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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Sometimes I like to crumble up the weetabix in the blood."
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December 30 2005

VideoBusiness has Serenity as 3rd most top selling DVD. Serenity debuts at #3, and the ranking is based on sales up to December 25th.

I think the DVDexclusive link was posted around Whedonesque somewhere, but I am guessing this is the more official ranking, and it deserves to be a front page link. Besides I think we all need a pick me up.

I am guessing this was really due to the rabid fanbase and Christmas shopping. Hopefully the interest will continue somewhat next week, Serenity won't drop down in rank too much, and it is a sign that there is interest among the non-fans for this movie. A cautious optimist can hope.

Link changed to more permanent location.

I don't find sales figures interesting enough for a front page link, but that may be a minority view. All this marketing stuff bores me to tears.
It interests me befcause I want a feel for how well the movie is selling, which translates to how likely it is we'll get any more Serenity anything. Not just a sequel, but the original novels, more figures, more comics, animated series, anything.

I also suspect the numbers would have been higher if the retail stores had ordered more. An awful lot of stores ran out last week. It'll be interesting to see if it stays on top of the list.
I also suspect the numbers would have been higher if the retail stores had ordered more. An awful lot of stores ran out last week.

That's the nature of retail - it's impossible to predict how well anything will sell. Especially "Serenity", which is still an unknown quantity as far as DVD is concerned. Because retailers will look at how well the film did at the box office (relatively poorly) and will order based on that.

The sales of "Firefly" would likely not have affected how most stores approached ordering "Serenity" simply because they are two different types of products - a TV box set versus a single feature.

Having said all that, if stores sold out, that's more incentive for them to order more and not feel like they've over ordered. Plus word of mouth should keep it selling for a while
It'll be interesting to see if it stays on top of the list.

Well, if nothing else, Amazon's DVD list continues to have Serenity at #2 and Firefly at #3.
I don't find sales figures interesting enough for a front page link, but that may be a minority view. All this marketing stuff bores me to tears.

Heh, yeah, I can imagine one feeling like that. With Serenity, however, somehow all this has become interesting. For me, at least. First the box office figures, now the DVD rental and sale figures. I think I've actually learned quite a lot about the business side of the movie world by following how Serenity was doing quite intensivly, and I've actually come to like that whole side of keeping track of the movie, beyond the whole 'is it doing well enough for a sequel' thing.

As for Serenity coming in third, that's quite decent I'd think. I think it'll keep selling nicely (just look at how the Firefly DVDs did), but only time will tell.
Not to my taste either. But a brief period of marketing and sales talk following the theatrical and DVD releases is probably interesting and useful for many people. And certainly if hard figures on the front page are leavened with more whimsical stories, the balance of the site shouldn't be too affected.

'Course, were such news to dominate to the exclusion of all else, one might have to reconsider - though that seems unlikely to happen given the rather prodigious number of projects that Joss and cohorts are forever engaged in.
Personally I appreciate seeing these results and learning something about what it all means, but I would certainly understand if Whedonesque didn't want these reports posted here.
Well I guess I am just obsessed. I did not realize this was boring stuff, otherwise I would not have linked to it. If you want you can remove it, if you feel its unnecessary. I just thought with the Serenity site closing down, I was a bit depressed. But it was nice to see Serenity at #3 on the dvd sales charts. I find it comforting. And if the stores underbought these items, and order more, hopefully it will reflect next week(I won't post it on the front page hehe).

In terms of the firefly set, well I think it will probably show up next week. As soon as the Serenity DVD was released and arrived at the top of Amazon's charts, Firefly DVD was selling well(rank 3-4), and I would imagine it would be the case in other places. I am wondering if it will be a symbiotic relationship, where sales of one will help the other and vice versa. I hope its not just a 1 week event.

In terms of Amazon ranking, it is probably not the best indicator of DVD sales, since as mentioned before, people who use that site tend to be "internet-savy", and proportionally more geeky, and therefore more likely to buy Sci fi, compared to the general populace who buy in store and not online.
I don't quite agree kurya, for the simple fact that not only is Amazon extremely accessible, it is also tremedously easy to use. Unless "internet-savy" America consists of those who kept March of the Penguins (2 versions mind you) in the top ten for several months, I'm pretty sure Amazon customers come in all shapes and sizes.
Actually, despite Amazon's popularity, I would tend to think that the likelihood is that the demographics of people who buy there would be the same demographics that entertainment producers and marketers are most concerned with. So while sales there might not reflect overall sales, they're probably something of an indicator of something the industry likes to know about.
With Christmas just happening and everything there was a lot of discussion on the news about how the season went shopping wise. According to the news, more money was spent online this holiday season than at actual stores with Amazon and Ebay being the biggest winners.
This is great news for the success of Serenity on DVD. I have noticed a lot of the customer reviews on Amazon are from people who's first exposure to the 'verse' is through Serenity and after seeing the movie, they watched Firefly and loved it too. This appears to be indicating that word of mouth is spreading beyond the fanbase and will hopefully help keep sales of the DVD strong.
This is the kind of front page link I'm most interested in right now. I find a lot of the others fun, or better than fun, but strong & sustained DVD sales are the only hope for a sequel. As exciting as a Spike movie or what-have-you would be, what I want is more 'verse.

We already know the cast and key crew--like, say, Joss--are up for it. We just need a studio to be sold on the idea, and whether it's SciFi or theatrical, it's gonna take a lot of DVD sales to make it a priority.

OTOH seeing a lot of these links would be a drag. Only real news (such as a big shift in sales, or six months of strong sales, or whatever) should get on the front page, in my view.
I guess we'll never know, but I'm a little curious as to what proportion of Amazon and other online sales (especially preorders) are international orders - an extra demographic that won't factor in to over the counter numbers.
The chart had rankings listed for other stores as well, and I'm wondering if the Blockbuster listing is for sales or rentals. Because if its rentals then 3rd is amazing! We have about 25 copies of Serenity to rent, as opposed to 180 of Four Brothers, 40 Year Old Virgin, etc....

No power in the 'Verse can stop us!!
While I normally wouldn't know a sales ranking from Ranking Roger (shout out to the 80s ;-)), I am interested to know how the Serenity DVD is selling and renting, since it has been repeated so many times that a sequel will depend on how well the DVD does. So, I'm glad Kurya linked it, for them as is wonderin'. :-)
This'll be a walk in the park compared to when Wonder Woman comes out.
Oh, Simon, don't scare me. *cries*

As I said, a lot of people find this stuff fascinating so it has a place here.
Well, I think the fascination comes from the fact money sells the projects. I don't think people will be that intense with Wonder Woman's BO performance, for example, as I don't think most people will be hitching on a WW series.

I can understand the view that it's uninteresting, though. I think, for the most part, the figures are over now.

Marketing wise for Wonder Woman will be horrendous, though, if it goes ahead.
I don't think people will be that intense with Wonder Woman's BO performance, example, as I don't think most people will be hitching on a WW series.

No but I think Warner Bros will be wanting a financially viable franchise. And this is Joss in the big league now, people will be interested to see how the movie performs.
True. I'll be interested to see how big WW's production budget is, actually.
Apparently Fantastic Four was $100,000,000 but I reckon Wonder Woman's budget will be less. $70-80 million?
Does anyone know the actual dollar volume (even a general range) that this ranking indicates? I've hunted around for DVD sales figures, and they seem to be a better kept secret than the CIA can manage.
Nope, rkayn. The only indication I can give is that Universal press released 16 Year Old Virgin (a rareity of the world) this:

"The low-budget comedy, starring Steve Carell as a virgin clerk, sold 3.7 million units or $65 million at retail in its first week in DVD release, Universal said."

Serenity debuted 3rd. How close it is in terms of units or dollar amount is an industry secret.

Edit: However, I've just noticed Paramount have released estimates for Four Brothers debut (which was actually #1 on DVD) of $8.8m at retail. As DVD sales indexes are publicly released, it should be possible to estimate Serenity's take. However, it won't be much.

[ edited by gossi on 2005-12-31 17:22 ]
Do you have links, gossi? I'm sure seasonal variations are huge, but a more than 6x variation for those two movies seems big. Or is the Four Brothers figure for less than a week?

The most interesting number to me now would be total revenues for the Firefly set since its release two years ago. Maybe if I buy a share of FOX or News Corp they will send me that info... :-p
I'm actually quite interested since these results will help determine if we get a sequel (like GVH said). Perhaps a weekly posting of various DVD sales/rentals results like Amazon, Blockbuster, VideoBusiness and others would be cool. I do see how too much of this can be a little annoying, but I'm glad you posted it, kurya. Yeah! Some good news.
According to Hollywood reporter, Four Brothers generated 8.8 million in rentals, (though I suppose it may be rentals and sales from primarily rental locations like Blockbuster):

"In rental stores, first-place finisher "Four Brothers" generated an estimated $8.8 million in revenue"

I also saw in another article from the same source that 40YOV beat out the 2nd place FF last week by nearly 3 to 1, so I tend to doubt that 67 million for the #1 film of the week is typical.

What all this would mean for Serenity being #3 is debateable. Plus how much did Christmas impact sales figures? My own uneducated guess would put it somewhere around 20 million. Hopefully Serenity will have more staying power in DVD sales than it did in theaters.
I read another report saying that 40YOV sold nearly 5 million copies by the end of the 2nd week of reporting, which means it sold ~1.3 million copies during this time frame. As it was neck and neck with Four Brothers, this would put each of their sales at around 23 million. So Serenity obviously did less than that, but I don't know that the floor would be.

It's interesting (to me, at least) that the 10th largest selling DVD of the year, Batman Begins, only sold a little over 6 million copies. And the largest TV show seller for the year (Chapell show Season 2) only sold 2.8 million copies.

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