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November 10 2005

'Serenity' Makes Quick Voyage to DVD. "Joss Whedon's short-lived FOX drama 'Firefly' found its greatest success on DVD and it looks like Universal is hoping the same will be true of Whedon's feature 'Serenity.'"

I've heard from a couple of people over on FFF.net that the DVD release date was set long before the release of the film--they claim that a select few knew it was December 20 since Dragon*Con. I'm not entirely sure of the veracity of their claims, but they seemed like honest folk. So maybe this "rush" was planned all along--no doubt for the same reasons, to make lots of cash off the DVD. I do like how sympathetic this article is, though; much better than some of the other stuff floating out there.
There were articles linked on this here site that gossi posted mentioning 20th December. I don't recall offhand how long ago, however... Ah, here we go. 6th October post pointing to thedigitalbits' rumour mill and also bbfc re: the 20th December date.
Jeremy from SerenityMovie.net (who actually appears in Serenity, as an aside note) has commented on his site to say he knew about the December 20th provisional date before the film even hit cinemas in the US.

Personal opinion: they knew from the US opening few weeks how well this film would roughly perform abroad. As such, they will know if they removed some of the international dates and pushed this out on DVD before christmas, it'll cut launch costs and give a profit.

I'm happy about articles like this. Why? Publicity is publicity. I'm beginning to think my ranting online about the need to get press releases and such out for this DVD is being heard. I may not like the cover, but to give the staff at Universal Home Entertainment US their dues, they are starting to make a bit of noise about the DVD now. I'm happy.
The magic number is around 1 to 1.5 million DVD's sold to break even. So we all better buy one for ourselves and a few relatives. I already ordered one for myself and my brother for XMAS.

[ edited by DarenG on 2005-11-09 23:55 ]
Heck with breaking even--I wanna go for profit! (A bit fantastical I know, though I think it's do-able). But, multiple copies are of the good. They make the most scrumptralescent stocking stuffers!
I think theoretically it could be possible. If you divide box office (assuming final box office around 38 million) by the average ticket price of around $8.00 to 10.00 you get about 3 to 4 million people who went to see it.

If you retain half of those people buying the DVD then Universal would break even (1 to 1.5 million). If they sell more then that I would find it hard to think otherwise that Universal wouldn't be making a profit. Come on people you know this makes a good XMAS gift. :)

[ edited by DarenG on 2005-11-10 00:03 ]

[ edited by DarenG on 2005-11-10 00:03 ]
Maybe we could ask Mike Alward to buy a whole bunch and hand 'em out :-p

Seriously though, I do feel that, over time, this DVD'll sell bunches. Simply on the strength of the movie. Just look at Donnie Darko or The Shawshank Redemption. Then again, those movies did have better covers ;-)

In short: I still have faith. Does it matter how fast the profit goes into Universal's pockets? Will it still be helpfull if the movie only starts making money a year, maybe even two years from now? But even if it's helpfull or not, it'll still be worth it, in that more people will have seen and enjoyed the movie. That's the ultimate cause, to just share this movie with others who might enjoy it.
Eventually, as I've said, it'll break even. TV licensing, other licensing, DVDs yadada. Serenity was very keenly budgeted - it'd be very hard for it _not_ to break even eventually.

In some ways, I think Serenity's budget was one of the smartest things about the movie, and all kudos to Universal for that. Joss might kill me for saying that. I'm sure the VFX meetings weren't great fun. Not a lot of money, lots of tricks pulled for that money (they smashed the space ship up in a crash landing, yo).

However, as much as the threat of cancellation from Fox caused Joss + crew to work twice as hard, I'm sure the budgeting caused a great many people to pull together a great film which shouldn't actually look and feel LIKE THAT for $40m.

And the less the budget, the less of a mountain you have to climb for box office success.

The real trick with Serenity on DVD is going to be to make people believe they need to see this movie, to see what they missed. And to achieve that, Universal need to up the ante. Make it be seen as a DVD event. Hopefully it happens.
The real trick with Serenity on DVD is going to be to make people believe they need to see this movie, to see what they missed. And to achieve that, Universal need to up the ante.

Free llama rides for the first one million buyers!
Yeah accept to make it an EVENT they would have to spend millions. They won't do that when their goal probably is to try and break even if not make a profit.
In some ways, I think Serenity's budget was one of the smartest things about the movie, and all kudos to Universal for that. Joss might kill me for saying that.

I don't think Joss would have a problem with this b/c I've seen articles where he talks proudly of how he always brings his projects in under budget. Every season of BtVS was under budget, and I think Serenity had amorphous figures of $40-45M budget, and came in at $39M. He's not one of those directors who squander money like crazy and keep the studio under hostage. He's more in the Woody Allen group rather than the Michael Cimino group.

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