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January 05 2006

Serenity DVD sales drop to #6 for week ending Jan 1. Per Hollywoodreporter.com. Behind Bandcamp and Into the Blue.

Since Universal have press released "Band Camp's" figures as 1 million, but didn't with "Serenity", I think we can assume Serenity never hit the million mark the first week.

On a happier note, I'm eating an orange. It's quite tasty.
I think we can assume Serenity never hit the million mark the first week.

Did anyone expect it to? I had no idea what kind of figure to expect, but a million seems a bit high.
Wow! No wonder movies suck! Hollywood keeps making crap, and PEOPLE KEEP BUYING IT. IN MASSIVE QUANTITIES.

With the exception of TOY STORY 2 and the BDM, every single title in that Top 10 list is complete and utter shite that I didn't see at the theatre and will never see on video, unless I am tied to a chair You've-Been-A-Naughty-Droog-style.
I wonder if the drop in sales has to do with the fact that the DVD is sold out at a lot of stores. At least around here, I can't find any 'wide screen edition' copies of 'Serenity' anywhere. I notice that 'Serenity' has dropped to #3 at Amazon, but that is still pretty respectible.
Behind 'Into the Blue'? Ouch. Yeah, I'm also thinking 'Serenity' DVD sales numbers will show in the long term rather than the short.
Did anyone expect it to? I had no idea what kind of figure to expect, but a million seems a bit high.

I'd hoped it would. Whilst by no means official or likely even correct, I do some sums recently to factor in the box office take, theatre take, reasonable marketing budget and distribution costs, and gave a few million take in product licensing. I guestimate it needs to sell about 4m copies to break even, or 7m+ for sequel consideration. I think.

Because Universal have press released the figures to "Band Camp" this week as 1m, the DVD sales index (which includes the percentage of sales compared to the top seller for each title) will say how many copies Serenity sold last week.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-01-05 16:44 ]

[ edited by gossi on 2006-01-05 16:45 ]
Yeah, I'm also wondering how many sales this makes. The relative position doesn't really tell us much, right? I'd say the actual number of sales, or even better, the DVD sale profit would give us a clearer picture of how the DVD is selling.

Right now, I'm not sure what to make of this news.

(lol, 5 more replies got posted in the time it took me to write this. Scary.)
I tend to lean more towards believing rankings published by Video Business Online and they seem late in getting last weeks numbers out. They are still showing numbers for the week ending 12/25. Having said that, I have no doubt that the fact that lower quantities of Serenity in the marketplace are playing into these numbers. Every place I have been over the past week is sold out of the widescreen version of Serenity. If a store had 200 copies of 40 Year Old Virgin compared to say 50 copies of Serenity, simple math tell you that 40 Year Old Virgin is going to sell more copies. Multiply that nation wide and that plays into overall sales of the movie.

[ edited by haven on 2006-01-05 16:58 ]
Well, I'm looking forward to how well the R4 version does. It seems quite a few people are looking to purchase that one also.
Gossi - I noted on a thread a week or so ago that the 10th best selling DVD of last year, Batman Begins, only sold around 6 million copies.

Embers - I also have a freind who tried to buy Serenity last week, and couldn't find it anywhere, so yes lack of availability definitely had some impact on sales.

Shemp - "With the exception of TOY STORY 2 and the BDM, every single title in that Top 10 list is complete and utter shite that I didn't see at the theatre and will never see on video, unless I am tied to a chair". How exactly are you so positive that the other 8 movies are crappy if you've never watched any of them? I didn't watch Buffy for YEARS because I likewise "knew" that it was awful.
>>Since Universal have press released "Band Camp's" figures as 1 million, but didn't with "Serenity", I think we can assume Serenity never hit the million mark the first week.<<

Gossi, OTOH, we could assume that they released this particular figure because it was a direct-to-video title and they wanted to show how well such a release can do. (I honestly have no idea if it's common practice for a company to release DVD sales figures.)

Which _might_ also bode not-too-sadly for a certain other franchise dear to our hearts.

Yrs, ever the optimist. *s*
I didn't watch Buffy for YEARS because I likewise "knew" that it was awful.


Buffy was a critic's darling (at least in everything I read) so, even though I put off watching it until they started coming out on DVD, I was also pretty sure I'd like it. Going by Yahoo Movies, Serenity & the 40 Year old Virgin tied for high average critic marks (of the rest on the list)... I personally haven't seen 40YOV but I'll get around to it. I LOVED Steve Carrell on the Daily Show and I think he'll be hilarious.

However, I will borrow 40YOV from someone compared to the 4 copies of Serenity I bought before Christmas (2 of them were gifts!). I'm thinking it might be time to buy a few more... I know people with birthdays in January. A friend of mine is having a baby shower next week... Maybe throw the movie in with a cute little outfit?

[ edited by lyrabelacqua on 2006-01-05 18:19 ]

Must have coffee before I start posting.

[ edited by lyrabelacqua on 2006-01-05 18:20 ]
Since Universal have press released "Band Camp's" figures as 1 million, but didn't with "Serenity", I think we can assume Serenity never hit the million mark the first week.


Uh didn't band camp and into the blue premiere this past week and Serenity premiere the week before? So it did not hit 1 million in the second week right?

Anyways I do not expect Serenity to be #1 etc etc, what I expect or rather hope that serenity will be in the top 10 for quite a few weeks. Unlike being released in theatres, on DVD, one does not have to worry as much(still worry a little), about how well the DVD will sell in the first 2 weeks, on DVD it is easier to have a slow-growth phenomen, or so I imagined. And come to think of it, considering that 90% of the fanbase in North America(and a few international fans depeserate to get the Serenity fix ASAP), got the DVD as presents for themselves and others, the second week indicates at least for me, non-fan interest in the movie.

[ edited by kurya on 2006-01-05 18:25 ]
Serenity is at #5 on the Billboard charts.
Billboard Charts

In addition, The top selling DVD of 2005 was the Incredibles at 17.4 million copies
Top selling DVDs
rkayn - Good point, I was the same way about BUFFY until I caught Hush a few years back. Maybe I was a little overheated in that comment, but I can definitely say that between previews, reviews and word-of-mouth, I just wasn't particularly burning with interest in any of them. In the days of $9.50 tickets, $5 drinks, half-lit bulbs, and cell-phone addiction... I have to be fairly motivated to visit a theatre. None of those movies (or the original American Pie) got me there, and I doubt they'll ever be in my Netflix queue. That's all I was saying when I went into high drama mode. :)
Kurya has an excellent point -- since I'm sure a huge, huge percentage of those of us who are into this thing enough to do silly stuff like post here probably bought it in the first week, the fact that there wasn't a gigantic drop off in the second week is actually very good news.

What I'd like to do -- and it's probably not possible -- is to compare sales to movies like "Office Space" and the first "Austin Powers", whose video performance was far superior to the box office.

[ edited by bobster on 2006-01-05 19:54 ]
Mycroft, the Billboard chart seems to date to last week, since Serenity was only 1 week in that chart, an no mention of Bandcamp, or Into the Blue, or any of the DVD's that came out this week. And that issue date, Jan 14th? Talk about timewarp.

[ edited by kurya on 2006-01-05 20:01 ]
What I'd like to do -- and it's probably not possible -- is to compare sales to movies like "Office Space" and the first "Austin Powers", whose video performance was far superior to the box office.


I reckon Pitch Black would be a good comparison as well.
Every place I have been over the past week is sold out of the widescreen version of Serenity. If a store had 200 copies of 40 Year Old Virgin compared to say 50 copies of Serenity, simple math tell you that 40 Year Old Virgin is going to sell more copies. Multiply that nation wide and that plays into overall sales of the movie.
Since Christmas I've been visiting a number of stores, from small mom 'n pop DVD stores to big box stores like Best Buy, spending the various gift certificates I got for Christmas. I have not seen a single copy of Serenity anywhere, either Fullscreen or Widescreen. Everywhere I've visited has sold out and is awaiting to get more stock in. It's hard for a DVD to stay on top of the best-sellers list when so many stores don't have copies to sell.

Since Universal have press released "Band Camp's" figures as 1 million, but didn't with "Serenity", I think we can assume Serenity never hit the million mark the first week.
I'm no expert on DVD sales, but from what I have followed the way studios release numbers is really strange. They seem to have no pattern in which titles they release numbers. Sometimes they release numbers from the top sellers and sometimes they are quite guarded. Sometimes they will announce numbers of a title one week but then hold back numbers the following week and then announce numbers the next week for that same title. Last week Universal let people know how many copies 40 Year Old Virgin sold at number one, yet they haven't released data for this week. With that said maybe Serenity did pass or come close the the 1 million mark and they didn't announce it because it wasn't the #1 DVD?

However, what I really wish we had in absent of Serenity DVD sales numbers would be sales numbers for one of the DVD's underneath Serenity in overall ranking.
Barnes and Noble told me they can't keep it on the shelf.

So here's what it sounds like: they order too few, get bought out, end up being asked by people like me, and take a while to order more. You can't sell a million of what you haven't even got on the shelf.
Just for information, due to the DVD sales index charts and the fact for the last two weeks, the sellers have put out the #1 sellers numbers on press releases, it's possible to calculate Serenity's DVD sales to date. We just need to watch for Video Business to publish the next few weeks sales index charts. Within about 2 weeks we should know how many it has sold.
With the exception of TOY STORY 2 and the BDM, every single title in that Top 10 list is complete and utter shite that I didn't see at the theatre and will never see on video, unless I am tied to a chair

Well, that's sad, because by not wanting to see 40 Year Old Virgin, you are missing one of the funniest, sweetest, and well written and acted films of the year. Not that you would have any reason to know that, since it seems you are pre-judging it. Your loss!
Gossi, your orange comment made me laugh so hard!!!

And I agree, 40 Year Old Virgin was really funny!

[ edited by Jinxieman on 2006-01-05 21:18 ]
Question: I am guessing for an international theatrical release, Universal Studios gets a smaller cut of the box office, then North American box office right? What about for DVD sales? Does Universal get the same cut for North American and International sales, since its the same department that distributes locally and internationally for DVD?
If that is the case, there is still the international release, and I am guessing that UK, Australia and other places could contribute greatly to DVD sales. Alot of guessing going on here.

[ edited by kurya on 2006-01-05 21:37 ]
Hey, #6. Phew. I was terrified it'd drop off the list completely.
Yeah, that's not so bad in my book. But we have to beat the fake American Pie movie, for crying out loud!

[ edited by MySerenity on 2006-01-05 21:48 ]
I also wonder if this widescreen/full screen business might be slowing Serenity's sales slightly. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that people are likely to hold out for widescreen more with a movie like that than a comedy like "Virgin" which obviously is going less for visual oomph (excuse my techincal terminology here). People may be more likely to settle for the fullscreen version of "Virgin" if the widescreen copies are sold out.

What's kind of funny is that both movies were photographed -- very differently -- by Jack Green (and, as is mentioned on the commentary, at least one reshoot was actually done on the "Virgin" set).

[ edited by bobster on 2006-01-05 22:05 ]

I reckon Pitch Black would be a good comparison as well.


I've also used that comparision and for the most part that movie grew almost completely by word of mouth. At least at first. The reason that movie eventually got a sequel and grew to the status it currently has is admittedly due to do the popularity of Vin Diesel's in the years after its release, so if one of Serenity's crew becomes a big... well bigger name it can only help our cause. (Plus I imagine would mind it so much either.) So here's hoping one or more of crew land some good roles.
The thing with Serenity is that alot of stores seemed to buy very few copies. Its been sold out at many stores in my area, except for the ones that overcharge (like 'FYE')

[ edited by Summerfan on 2006-01-05 22:13 ]
Yeah. If Nathan was to land a role in the next Indiana Jones project, I'd be a happy boy.
Nathan in Indiana Jones is a brilliant idea. He could make a really good villian or rival archeologist of some sort. Perhaps the cocky young protege of Indiana. A geek can dream can't he?

[ edited by war_machine on 2006-01-05 22:35 ]
I think it's actually scheduled for production next year, or some such. No idea what the story angle is.
Hmm. Even though IMDB is pretty much full of lies they say the script was been approved. Here's hoping.
A good friend of mine is a DVD buyer for a large retail chain. He told me when he placed his initial order with universal, they wouldn't sell him as many as he wanted, as they did not think it would sell as well as he did. They also wanted him to wait until first week sales were in before reordering. Thus his chain sold out pretty quickly, but since he was a Serenity fan himself, he watched sales and reordered quickly, although they keep selling out.

Makes me think that Universal underestimated demand, and that this might explain why its so hard to find copies of Serenity in many stores.
Hell, shouldn't Indy be finding out about his long lost son in this one? Of course Morena as an exotic Indy love interest could make a bit of a splash if they did not want to go with the long lost son routine. The love interest will have to be at least 30 years younger than he is, after all.
Just looking at IMDB . . . anyone heard/know anything about Waitress, an Adrienne Shelly-penned and directed "comedy/romance" that is apparently currently filming? Nathan is listed as playing "unknown" - which is nice . . .

I must have missed this project's announcement - but the presence of Shelly, on whom I had the biggest crush back in her Hal Hartley days, is a good sign for me. It also appears to be starring Keri Russell.
"He told me when he placed his initial order with universal, they wouldn't sell him as many as he wanted, as they did not think it would sell as well as he did."

So lots of people calling and saying Serenity is on demand would be a very good thing, even if it was underestimated.
SNT, 'Waitress' was mentioned here back in November. Here's the link. It probably got lost in the build up to 'Serenity' hitting the US cinemas.
Just to add my 3 cents, the decision to make Serenity was taken by the Universal Senior Partners not immediatly after the release of the Firefly DVD box set (it wasn't like a big instant smash hit at this time) but months after when they realised that it was still in the top charts and that the number of copies sold were actually increasing.

Hopefully, Serenity will go the same way.
Just to add my 3 cents, the decision to make Serenity was taken by the Universal Senior Partners not immediatly after the release of the Firefly DVD box set (it wasn't like a big instant smash hit at this time) but months after when they realised that it was still in the top charts and that the number of copies sold were actually increasing.

Except that Joss keeps explaining that Universal was talking to him about making a movie out of it not long after it was cancelled, and that what the DVD sales did was make them more confident.
Thanks dpb. How embarrassing not to have remembered that (and how lazy not to have checked the archives). Still, would have been even more embarrassing had I actually commented in that earlier thread . . .
"Thanks dpb. How embarrassing not to have remembered that (and how lazy not to have checked the archives). Still, would have been even more embarrassing had I actually commented in that earlier thread . . .
SoddingNancyTribe | January 05, 23:41 CET"


...Or if you had actually done the original link, which I am beginning to think I would probably be guilty of...if, you know, I ever linked to stuff. Hey! now I've got another reason why I don't link to things besides the obvious problem that I never see anything first. Thanks SNT.
Frigging Band Camp.

I've seen a gazillion annoying pop-up ads for that piece of crap than I ever saw for our BDM... :'(

New theory:

Maybe it's not the marketing that sucks, just the people they have to market to (*cough*American moviegoers*cough*).
theonetruebix is right, you can see from our archived links here at Whedonesque: Universal said they wanted to make a movie based on 'Firefly' in September, three months before Fox put out the 'Firefly' DVDs. The amount of money they were willing to budget for the film may have been based on the sales of the DVD, but the willingness to make the movie was based on the fact that they wanted to work with Joss, and that was when he was available.
Serenity was originally due to start filming October 2003 (well, I understand it was discussed as such), but the script was held up in development. That was two months before the Firefly DVDs went on sale.
That sort of conflicts with what Joss said at the preview screening in Riverside, CA on his birthday last year. As I'm sure has been recounted elsewhere here and probably on most of the other sites, someone asked Joss what the pitch was for "Serenity" and his answer was that pretty much the entire pitch was the Firefly DVD sales figures.
*pointer finger goes up*

I heard that, Unplugged!

Though I consider myself (and all of my friends here) an exception, I have to agree that taken as a whole, the AMGs (as they'll be known forthwith), are not the most discriminating flock (as in sheep) of folks around. Sometimes we're pleasantly surprised (Crouching Tiger, Napoleon Dynamite, etc...), but mostly - we're not.
bobster, that was probably a joke. I think the Firefly DVDs probably helped, but the movie was in the initial stages of production (before an official green light - script etc) before the Firefly DVDs were even out.
The sales of the Firefly DVD were used as marketing spin for Serenity often, but were never the real reason that Universal got on board. I was at that screening, bobster. I don't remember Joss pointing to the FF DVD as the reason. It was more like he (and Universal) appreciated the show of support for the franchise.
So, I'm agreeing with you here Willowy, but for curiosity sake, what would the average AMG be like? 15-19 year olds? People in their early 30's? I would imagine, that more teens hit the movies than adults, but to be honest I have no idea. Opinions please?
Nixygirl, I am wondering that myself. I don't know anyone who goes to movies anymore, other than my 17 yr old stepson and his buddies, but this is a small town. All family and friends, whether local or in other states,rent or purchase dvds or catch it on cable. It just isn't worth the hassle and cost to go to the cinema. I have never been a fan of movie theatres but is it really getting to the point where we differentiate between moviegoers and movielovers? I love movies...I hate movie theatres. I will take a chance on a movie if I can rent it but not if I am only able to see it on the big screen.
Warren Ellis has an interesting take on the number of moviegoers dropping in the US.

We’re all children when we go into the cinema. The actors stand four times our height and speak louder than we can. We hand over our cash to be told terrible and wonderful things, and to see all kinds of magic.

Is it just possible that some of us skip the cinema and buy films on DVD not only for the convenience and replay, but also because the films of today seem not to deserve to be bigger than us?


Here's the permalink to the full post.
DejaThoris, in my experience, going to the movies is not a generally enjoyable experience. People talk, sneeze, on occasion fall asleep and snore. One lady had the audacity to pull out a cell phone and call her friend during the climax of 'Narnia'- and I was sitting right next to her! So when you say that you love movies, but hate the theater, I wholeheartedly agree with you.
Is it just possible that some of us skip the cinema and buy films on DVD not only for the convenience and replay, but also because the films of today seem not to deserve to be bigger than us?

Once again, the mad genius of Warren Ellis is spot on.
There is some truth to that Herb. Some movies however just should be seen on a big screen. King Kong, Narnia and Harry Potter just recently are some movies, I think should be.
The BDM goes without saying, and yet here I am saying it!
Nixygirl, while true, the thrust of the message here is slightly less literal.
I still love going to the movie theaters, even with the price it is, and the commercials that drive me bats. And if people act unreasonably, such as by pulling out cell phones (although I've seen relatively little of that when I go), I have no problem with telling them how rude that is. Or making some noise to the same effect . . . for me, the movie theater is still a place of magic, Warren Ellis notwithstanding.
Herb I just read that whole thing by Ellis. Obviously, he was talking about the stuff, that isn't something that you'ld die if you didn't see on the big screen. I've always been a huge movie goer, but these days, I do really prefer to only go to those kinds of movies that are an experience to see in a cinema.
BTW loved this lil quote:

And, frankly, summer movies have always been shit, so there’s not an incredibly compelling argument to make for The Creative Death Of Hollywood. No more compelling than usual, anyway. It’d be easy, probably too easy, to make the case for Hollywood having forgotten how to make movies. FUN WITH DICK AND JANE is not a $100 million dollar movie. I mean, come on. STEALTH should have been direct to DVD, as should DOOM. The creative and financial crisis is obvious.


Loved the STEALTH stuff, hee hee.
I still prefer to see movies at the theaters, although I, too, marvel at the rudeness of people. I'm still one of those who loves the experience of seeing the actors four times my height. I like the imagery to fill my entire range of vision. However, my attendance at movies has dropped off not only because there are fewer movies I want to see, but because it has become increasingly difficult to be at the theater at some specific time. I've turned to buying/renting DVDs largely because I can watch them when it is convenient. I'm sure this is the case for many people, who might otherwise still prefer to see movies as part of a large audience of people.
I'm amazed by the reports I hear from Americans about people actually using their mobiles in the cinema. That would drive me batty ! So much so that I might even say something to the person doing it (trust me, in the UK this is no small thing ;) Over here we have adverts before the main feature specifically telling the audience to switch off their phones. Maybe you guys could benefit from similar ?

I much prefer to see films in the cinema where possible and usually don't have many disturbances (tho' I do tend to consciously pick showings that aren't likely to be packed with screaming kids). DVD misses the big screen experience and it seems to me that comedies especially are best watched in a crowd of people (horror coming a close second, nothing like the shared nervous laughter after a particularly nasty scare).
herb: Thanks for the link to the Ellis quote - he has hit the nail right on the head, drove it entirely through the board, and into the apartment downstairs. At least for me.

Summerfan: In re your story about the climax of NARNIA, I have a similar experience. At the premier of TWO TOWERS, I heard the entire movie translated into Spanish for an entire row of people, with these same people asking their bilingual friend frequent questions about the action, perhaps because they missed the first movie. It was magic. El anillo! Mi precioso!

tittergirl: Because the medication I'm on makes me susceptible to suggestion, I watched 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN tonight. It was definitely not "complete and utter shite" (to quote my heavily medicated self above), but coming from the mind of Judd Apatow, it was no FREAKS AND GEEKS. Sure, I laughed quite a bit, but didn't find any of the characters or relationship particularly memorable. That's just me though, judging from it's success. I did really enjoy the waxing scene though, as well as the AQUARIUS sequence at the end, which was so utterly random and out of the blue, I giggled and rocked in my chair like a heavily medicated person. So I give it 3 Tom Servo heads on a scale of 5.

But I refuse to ever watch INTO THE BLUE. No, no, no.

nixygirl, gossi, and all interested in movie audiences, Hollywood, DVD sales, and how the movie industry makes us all feel sorry for them when a movie doesn't gross over $200 million: I would kindly direct your attention to the book "The Big Picture" by Edward Jay Epstein. By studying the financial statements of the studios and their related subsidiaries, Epstein reveals that by the time a movie hits network television, it has recouped it's investment many, many, many times over through DVD, pay-per-view, international, and related licensing.

This applies ESPECIALLY to movies that don't do spectacularly at the box office... in fact, he states that Hollywood doesn't really WANT most movies to make money in their theatrical runs because this would mean that they'd have to give money to their profit participants (i.e. writers, directors, producers, cast). When theatrical is low, the studio is able to put their pauper hats on to the creatives and say "Aw, that's too bad - no profit, ya know!" while raking in the cash from the back door, mainly from DVD sales, the exact figures of which are easy to manipulate. (The review from the Washington Post at Amazon really explains it much better than me...)

Anyway, the DVDs are gonna continue to sell for a long time, and the execs at Universal will somehow, someday be able to scrape together a few coin to let Joss give us another adventure. And if not them, then somebody. Heck, if it took THIS long to finally get Star Trek to lay down and take a breather, how can they keep the crew of Serenity down? No worries, people.

Sorry for long post. Medication no let sleep. Love to all.
nixygirl, gossi, and all interested in movie audiences, Hollywood, DVD sales, and how the movie industry makes us all feel sorry for them when a movie doesn't gross over $200 million

To clarify - I don't feel sorry for Universal at all over Serenity. They'll make their buck eventually. And, you know, it's their business risk to take - even if it earned $2 and a Tunnock Teacake in profit I wouldn't feel sorry for them (although I'd feel sorry for me, and Joss, and the cast. Also, the teacake).
Mister Shemp that was a really uplifting and optimistic way of looking at things in your 2nd last paragraph. I think you're right in your prediction and will happily bet a tidy sum on that outcome (of a cinematic sequel). However with no studio commitment and even less executive attention and priority, it will be the uncertainty that will kill some of us eventually! But where there's uncertainty there's always faith. And as we all know, you don't fix faith.
As for talk of diminishing audiences and how special the experience of watching a film is at the cinema (or movie theatre for you American types) you also need to remember that we are moving into an age where many people's home set-ups are rather awesome so the grandeur of the silver screen is largely diminished. For the last few years I've been watching dvds at home through a 5.1 dts sound system on my own projector. Rather than having to sit in a seat too small to fit my legs in whilst i listen to a hundred people eat popcorn with their mouths open, i can sprawl on a bed, eat and drink what i like,pause to go to the bog or admire inara's beauty etc. I know a fair few people who have got or are getting large plasmas, lcds,rear projection, or front projection systems like myself.

The only thing that the cinema offers to me is the chance to see a film a bit earlier, and apart from the odd thing like Serenity, i can wait quite happily. Obviously this doesn't apply to everyone, but it is a growing number of people, and for obvious reasons, the sort of people who would otherwise enjoy the prospect of watching a film at the cinema are the sort of people who want it at home. It's not like the only options these days are cinema for a good experience or dodgy old 21" mono tv reflecting the glare of the sun in your eyes whilst playing from a chewed up old vhs tape.

Oh, and for the record I still went to see Serenity 3 times (quite unprecedented, i don't do repeat viewings) and imported the dvd on American release.
Saje, I don't know where you live, but here in Germany, it is, alas, quite common for folks to use their phones in the theater. I don't go to regular screenings very often (and the main reason why there are no mobile phones at the press screenings I attend is because security takes them away from you) but each time I do, I'm still a bit shocked not only to hear phones ringing but also to hear people answering them. Of course now that piracy is such a big issue, they risk being thrown out by the staff -- but, yeah, if that special hell exists, it will fill up nicely, not just with Americans.
bschnell, Sorry to hear that. Here in England it's still quite rare (cue torrent of frustrated English cinema goers telling me i'm wrong ;) or i've just been uncommonly lucky. In fact I can only remember a phone ringing a couple of times in the cinema, both times the receiver cut it off immediately and the second time the guy quietly apologised to the people sitting nearby (which was very nice of him).

Not to say we don't have people who talk (there'll be plenty of Brits in the special hell too), eat loudly, get up and down 5 or 6 times in the course of the film and kick the back of your chair but we don't seem to have the phone thing (I don't want to add an ominous 'yet' to the end of that sentence but it's probably appropriate ;).
gossi: Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you felt sorry for Universal -- I just meant that we should all be interested in how the studios publicize box office figures to create an atmosphere of sympathy when movies "underperform", when that's actually the situation that they prefer. And in fact, they juggle the books so no movie EVER goes into the black, regardless of it's box office take. Thass all. Check out Epstein's book -- it's a real eye opener.

StaffOSimon: Yes, I'm way optimistic about the future of the franchise (I HATE calling it that - Serenity's crew is not McDonalds). And that's one of my favorite quotes from the show: "You don't fix faith."

Heh, funny story that nobody else but me will find interesting - over the holidays, my mom and dad came for a visit. Very religious folk, believe in angels and spirits and such, raised me up the same way, but over the last few years, somehow I just can't bring myself to believe in god or religion at all - at least, nothing that I can't see or touch. To be put simple, it seems like it's been the excuse for way too much pain and suffering over the ages. Well, this hasn't sat too well with the folks. I've become the heathen son, you know.

Well, we showed them the first 6-7 episodes of FIREFLY and got them hooked just right. But when River started tearing pages out of the Shepherd's Bible, I steal a glance over at them and they look like they're seeing something out of DELIVERANCE. And when she starts talking about the Good Book being inconsistent and broken... oh, man.

But of course, they settled down when Shepherd Book starts talking about faith (and then tensed up again later at River's "Just keep walkin', preacher") and they love the show and are going to get the box set when they get home. I found myself identifying with the show so damn strong because Mal's feelings about religion mirror the way mine became, and if the show helps them understand me a little better... that would be shiny.

Not that I'm comparing myself to Mal. He looks better in pants.

eviltobz: As the kids today say, "ROTFLMAO". "Listening to a hundred people eat popcorn with their mouths open." Sounds like a great song lyric to me.
I've always enjoyed the the experience of going to the cinema. I have some experience of American audiences and I don't have any bad tales to tell, although admittedly the last time was some years ago now.

My reaction to the behaviour of the audience tends to be affected by the type of film I'm watching. When I saw 'The Grudge' the auditorium was packed and very noisy, but everyone seemed to be really enjoying the film and it all became part of the experience. There was a really good atmosphere and I had a great time. On the other hand, when I went to see 'Serenity' very few people were in the audience, but one group, who appeared to have an intimate knowledge of the film, were very vocal in their appreciation of it, and made some unnecessary comments when others didn't laugh at certain bits. That distracted me quite a lot and I didn't enjoy it very much. I went back a couple of days later and had a much better experience.

I don't get to the cinema as much as I'd like to these days, but if I can, I do like to see films in that setting.
Hey, Willowy, if anyone's pointer finger should be going up, it's mine. I, too, must confess that I am an AMG. ...Which also makes me a hypocrite.

*ahem*

Anyway, while I paid plenty of money to see some really shitty movies this year (c'mon, you can't hold it against me that I saw Elektra and Fantastic Four...I'm a Marvel fanboy!...a very, very angry Marvel fanboy...), I mostly went out of my way to find stuff like Broken Flowers. And, by the by, if you haven't seen that, do so NOW. Bill Murray is among the pantheon of actor gods.

And, um, whoever says Napoleon Dynamite was a "pleasant surprise" should be brained. (No offense to the tater tot-eating, ceaslessly-quoting crowd. Just violence.)

[ edited by UnpluggedCrazy on 2006-01-06 19:51 ]
Hey Unplugged... you gonna eat that?
Gossi and Tamarac --

I remember Joss's statement quite clearly and being nonjoking. However, I have also seen (and possibly mispelled) "Rashomon."

Re: Rudeness. They actually do run semi-humourous anti-cellphone trailers in the AMC chain out here, but it still didn't prevent some idiot from taking a call during the last three minutes of "Serenity" when I saw it at one surburban theater.

Frankly, being an L.A. expatriate in the wilds of Orange County, I have found suburban/exurban audiences to be a bit ruder. At least in L.A. the number of people who are sort of intimately involved with movies means that people tend to take them a bit more seriously.

This is one of the reasons the Vista in Silverlake is my favorite theater in So. Cal. Aside from the restored art-deco, great sound and projection, comfortable seats, wide rows, and (relatively) low price the audience actually comes to watch the movie!
There are anti-cell phone ads in Canada as well, and I have only heard of a rude person using one, once.
I love seeing movies such as Serenity in the movie theatre because after there are no surprises for me, I can still live vicariously through everyone else. To hear people laugh and gasp and cry because of what Joss did -pure pleasure.
Tommorrow a group of 15 of us or so are all seeing Serenity on a BIG TV and it will be a different experience again.
See you there, Lioness! My first shindig/Browncoats event ever.

[ edited by redfern on 2006-01-06 20:49 ]
Hey UnpluggedCrazy, do the chickens have large talons? ; )

Also mr_shemp, that was a nice story about your parents. I don't really feel sorry for evil corporations too (for the record), even the ones that bring me all the best violence.
(man I am up on the quotage today!)
saje said Over here we have adverts before the main feature specifically telling the audience to switch off their phones. Maybe you guys could benefit from similar ?


Heh. We already have them over here in the states. I haven't run into any phone problems yet but some people don't know when to shut up. I almost got the climax of Goblet of Fire ruined in the theather.
I still love to see movies in theatres - and have done so more in the past eight months than I have in the past eight years (thanks, in good part, to seeing "Serenity" 15 times on the big screen - 16 as of tomorrow). Most of the time, I find the audiences to be considerate - especially if you go during the week. However, I took my 17-year-old nephew to see the "Zorro" movie in November and several people were using their cell phones during it. Most of them didn't seem to be talking, so I assumed they were so bored they were either checking their messages or text-messaging someone!
Aargh. I really wish there was an easy way to see actual total sales figures. For both Serenity, and the Firefly box set from when it came out to now, since previous sales quotes are pretty old.
This is one of the reasons the Vista in Silverlake is my favorite theater in So. Cal. Aside from the restored art-deco, great sound and projection, comfortable seats, wide rows, and (relatively) low price the audience actually comes to watch the movie!


Yeah, bobster, the Vista is great (it's in Los Feliz, though). I saw LOTR Fellowship there. But the Arclight in Hollywood is in walking distance for me and has won my heart. I'll see Goners and Wonder Woman there, I hope.

Getting the Serenity DVD let me finally hear everything on the soundtrack. Sounds as good as I thought it would.

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