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"You gotta do what you can to protect your family. I learned that from my father."
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November 07 2005

Serenity still making some money. "And just because it's there, and because I can't champion the film enough, Serenity took in $188,000 this weekend, bringing its total to $25.168 million. People don't know what they were missing with this one."

Nice to see that some online movie sites can't let go of this either. There's nothing more to this on Serenity than what I just quoted.

Anybody have updated international figures?
Box Office Mojo are quoting $9,971,849 as of 31 October. However, I don't think we'll get a truly accurate worldwide figure until the film has completed its run.
Well, The Signal has the gross worldwide box-office at $35,139,849, which isn't too shabby at all, I don't think. It's quite close to breaking even, and it might make a small amount more finishing its box-office run.

Then there are DVD sales to take into account, which should hopefully be high. Generally the film has impressed most of those who have seen it (judging by the reviews we've been following) so hopefully a lot of the people who saw it in the cinema will buy the DVD, plus there are us Browncoats, and then people who might pick it up based on word-of-mouth, the positive attention its been getting, or hopefully good DVD reviews.

Does anyone know, are the DVD sales of a film usually higher than the box-office takings? What about for a DVD released at Christmas? What about the type of film it is (genre, people involved, production budget)?
Over $35 million + DVD sales = sequel?

I wish it were that simple. Or would the DVD sales be high enough, as in several million dollars, to get us over the hump and then some?

Oh Universal, just hold off the Serenity DVD for a few more months so you can stuff in more extras and for Christmas you can order us a new Firefly series on Sci-fi instead (you'd have to buy out Fox or make some sort of deal-with-the-devil license agreement, but c'mon, in the spirit of the holidays? The kids would be so happy).

[ edited by Kris on 2005-11-07 22:44 ]
Remember that the $35M worldwide is the box office gross. The studio typically gets less than half of that, especially from overseas showings, so the film is still quite far from even making back its production budget, not to mention marketing costs.
So if the studio gets 55% that means that so far Universal have made just over 18 million from "Serenity".

Most films these days have a marketing budget of 25 million, (but lets be honest, "Serenity" had far less advertising than most films), so I'd predict that the total budget is around 50 - 60 million.

I do like to bring a bit of negativity into the room!
Realistically, it has always been said $60 or even $80 million gross would be needed to make a sequel on the cards. Of course, it isn't impossible that other factors in the future, such as a really big success for Wonderwoman, or Nathan becoming a big star, and then a subsequent "re-discovering" of the film, could mean a later sequel. But there's not going to be one on the basis of the takings of Serenity, even if it does unbelievably well on DVD.

Personally, I prefer just to be pleased Joss got to make the film he wanted, and if anything does happen in the future to prove me wrong, I'd be happy to be pleasantly surprised.
These days studios tend to get 50% to 60% of their revenue from DVD. And those figures are climbing.
Thanks, Apocalypse. geez... ;)
I sure wish we had some word from Joss on all this. Even if it's just "stop hoping!".
Maybe he needs a break? I get that. Or maybe he's all wrapped up in Wonder Woman, with her spangly knickers. I get that. Not the spangly knickers part (Joss and spangly knickers. Did anyone else just go to a scary mental place?). Anyhoo, it's always nice to hear from the ultimate BDH.
Oooh! Positivity time!

"Serenity" actually climbed up a place this week, from 25 to 24.

I am versatile!
At the moment we have a $25 million gross in America and almost $10 million elsewhere, making the $35 million total as already mentioned. I think it would be realistic to say these figures are not going to increase dramatically, so perhaps $40 million is the most we can expect at the end of the day. On top of this will come the DVD revenue, which, irrespective of concerns about the cover for U.S. release, should be quite successful, although maybe not enough to persuade Universal that a sequel is viable. I don't think I am being unfair when I say this and I suspect most people have now come to this conclusion.

However, Joss will presumably be making 'Wonder Woman' next and that was always going to be the case. What happens if that film turns out to be a major global box office blockbuster and he still has an interest in doing a 'Serenity' sequel? Would he then have the added bargaining power needed to make it a possibility, the selling-point being, "Made by the writer/director of 'Wonder Woman'?
Joss and spangly knickers. Did anyone else just go to a scary mental place?

Why yes, thanks LFW! < shudders >

Well, if the numbers are any indication, I think the film will do pretty damn well for the dvd sales. Maybe by some miracle, it will do so well that Universal will re-release it in theaters! Hey, it could happen! I'm sorry, I'm one of those glass half full people.

[ edited by punkinpuss on 2005-11-08 00:28 ]
I seriously doubt we've seen the last of these characters on tv or film. When or how they return is something we will all have to be patient about. There was a three year interval between Firefly and Serenity. Expect at least that much time to pass before any sequel rumblings morph into actual production reports.

The good news is that the fanbase will only grow between now and then. :) Have no fear!
Hmm, I'm not disputing what y'all are saying about the need to make 80-90 million, but I thought Universal weren't expecting numbers that high. I thought Serenity had performed pretty much as expected, although perhaps if they were being positively realistic they were expecting a slightly better performance. But this is in the kind of region they were expecting, no?
You know what, the movie was made and I'm happy. My only regret if a sequel isn't made is that we still don't know Book and Inara's stories. But we have novels for that...right?
Yes, we do still have novels. And Joss will decide to write them himself. Really. Well, maybe. Ok, I wish.
Razor, I'm not sure what they were expecting, but I do remember an interview in the lead up to the release where the Universal execs were backing away from the $80 million figure. And over on FFF.Net, there's a thread comparing Serenity to all of Universal's other recent releases--and the BDM comes out looking pretty good by comparison. So, I remain cautiously optimistic.
I found an interesting chart on worldwide studio receipts. Nose around the site and you'll find all sorts of interesting information about how Hollywood makes money.
Let's lay it on the line: as far as I see it, there's almost no chance of a sequel any time soon. What the future holds longer term, none of us knows that.

Studios look for two and a half times the production budget back in terms of gross as a rule. Thats about $100m. $80m gross box office worldwide was the figure quoted by a Universal exec for sequel consideration, which is exactly in line with this figure (with DVD and licensing on top, it makes the figure).

Anyway, none of that is new news. Long story short: Serenity will take very close to $40m worldwide, which is exactly 50% lower than the money needed for sequel consideration. It just is. It's a royal pain in the arse.

With a huge DVD launch and serious licensing push, this could still make a fair amount of money on DVD. So, how is DVD doing? Firefly debuted #2 on Amazon for preorders and stayed that way for days. Serenity isn't even in the top ten for preorders. I'm holding back on my thoughts about that online for now, as I want to see if Universal Home Entertainment US will enter into any dialog about it at all. Read between this line, though: Universal need to make a _LOT_ of money from the DVD for sequels, but they haven't actually announced the DVD to fans yet. And, you know, look at the high quality original attractive iconic DVD cover.

If anybody thinks there's a massive push going on to make sure this has all the market factors to get a sequel... I think it's a few of us running around with email, phones and sticky back plastic trying to get the line held. I'm fighting using an axe made from paper towels, blue peter style. Personally, I just want to slay the dragon.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-11-08 02:12 ]
The number won't support a sequel even with DVD sales. I hate to say it but it doesn't look good. The average costs for marketing a film now is actually around $35 million. Serenity didn't get nearly that amount to market the film. It relied on word of mouth more then anything.

My guess is $39 million to make and another 20 million (at the most to market). So the number is probably closer to 59 million to break even. If this film does let say 38 million box office in the end. You would still have to do at least 21 million in DVD sales dollars to recoup total costs.

That roughly estimates to 1.4 million copies of Serenity DVD's to just break even. The original Firefly series sold about 500,000 copies. So if Serenity more then doubles its series total and sells 1 to 1.5 million copies, the studio is still going to either lose money or break even.

It's just not realistic to think it's going to happen. I hope it does but everyone better buy 2 copies of the movie. Then pray that making around a million or more in total profit would sway Universal to make another. I for one hope that I get a mini-series on TV (like Sci-fi). That is our best bet.
What about the interest from people (newbies) in Firefly DVDs now that they have seen Serenity? Does that count at all? Anecdotally a lot of DVD shops are reporting that Firefly DVDs are sold out and that their suppliers are sold out too.
Fox gets the money for the Firefly DVDs, Poster Boy, not Universal.
Firefly debuted #2 on Amazon for preorders and stayed that way for days.

The major problem with the DVD release is that Universal is shipping out a vanilla version quickly and the extras-loaded version we have to wait for.

As much as I love "Serenity," I have this rule about buying vanilla DVDs when I know there's another version on the way. And I'm surprised so many people are still sucked into buying two versions of the same film.

Will this make Universal more money? Maybe. But Firefly went to the top of the charts straight away because viewers had been waiting on that release for a long time. Serenity won't go so well with a two-stage release - not until the second release is out, anyway.
Is the extras package an actual fact? Or just a rumour?

Because if this is the only DVD that's going to be out there, than we need to buy it. I seriously hope they redesign the cover tho.

As for sequels, I've stopped hoping. :(
I'm also not going to allow my hopes to rise up again until I see some big numbers coming in.
I do have WW and Goners to look forward to tho!
Personally, I prefer just to be pleased Joss got to make the film he wanted, and if anything does happen in the future to prove me wrong, I'd be happy to be pleasantly surprised.

Kiddo, I totally agree. If there is a sequel at some point down the line, I will be doing Numfar's Dance of Joy, but in the meantime, I am quite content, even happy, with what we have. After 14 viewings, the movie still gets to me, and I would love to see more of the characters, but I am also eager to see what Joss can do with other characters and other worlds. I have a lot of faith in him and his ability to create a completely new 'verse that we will love as much as we love the ones we already have.

[ edited by samatwitch on 2005-11-08 05:12 ]
The thing is, for a vanilla package, it's pretty loaded. If this is the only DVD release, I'll be disappointed, but this release is hardly bare-bones. It's got more features than the new Office Space DVD, and that was called a special edition (with flair!). I mean, a Joss commentary, multiple featurettes, deleted scenes. I rarely buy more than one release of a film, but I may have to make an exception.

[ edited by bonzob on 2005-11-08 07:52 ]
Just a couple of comments on the dvd. One, I think because it is coming out right before Christmas and the Amazon delivery date is saying they'd deliver it around Jan 12th or so probably has made a lot of people decide they'll just pick it up at a Wal-mart or BestBuy on it's release date.

And the second thing I wanted to comment on is that I would normally agree about waiting and buying an exclusive dvd as opposed to getting the "bare bones" edition but because this is a film that actually means a lot to me and I want the story to continue I'm willing to support it now by buying and then also buying the "extra package" one if and when that happens.

Yes, I'm thrilled we got the movie and would have been happy to just have the one but then we were told about the possibility of a trilogy if this one did good and we know Joss must have great ideas about what those other two movies would have in them so it makes me want to do all I can to make that happen. Yes, I know it is a major long shot that it will happen but as others have said if Joss' star rises or Nathan's or Summer's it could draw attention to this gem of a movie.

And as for the Firefly dvd sales taking off because of the movie, well I do think that bodes well for the movie too. So many of the reviews said you didn't have to see the series to enjoy the movie but then they'd all go on to say that you'd find the characters richer and get the inside jokes more. Now, if I was a newbie to Firefly and I saw those types of comments for a movie I thought looked interesting I'd go out and buy the series first and then see if I wanted to buy the movie. So I think the movie is going to sell well on DVD and I will continue to hope for sequels until someone, like Joss, tells us it ain't ever going to happen.
When you feel bad about Serenity's box office takings, just remember this one fact:
There's Always Someone Worse Off (TASWO)
The vanilla version is pretty loaded. The hypothetical special edition version (which will probably become reality if this version sells well) won't have the features this one has, i.e. no overlap. So no Joss commentary on the second version, or the same deleted scenes.

I'm waiting for the price to go down before I pre-order, basically.
Normally I'd never buy two versions of the same film. But with Serenity I'm more than willing to shell out extra cash. Plus, is this really a vanilla version? It does have some special features after all, and the "special edition" every one seems to be waiting for is only a rumour at the moment.
Though my fingers are crossed that it'll soon be much more than that.
The extended edition has never been officially announced, and I believe Joss said at the Oz Q&A he'd like there to be one mid-next year. However, guess what he's not the boss of..

You're not going to see a post from Joss saying 'there won't be sequels now!@~'. For the simple reason he can't say that at any rate - it'd be spitting in the face of the studio whilst home video is still working on the title.

I do think it's important this DVD has more exposure. Not overly because I'm bothered about the studios bottom line now, but because I think it contains a message people should see, and it's a quality movie. How to get it more exposure remains to be seen.
I was wondering why so many seemed to be speaking in certitudes about a special edition dvd when I hadn't heard a single announcement about one. Thanks gossi. I'll be buying my copies at the local Best Buy, since Amazon can't deliver it in time for the holidays.
I joined Amazon Prime to support my company. Lookee here!
Shipping estimate: December 20, 2005
Delivery estimate: December 22, 2005

If you choose Free Super Saver shipping at Christmas of COURSE its gonna take longer! It's like flying standby in peak time!
I do think it's important this DVD has more exposure. Not overly because I'm bothered about the studios bottom line now, but because I think it contains a message people should see, and it's a quality movie. How to get it more exposure remains to be seen.

"You can't stop the signal."

I think basically now we have to keep the signal going that little bit further, just like Mal tells Wash to do in Out of Gas. We've supported this film all along the way, and converted a lot of fans, but this is really the final big push for the film, and we should try and get people to buy it, or tell them about it, or buy it for them.

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