". If the fans are telling you this, thousands, after 24 hours - you have serious problems. I'm sure it'll be addressed at some point.
gossi - Universal looks to be trying something different. Most people seem to like the design based on the movie poster. And I will agree that is a much better design. However, that didn't grab the public's attention and pack the theaters. I'm sure their thinking is that design didn't work, they have to go a different route. Despite appearances, Universal isn't out to lose money on this venture.

Universal has really never understood how to market this, but for the life of me I can't think how I'd do things differently. But I've never had a single course in marketing either.
My first reaction when I saw the DVD cover was that it was pretty naff, although not particularly unexpected. The more I look at it the less it bothers me. In fact, I've got to the stage now where I have no opinion about it one way or the other.

As an experiment, I took a look through my DVDs. I like a few of the covers, but not very many. Some I think are dreadful. Most I have no opinion about. The 'Buffy' DVDs are a case in point. Quite frankly, I think they are appalling. However, they didn't stop me from making the purchase. In fact, until now I have never really given it much thought. That's just me. I appreciate that other people have very different opinions about things things.

Clearly, the 'Serenity' cover is extremely unpopular with the majority of people here. I'm not sure if the petition will make a difference, but it certainly doesn't do any harm to try. It would be very interesting if it did result in the cover being changed. That said, I'm not entirely convinced the existing cover will adversely affect sales on any major scale.

Is it possible that such an enormous emotional investment has been made in the film that it affects reaction to everything surrounding it? In other words, the quality (or otherwise) of the cover becomes much more important to the core fanbase. I might be completely wrong, but I tend to suspect the casual buyers out there would not have such strong opinions about these things.

Just a thought...

(Edited to correct a spelling mistake.)

(Edited again to make my meaning clearer - I am not trying to put anyone down here or suggest that concern about the cover is not justified.)

[ edited by dashboardprophet on 2005-11-03 17:49 ]

[ edited by dashboardprophet on 2005-11-03 18:30 ]
tinktanker - I agree. The movie has shifted ownership within Universal internally recently, unbeknownst to people, and they're trying something different.

Which is a great thing, because as well put together as the movie posters were from a technical stand point, they probably didn't grab people well enough.

But. I don't think, personally, they got the right cover here. I think it looks like a made for DVD movie trash movie. And I don't think it's well put together on a technical level, either.

I'm amazed by the amount of flack I've had for creating this petition. It's been pretty funny, and very eye opening. I've been literally bombarded with messages telling me I need to get a life, people can't believe I'm wasting my time on this, why does the DVD cover even matter, fans will buy it anyway, being swore at, Universal will hate the fan base, nobody will listen etc etc etc.

In actual fact, it took a few minutes and a phone call to set up. Minutes. Literally. The relevant people know about it. It's obvious why the DVD cover matters. It's been very politely organised. The people who are getting it WANT to read it.

It's really strange being called every name under the sun over something like this by people calling me obsessive and time wasting. Because, you know, I've spent vastly more time answering those emails. And dealing with completely impolite, aggressive emails from people saying I give other Browncoats a bad name... That amuses me. Yes, because I'm the one wasting peoples time, swearing at people, being aggressive, giving the fandom a bad image. Oh yeah. That's clearly my fault.

Serenity, the movie, was about standing up and speaking a message, to people who probably don't want to listen. And the right to do that. I took that message away from the movie, and I hope some other people did to.
You could incase Serenity in poo and fans would still buy it.

Oh, for god's sake, Gossi, don't give Universal any ideas!
gossi - I agree with pretty much everything you've said in this thread. You're getting flack for giving browncoats a bad name? That just makes no sense to me.

Also, I think most people don't realise how much a bad looking cover impacts sales. I'm speaking from my own experience, but covers do tend to say something. A well produced nice-looking cover can't make a bad movie great, but ít'll certainly get more attention at the rental place. Same works reverse: a bad cover can make a good movie less noteworthy.

And this cover will impact sales. Not because the fans don't like it, or because it doesn't represent what Serenity is about, or because Serenity is shooting lasers, or even because cover!River looks different from screen!River. It's because the casual buyer or the guy or girl looking for a fun movie to spend and evening with at the video rental is gonna see this, assume it's a trashy b-movie and move on to the next DVD. It's as simple as that.

No 'please get a life' or 'what do DVD covers mean anyway' can change that. I'm getting the feeling that the people who say this never look at the covers of their DVDs themselves. I own about 250 DVDs and rent, on avarage, one or two DVDs per week. Covers matter to me, covers matter to the people I know who rent movies, so I'm assuming it matters for lots of people. Covers are a way to immediately judge if a movie is worth your time. Cheap looking covers are usually wrapped around cheap movies.

I would not rent or buy a movie with this cover if I had not already been familiar with the product. And I'm not even saying that as a browncoat. I'm saying that as a general moviefan who buys DVDs.

So gossi: don't let those naggy people bother you, I'm sure most of us are with you.
Well Gossi, I think you've done a good thing here! The emails you've recieved have been done by many a person who is unaware of how closely you've worked with UIP.
Don't listen to them, or let them bring you down babe.

Oh and Punkinpuss just made me lol! :D
Gossi, I too have been somewhat flummoxed by all the flack (and I haven't seen, or written, your e-mail!) -- and the odd sort of fear/awe of Universal as if they were some kind of inquisition-holding-church that is likely to fire Joss and sell us fans to the Taliban if we get uppity. But you've obviously done a great, very professional job and I'm sure I speak for most of us when I saw I'm extremely grateful.
/rant on/ Too many people (some on the Universal board) are dumping on folks for having an idea and expressing it, cf. Gossi, who appears to be taking the brunt of the negativity. This drops my jaw. These are the kinds of people who utterly misunderstand the idea of the right to express a thought and how important that is, and probably would support the curtailment of constitutional rights for anything that arrives looking like a challenge. That way is a return to beating drums with bones./rant off/

Anyway, Gossi, I really appreciate your efforts.
Gossi, I, too, am very grateful for your efforts. Thank you! Bottom line: the DVD cover is putridly off-putting to most of us. Marketing is all, and that includes how alluring (or not) the DVD appears to the uninitiated. With this cover, we're limiting our appeal to 15-year-old boys of a certain ilk.

Please oh please let Universal change this disastrous design so that our BDM has a chance in the DVD afterlife. Contrary to what a few have argued in this thread, I DO think that the lousiness of the cover (should it stand) would affect how many copies we already-fans will buy - for presents and the like. Yuk. Ain't no way I'm begifting unwary family and friends with this crappy-looking DVD. I'd be run out of town.
Have to really laugh when people say it doesn’t matter and that we should not upset Universal. That is just a ridiculous statement. Everybody in the known universe has been influenced in their purchasing decision by the way something is packaged and looks at some point during their lives. Doesn’t matter what the product is, food, electronics, cosmetics, CDs, games whatever.

My husband is a creative director in a top brand consultancy and big corporations literally spend millions with them on designing and re-designing product packaging. And this monetary outlay is afterwards measured against sales results, as corporations don’t just spend money to get pretty pictures. A successful branding/design exercise should (and indeed does) result in vastly increased sales, sometimes up to several hundred or even thousand percent worldwide, which is mega bucks in plain English.

These companies also spend untold amounts on consumer research and feedback sessions. Do you know how much it costs to set up research like that? Thousands upon thousands. Not even talking about the sheer effort involved. And here we are giving constructive feedback back to Universal FOR FREE. Far from being put out, they will be happy as can be.

gossi is doing an excellent job and thank you for doing it!

Other than that, if you like the cover and want to say so, I have no issue with that. We do not have to agree. But bloody well don’t tell me it doesn’t matter how a product is presented to the general public. If it didn’t, hubby and I would have no roof over our head and no food on our table.
Has there ever been a fan action over a DVD cover before? Probably not.

Yes there has. The Veronica Mars DVD cover was changed due to fan complaints.
Some people are always afraid of making waves, Gossi. If people don't speak up and make their opinions known in a thoughtful and intelligent way, they have no right to complain when things do not go well. So good for you in trying to communicate the opinions of the fan base to people who can actually make a difference.

As I said...somewhere...I do not see this as trying to go in a different direction. I see this as going farther in the (wrong) direction of the posters. Each poster looked more like it was for a sensationalized, psycho-killer-chick, sci-fi movie than the one before it. The DVD art just capped them all and added trashy b-movie to the mix. IMO Universal decided this is the way to sell the movie and that if it didn't work; it is because they didn't take it far enough. It looks like they have no idea what a wide range of people would enjoy this movie and don't want to bother trying to market it with that in mind...and DVD cover art is the most obvious marketing a DVD gets.

For the theatrical run I can see not caring about anyone who is not a 15 to 30 year old male, because maybe that is the only group that would go to the movie theater to see a sci fi movie. But why should they limit the demographic they are going after for the DVD unless they simply have no faith in it? My friends and family who saw it and loved it ranged from 9 to 78 (OK, so the 9 year old should not have seen it, but he did.)

I tried to get people outside my immediate circle to see the movie, but kept getting two answers. 1) I never heard of it. 2) I don't go to movies, I rent DVD's.

Well now the DVD is coming out, and I feel just like when I was waiting for the mainstream advertising (that never came) to help me get them into the theaters. None of the people I know are in the demographic this DVD art is aimed at. They are grown-up business people. If I suggest that they see something with that cover, they will simply discount my opinion because they will then "know" what kind of movies I like, in other words, trash.

I just feel like this cover is making an uphill battle, even harder and that it *will* affect sales of the DVD.

...and well said miranda and others.
See, people go through years of design school and training to learn how to design artwork. They don't do it for pointless reasons - they do it because it matters.

Not noticed DVD covers in rental stores? That's proof. Good designs will attract you without you even knowing why. In a room full of a few thousand DVDs of all kinds of genres and generations - like, say, Blockbusters - people will spend an average 10 minutes or so wondering around, choosing DVDs based on looks. Because you have to. Nobody reads all 1000 DVD covers each visit. People look for something appealing. And that's about the covers initially. THEN they read the back, and decide. The rubbish looking ones? They don't even notice them. Brain doesn't trigger.

I don't know how to fix that.

Where will Serenity sit in rental stores? It's not going to sit for 6 months next to Brad Pitt in the Amazing New Release section. It's going to sit next to Chronicles of Riddick in the Sci-Fi section more than likely. Open up the two covers on your PCs. Sit them next to each other. Picture that in a sea of other DVDs.

This cover just ain't going to leap off shelves at people.

Sure, word of mouth eventually.. But why should people settle for 'Oh well'. Does anybody think Joss would have settled for a rubbish special effects company on Serenity without protesting 'I think Zoic can do this better'?

Serenity/Firefly is a labour of love. It's years of work. Intense battles were fought with it to get it where it is now. It didn't just appear.

Here we are now. The film is going to take a maximum of $40m including international at the box office, due to dropped territories. It needed $80m international box office for sequel consideration. It's massively short. Sorry, it just is.

The DVD is absolutely, completely and utterly critical. That cover? Absolutely critical. People have fought through all manner of pain and barriers for years to get here. They've done insane things to promote the movie. DVD will seal the fate.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-11-03 19:57 ]
Most people seem to like the design based on the movie poster. And I will agree that is a much better design. However, that didn't grab the public's attention and pack the theaters.

Movie posters are not trying to fulfill the same function as DVD box art. Movie postrers are one element of an overall marketing strategy that's supposed to register with people when taken as a whole, in context (print ads, tv spots, etc.)

DVD box art exists to make people pick up the box, turn it over, and read what the movie is about, which is then supposed to make them rent or buy it. There's not going to be any context for this. Do you think there's going to be some spiffy budget for DVD ads on TV, to create some sort of advertising "synergy" for this?

There's the box art. That's pretty much going to be it. So if that doesn't grab attention in a positive way, it's done for.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2005-11-03 21:00 ]
I know I'm going to get crucified for this, but what does the proposed 'movie poster' version of the DVD say to the casual viewer who might be wandering around the video store? Some gal with a gun, some guy, a spaceship. Not a whole lot of action there. Which was the problem with the movie poster. Look, I really liked the movie poster and feel it would be a better DVD cover, but honestly. It doesn't grab people.

Look at the Universal cover. Space battle. Gun fighting. Looks like some sort of battle on a planet.

It is by no means perfect in any way (or even good), but Universal is trying to go after a market that wasn't wowed by the movie poster. They have us sold, each and every one of us. It is the others they are going after with this. What they tried before failed, so they are having to try something different this time.
Good cover or bad cover, it won't make the type of impact that's being inferred here. The cover itself will make a very minimal if at all impact on overall sales. I am not saying it will have zero impact. However, to think that by changing a cover it will generate millions more in sales is just baseless.

There is no example in DVD sales where you can say that by changing a cover, it generated millions of sales. There is no instance where I remember a studio making the claim that the art cover was mainly responsible for the higher then expected DVD sales.

Again, I am not saying it's zero. However, it would probably cost the studio MILLIONS to change things at this point. The cost justifaction for Universal is not there. Why would they throw more money into something that is only THEORETICAL and has no basis for past DVD sales? Why would they do that for a movie that performed under expectations already at the box office? To Universal it would be another money losing risk.

Lets face it. Studios are run by a bunch of bean counting execs now. The bottom line is all that counts. To get through to this bunch you better come armed with hard core marketing results to prove such a move would work. Without hard core marketing facts and examples they will turn a def ear to the fans.

Having said that, I still support changing the cover. Even though I don't agree with the rational for changing it, I think from a fan standpoint, it should be changed to please the fans.
I agree, the movie poster shouldn't be used for the DVD cover at all. Like I say, my ideal cover would simply by River's hand, holding an axe, with blood dripping from it, with "Joss Whedon's Serenity" at the bottom. That's it. Maybe a short review quote.

People may freak at the concept of that - after all, all the characters faces aren't present. But the characters faces mean absolutely nothing to the target audience. Fans know what to look for.

A dripping blood axe, contrasted against white, with "Serenity" will probably make people think "What the fuck is that?". And that'd be fantastic. Tell the story of the movie on the back of the DVD cover.

Would it missell it as a horror movie? Possibly. However, horror sells. People looking for a sci-fi movie probably already know what Serenity is.
Daren - just to say, I don't think anybody is saying this'll affect millions of sales. Honestly, I don't see how it's possible to ship the amount of Serenity DVDs needed for a sequel. However, I agree the cover will have some impact.

If this DVD edition already has the covers in print, I hope they consider a better Extended Edition cover.

There is no example in DVD sales where you can say that by changing a cover, it generated millions of sales.

Pardon my french, but that's nonsense... of course there is no example of such a thing, because if there had been changes of some DVD cover, it was made before the release so there is no way to tell what would have been the sales with the first cover that never went out.

We are not talking about fact, here; we're talking about belief. And some of us believe that a change of cover could translate into (much?) more sales. We won't try to *prove* it, that's not possible... but I do believe it myself (although I don't see clear enough in my belief to give a figure ;) ).

Remember, DarenG: it does not matter what we believe, as long as we believe. ;)

EDIT: spelling and english grammar...

[ edited by Le Comité on 2005-11-03 21:46 ]
Le Comité, thank you, you made a post which sounds more fan wanky than mine! ;)

If this DVD edition already has the covers in print, I hope they consider a better Extended Edition cover.

Or simply a better R2 DVD cover... :P
Le Comité, thank you, you made a post which sounds more fan wanky than mine! ;)

Mmmh, dunno if it is a compliment or not... must go and check the meaning of "wanky"... argh, google and altavista give no translation for that... well, I'll take it as a compliment then. :P
(Anyhow, being noticed by the great gossi is enough to fill one's life... well, let's say, at least one's next 10 seconds ;) ).

Oh, Le Comité, believe me the emails are already flying around from me about that.

It's a jokey compliment. I'm aware how laughable some of my posts are here today.

Dude. I am a nobody, also.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-11-03 21:42 ]
Okay, I can see that as a cover. Sounds too much like horror, but as you say, horror sells.
Oh, Le Comité, believe me the emails are already flying around from me about that.

Do you think there is any chance that a few more emails to Universal from a french maths professor would help in any fashion? ;)
tinktanker - I think I would get killed and eaten if that actually ended up as the cover. You could say it doesn't represent the movie. (Of course, it'd be a scene straight out of the movie, an iconic image, striking etc - but a suspect many people just want to see all the characters).

My problem with the cover is the clutter. Put the characters and such on the back - get something on the front that's from the movie, but clean and striking. All in my humble opinion.
"Pardon my french, but that's nonsense... of course there is no example of such a thing, because if there had been changes of some DVD cover, it was made before the release so there is no way to tell what would have been the sales with the first cover that never went out."

Using that same rational, there is not a way to tell without releasing both what impact changing the cover now will have versus using what is coming out.

"We are not talking about fact, here; we're talking about belief. And some of us believe that a change of cover could translate into (mcuh?) more sales".

That goes back to my other point. A studio has never claimed that DVD cover art is the basis for high DVD sales. It doesn't matter what you or I think. It's the bean counters at the studio who have to make those decisions. Unless the studios could be convinced that a jump in sales would offset the millions it would take to offset a change at this point, they won't do it. That is a fact.

Again, I think purely from a fan stand point the cover should be changed. I agree with Gossi as far as a special exteneded version. I pray that we get one with different cover art. Chances are we will because usually when they re-release on DVD or you get a special edition, they change the cover.

[ edited by DarenG on 2005-11-03 21:47 ]
A studio has never claimed that DVD cover art is the basis for high DVD sales.

Actually, they have. This is why they employ people to design and market test DVD cover art. (There's jobs in the field).

Unless the studios could be convinced that a jump in sales would offset the millions it would take to offset a change at this point, they won't do it. That is a fact.

It's not, because we don't know the cover art has yet gone into production. There may be a small window to change it (about a week or so, guestimated).
Heh, Le Comité somehow managed to make our opinion that a better cover will shift more Serenity copies sound like a religion ;-)

Other than that, I agree: there's no way to tell if it makes an impact because there has never been a cover change to begin with. But it's just common sense, really. Everyone does it, when heading into a rental place (like Blockbusters): you judge by the cover. And Serenity is going to get passed over with this cover, I'm convinced of that.

ETA: I just can't seem to spell Le Comité ;-)

*reads extra Gossi post posted in the time it took to type this*. Okay, that's it - Gossi, you are now my official spokesperson on this subject.

[ edited by GVH on 2005-11-03 21:53 ]
Except, DarenG that the "special edition" is not sure yet, I guess. See how Serenity has been badly treated in theaters overseas (or even overgulf ;) )... I am really wondering if Universal would invest in such a "special edition" unless the normal edition sells well enough; so, right now, I won't bet on a special edition. Hence the "importance", to me, that the cover be changed.

Anyhow, I am not saying it for my own future Serenity DVD: if the cover is what we have seen, then as soon as I have bought it I will print a black cover with only the Serenity logo (and the word "Serenity") on it, and put it on my DVD case, that's all. But one thing is certain: I had planned to buy DVD for my friends (as I bought some of them the Firefly series) and, now, I am wondering if I'll be able to do that, with such a cover (unless I buy them, take them home, put "my" cover on it, and only then give them away).

[ edited by Le Comité on 2005-11-03 21:58 ]
"Actually, they have. This is why they employ people to design and market test DVD cover art. (There's jobs in the field)."

Actually many times DVD cover art comes from abandoned art concept designs during the movie making process. Most DVD cover art is not test marketed to ask "would you buy this for this cover or this one". Most DVD art cover (except) maybe in this case is for the fans.

Hopefully, they will see that the DVD market is hungry enough for a Special Edition. We can only hope as fans we get one. Plus some of the deleted scenes I bet are pretty good.

We should petition JW to make a special edition even though he said his Director Cut is already on screen.

[ edited by DarenG on 2005-11-03 22:00 ]
We should petition JW to make a special edition even though he said his Director Cut is already on screen.

Now there, unlike the DVD boxart petition, is an example of a waste of time. And, IMHO, the entire point of this DVD discussion is that the boxart is disrespectful to the film. Petitioning the creator of the film itself to do something he doesn't want to do would be even more disrespectful.
But petitioning a studio to change something they don't want to at their expense is respectiful? I don't think JW would be offended if people wanted to see deleted scenes in a special edition. He might decline but wouldn't be offended. I don't find the box art disrespectful at all. It might be subpar to SOME but not disrespectful.
I find the artwork disrespectful. Only for the simple reason it looks cobelled together - it deserves more effort.
I find the artwork disrespectful and worriesome also.

This thread has been closed for new comments.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.

joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home