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December 17 2005

The End of the 'Verse? This article would seem to indicate we may have seen the last of the BDH's on film. Reg req for this Entertainment Weekly article.

Glad to finally get an idea of when Goners may go into production as well as the Buffy movies being given another mention.

Hopefully Goners has a headstart as the script is already done.

[ edited by Jackal on 2005-12-17 02:44 ]
I don't suppose anyone could summarise the rest of the article, especially the part about a Buffy movie as Joss' next big screen project.
I believe Joss has said, and very recently at that, that it depends on how the dvd sales do. I'm hopeful the DVDs are going to sell well if the sales of the Firefly sets are any indication.
If you'd like to see the entire paragraph, enter "tvwatch" and give your e-mail address. But it mainly talks about his future projects, making the "eigth season of Buffy" in comic book form, and more talk about possible straight-to-DVD movies. However, he said in the Flanvention the possibility of more from the Serenity depends on DVD sales, and Morena would like to see Inara take center stage in a sequel

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2005-12-17 03:07 ]
I would think Joss is being a realist more than anything else. A Serenity sequel in any shape or fashion would be a very tough sell.

And btw that headline on the EW article is very misleading.
Simon, the article also mentioned that Joss would direct whatever was greenlit first, Wonder Woman or Goners.
...despite Universal's best marketing efforts, the film only mustered $25 million...

For those of us who were actually paying attention, "despite Universal's best marketing efforts" should read "partly due to Universal's incomplete marketing efforts."
I'm with Morena. When I found out Serenity was going to focus on River, I thought that if we got a trilogy the next one should focus on Inara. I'm more intrigued by her back story than Book's, especially since we have enough hints from Firefly and Serenity to make our own conclusions about his past. I'd rather Book's story remain mysterious.

Oh, and the third Serenity film should be about Jayne's mom coming to visit and knitting him a cunning sweater.
I thought it was interesting that they mentioned that he would direct WW or Goners depending on what movie got green lit first!
I thought the Amazon royalty was next in line.

Since I like to hang on to the notion of some kind of Buffy/Angel-verse continuation is a posibility, I was happy to see such projects mentioned.
Yep, always good to hear any mention of the Buffy movies happening. Keeps the flame alive and burning. Speaking of which, assuming that the sales for Serenity on DVD were sufficient wouldn't there be a possibility (however minor) of doing the same for Firefly and making the occasional direct to DVD movie? Even just two more to make a trilogy would be fine by me. I realise that Firefly is more expensive to produce than Buffy or Angel but if Joss could get funds for a big screen movie maybe a couple of slightly lower budget telemovies (perhaps made to a similar cost of two or three of the regular episodes, if possible) wouldn't be totally out of the question.
I just saw my first Serenity DVD commercial on tv. "The action starts here" with lots of lightening effects....yeah.
What channel did you see the commercial on?
I saw a couple DVD commercials on Comedy Central last night and a couple more during "Firefly" on Sci Fi tonight.
I saw it on UPN.
peaking of which, assuming that the sales for Serenity on DVD were sufficient wouldn't there be a possibility (however minor) of doing the same for Firefly and making the occasional direct to DVD movie?
Besides Serenity selling well, I imagine that the Buffy-verse direct-to-DVD movies would also have to do well. If those manage to prove a success way to produce low-budget movies, then I don't see why a direct-to-DVD Serenity sequel couldn't be made. Obviously it wouldn't be a big as Serenity, but at the same time the tv production values in the 2 hour pilot episode of Firefly were quite good. I would be more than happy with another Serenity movie with those type of production values. Sure a big screen Serenity would be nice, but I would take whatever can get made.
Well it's sad to see Joss saying he has 'closure' but when those Saturday box office figures came out from the opening weekend, I think most of us knew it wasn't to be.

Maybe he'll go to back to the Firefly 'verse in 5 or 10 years time but for now it'll just be comic books and novelisations.
That writer is putting some words in Joss' mouth, I think. He said in a recent interview that he has a feeling of closure now, but in the next breath said that whether new movies or made depends on how the DVD does. Joss has not said anywhere that he is "moving on" from Firefly. An interview with him in TV guide from two days ago says: "TVGuide.com: Are you considering any future installments of the Serenity/Firefly franchise? Whedon: It's hard to say. I think the DVD sales will have a lot to say about that. Are there more stories to tell? You bet. Would I love to tell them and work with everyone again? The answer is also yup. Now, the movie did not get a huge amount of people out to see it. We'll need the DVD to make the money back. But I rule out nothing. I think it's the type of movie that can be discovered on DVD. It has definitely affected the people who have seen it."

[ edited by erico on 2005-12-17 12:25 ]
Maybe he'll go to back to the Firefly 'verse in 5 or 10 years time but for now it'll just be comic books and novelisations.


See, i could see a long term plan for a televised return to the Buffyverse working out. Letting it rest and then coming back strong with something that had that kind of cult fan following was always a possibility because it is a recognisable property. I don't know many people who haven't at least heard of or seen the occasional episode of Buffy, if not Angel. In fact with Buffy, i simply couldn't imagine there being a long wait before Joss was able to do something again. It seemed much more likely that we were looking at a couple of years or so before plans started to develop again, as we are hopefully seeing happening now with the DVD movies.

However, with Firefly i think it's a now or never kind of deal. The fanbase is a lot smaller and the show never made it into the general public's awareness in the same way that Buffy did. There were no pencil cases made, no t-shirts sold in the regular clothes shops, no monthly magazines on the shelves dedicated to Firefly. None of the things Buffy got to help the show become so well known.

In fact the only real promotion Firefly has ever had was thanks to the movie. Once the DVD has been released and the bulk of the sales from that are done then what is there going to be to ever help it back onto the screen again? I really do think that if anything is ever going to make it back onto film concerning the Serenity crew then it needs to be considered now, whilst the DVD sales will help make the idea viable.
Well, look how well the Firefly DVDs are selling, and how many years is it after the show ended? I expect Serenity to be selling well as more and more people find out about Firefly/Serenity. As you said, there's still a large mass of people who know nothing about either. As long as the fans continue to help spread the word, I think sales will be strong for a while.
Buffy's papa has more Slayerstuff in the pipeline as well: an ongoing comic book (''the eighth season we never made''), and possibly a series of DVD flicks focusing on characters like platinum bloodsucker Spike.


I really like the idea of more Slayerstuff. :)

[ edited by Simon on 2005-12-17 15:08 ]
The Buffyverse certainly lends itself more to further exploration. Through two shows and other media, they've created a rich world with lots of players and lots of possibilities. The, uh, Firefly-verse, on the other hand, only got half a season and a movie, so it's really centered on this one group of people. Could more be done with it? Sure. But the Buffyverse is much more ripe with opportunities for spin-offs.
Silent Night as much I appreciate you trying to help, we don't copy and paste entire articles here. I've edited your post to reflect this.
LOL I just received a message from someone regarding my boo boo so I came back to edit my original post. Sorry about that. :) Thanks, Simon.
However, with Firefly i think it's a now or never kind of deal. The fanbase is a lot smaller and the show never made it into the general public's awareness in the same way that Buffy did.
Which I see the potential to reach a larger audience, since people don't know about the show and don't know if they like or dislike it. Unlike Buffy, which I think has a limited growth as most people already know about it and have seen an episode or two and have already made up their mind that they like it or dislike it.

Even before the Serenity help spike the sales of the Firefly DVD's, the DVD's seem to sell very consitently as more and more people found out about them. It seemed like a series that travelled by word of mouth from fans. Personally, I only heard about the series and became a fan early this year, at which point I had no idea Joss Whedon had done any tv shows outside the Buffy-verse. If anything, had Joss waited a few more years to make the movie, I think the fanbase would have continued to grown and it would have done better at the box office.

Now the movie Serenity has given Firefly new life with the show on the Sci-Fi channel and sales for the DVD's bigger than ever. The way I see it is that the Browncoat fanbase just keeps on growing and growing with still lot of potential for it to get a lot, lot bigger. Only now instead of just a really good tv show, there's a really good movie out there to grab new fans. So as long as the fanbase keeps growing, then I think there's always a chance for either the movie or tv show to return to a bigger audience than ever before.

The other thing is that if any of the cast become big in Hollywood and become well known to the public, you could return to the movies without the problem of trying to sell a movie with an unkown cast.
To be absolutely honest, as soon as those initial Saturday box office results appeared, with the drop from Friday to Saturday (shouldn't happen), I think a lot of people understood something like this: 'Oh. Right.'.

The follow few weekend results sealed it.

It wasn't a massive bomb, but it wasn't franchise material. It just didn't reach enough outside the existing fan base.

If it becomes a massive DVD seller outside of the Browncoat audience, sure, I can imagine a sequel being made. However, I wouldn't count my chickens on that score - when I say massive seller, I mean a _massive_ seller.

At the end of the day it all comes down to money. To make a TV show of Firefly's scale on Fox, you need a bigger audience in todays network environment. To make series of movies on Universal's scale, you need a bigger audience.

I'm happy for Joss. Serenity should eventually turn a profit, and it received fantastic reviews. As a motion picture writer/director debut -- which is where he wants to place his career I suspect and he very much deserves it -- it's a cracking start.

A word on Goners - I've heard along the grapevine Universal and WB still haven't worked out which (if either) will go into production first I hear. I'm glad of this. I've got to be honest: I fancies me some Goners. It's a new universe thing.
What I was hoping for was that Serenity would be everything I hoped it would be. I then hoped that we would see two sequels or a resurrection of Firefly over the next five years, with Joss fitting in Goners and Wonderwoman, perhaps not finishing all this for ten years, perhaps whilst Buffy and Angel minimovies were made, possibly by Joss, possibly by someone else with his help, because that seems like a lot of work for one person, however for someone who has juggled three shows at once perhaps he could manage all of that in ten years.

Then, I was hoping we would see some Buffy or Angel films on the big screen. That's what I was hoping.

The way things have fallen out, my first wish was completely fulfilled, and it seems that we will definitely get some continuation of the Buffyverse in the next few years, as well as Goners and Wonderwoman. I think Joss will maybe do Goners next whilst writing his script for Wonderwoman which he'll make after that, possibly whilst helping out any Buffyverse projects. I think what we actually have is definitely exciting and satisfying.

The only bad thing about the greatness of Joss's work is that we will never be fully satisfied. Even if there were Serenity sequels, I would still be missing the Buffyverse, although if I had the choice I think there are more untold Fireflyverse stories so I want to see more of that first, but I want to see the Buffyverse again.

I definitely think we have a lot of amazing work to look forward to and projects to dream about, whether they materialise or not.
Personally, I think the Firefly/Serenity meme will likely grow -- probably fairly slowly, but steadily -- for the next several years. If I'm right, I'm pretty sure we'll eventually see something -- and I still think it will either be a spin-off TV series or a big screen film (assuming such things still exist five or ten years down the road). Gossi is absolutely write that it all comes down to money, but, if showbiz history proves anything, it proves that you can't call anything over and dead until, well...who knows. I mean, who knew that there would be a new "Battlestar Gallatica" (I show I NEVER wanted to see one more frame of, myself) and, absolutely weirdly, it would actually be, god help us all, good. And, much as I (still) dislike the cover art, the Austin Powers scenario is still not impossible. Why would Joss talk like that the weekend before it comes out? There'll be plenty of time for realism later on.

I also don't think the relative lack of merchandising compared to "Buffy" is that important. There are the usual action figures, models, rpgs, etc. And this thing has, I think, appeals to an older groups of viewers. I think as this thing gradually catch on, we'll see more older viewers (and not just us, getting older). Sadly, marketers think that older consumers are unimportant because, well, marketers are largely pretty shortsighted (which is a polite word) as a group.

Firefly/Serenity fans are not that huge in number, but we are pretty mighty in terms of influence (I actually think the reviews/ticket sales of "Serenity" were slightly depressed by the number of reviewers who knew the show and gave the "I liked it, but you newbies might not get it" line. In a weird way, it was the victim of its own cult success there.) The big question is whether I'm right and this thing will continue to grow or just sort of slowly peter out as we all move on with our lives (and Joss with his new projects).
I completely agree the fanbase will grow, bobster. It so will. However, the reality is -- I think anyway -- a majority of money from a film like Serenity comes from non-fans.

I don't think it can grow to critical mass (ie Star Wars). Not without another motion picture or a highly successful TV series, anyway. Chicken before the egg, kind of.

I will say this - in the UK, the fan base is pretty small. Compared to the US, it's _tiny_. Yet, here the movie opened #1 at the box office. It had the smallest drop 2nd week (aside from Germany) worldwide. It was received very well critically, and it crossed over into the main stream a fair amount -- the box office results tell you that. It pulled in $4.7m in total here, and considering our fan base was about a thousand or so people... you know, it got very much outside the Browncoats here.

Why? I don't know. If whatever had happened in the UK had been duplicated in the US, this topic of conversation probably wouldn't have existed. But it didn't.
Isn't the name of the new movie "Goner"...with no s?
gossi, I run Firefly Talk and I get emails daily from people saying "I just discovered Firefly, it's the best thing I've ever seen, I watched the whole thing over the weekend, I'm hard-core for life now". Non-fans are becoming fans every day. I don't think the box office performance performace sealed the fate of the movie; most sci-fi fans I know personally had never heard of Firefly or Serenity when it came out, until I mentioned it to them. If the DVD sales continue to grow over the coming year or two as more people find out about the 'verse, we have a good chance at another movie. Getting the word out to the non-fans is the key.
newcj, it's Goners with an s -- Variety reported the name wrong initially.

erico - Oh, I agree. People are finding the show every day. The problem is economics. I don't entirely want to get into it in this topic as I don't want to seem overly negative, but when you look at the amount of money Serenity has taken at the box office (sans the theatre's take), and then look at how much Serenity needs to make on DVD... It's, erm, a lot. I mean, a lot.

Joss - I just want to highlight there are some fans on message boards who feel they've been deserted without being told, in case you wants to comment on that side of things. I strongly think this interview is taken out of context - in particular, the "closure" quote.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-12-18 00:01 ]
...this thing has, I think, appeals to an older groups of viewers. I think as this thing gradually catch on, we'll see more older viewers (and not just us, getting older). Sadly, marketers think that older consumers are unimportant because, well, marketers are largely pretty shortsighted (which is a polite word) as a group.

Good point, bobster. This brings to mind a news story I read just the other day talking about the aging baby boomer population and how (at least here in Canada) within the next 20 years or less that about 3 in 10 people will be over the age of 60 and that immigration is to surpass the birth rate as the source of net population growth. In general, this reality of an aging population is certainly not limited to north of the 49th parallel.
Not to imply that older necessarily *has to* mean better (and this may sound strange coming from someone in their mid-twenties), but I hate the way my demographic is marketed to and the inherent assumptions that underline such marketing approaches and strategies. My parents and my aunt and uncle, all in their early to mid-fifties, love Firefly (and Serenity) and generally prefer similarily 'mature', intelligent television shows and movies.
However much youth appears to be the focus of so much attention (in terms of fashion, popular music and television and the like), soon enough the demographic of "older consumers" mentioned above will be too large to ignore; expect many changes, in many industries and employment sectors, as a result.
Maybe Joss will pop in and say (as I inferred from the TV Guide interview) that he will make another 'verse movie if he can. I find the EW article mildly annoying--likewise their "B" review of the DVD. Overall positive, but the reviewer admitted up front a bias toward lesser (IMNSHO) TV shows, and missed the point of the plot entirely.

What's annoying about the interview is, as others have said, that bits are likely taken out of context and it appears they edited it to make it look like the 'verse was done. OK, I take back the "mildly" part.

We are longtime subscribers to EW magazine, and I've been disappointed at how they've praised risky-but-good Fox shows (Firefly, The Tick live action, Wonderfalls) and then just helped fuel the doom and gloom fires when these shows faltered in the ratings in their first--and only--seasons.
I think Joss has made it clear that he does want to make more Firefly films. That's why all of the actors have signed contracts with Universal that they will appear in two more films, but in the contract it is basically whether Universal wants to make more films, which will depend on box office takings and DVD sales.

The box office sales alone weren't enough to ensure a sequel, but neither were they so bad that it became out of the question. The film has come quite close to recovering its cost of production, which really leaves us completely unsure as to how big the DVD sales will be. The signs are good, however, with its performance on Amazon so far, and it will hopefully repeat Firefly's success and there is a chance that we will get a sequel with strong, prolonged sales over the next couple of years.

And I think that good DVD sales are likely, because that's exactly how we got Serenity in the first place, and it can happen again. The signs are good. Most of the critical attention Serenity received was positive, so we should expect similar reviews in DVD magazines and such, which will also help to convince more people to check the film out. The interest in the film can only have increased since its release as since then more people will have heard of it or checked out Firefly.

But I think it is clear that Joss definitely wants to board Serenity again, so I don't think anyone should worry about that.
The film has come quite close to recovering its cost of production

It really hasn't. The box office figures you see online exclude the theatres take - it averages about 45% US (obviously, it depends on the length of run) and 55% internationally (you have to factor UIP in).
Gossi, you mean that the figures online "include" the theaters take. If the International box office is around $40M then Universal only receives around $20M. No where near the production cost of the movie. Which is pretty much what I think you meant to say.
Ah, yes, you are correct Tamara. Todays lesson, peeps: gossi can't use the english language correctly.
Now if I just knew the wholesale price on the DVDs, I could figure out how many DVDs need to be sold to make up that $20M. Anyone have a clue?

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