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January 12 2006

Serenity drops to #9 in overall DVD sales. The BDM is still the highest selling Sci-Fi DVD.

Not quite sure what Loni was talking about in that interview really. Said in the nicest possible way (no, really - I left my bitch cake at home today).
Maybe you brought the bitch muffin instead? lol. Sorry, couldn't help myself. Well it is not bad, I guess...I am just hoping that next week, it does not fall out of the top 10. If it doesn't yay... if it does...well nothing I can do. Except to buy a gazillion DVDs.

Edit to add: Although what is really sad, is that Into the Blue, in its second week of release is higher than Serenity. There are no gods, just people with questionable tastes.

[ edited by kurya on 2006-01-12 19:31 ]
Not quite sure what gossi was talking about in his comment really.
Serenity is still holding at #3 on the Amazon bestseller list. Firefly is still at #5. The latter situation is particularly remarkable, suggesting a growing fanbase for the Serenity-Firefly franchise. (How many extra copies of Firefly could already-fans be buying?) Serenity may not be the hottest selling thing ever in the history of DVDs, but honestly, I fail to see how this means that Loni doesn't know what he's talking about. Isn't he in fact better connected to Joss/Universal than any of us?
Who? Where? What Loni interview?
Lionesss, there was a thread devoted to a Loni Peristere interview with a few days ago. (Check the archives for January.) Loni said that the Serenity DVDs were selling well enough to at least not douse out all hope for more Serenity-related goodness.
Ah thanks. I have no memory.
No doubt Loni is better connected than all of us, but I think he may not be "in the know" when it comes to DVD sales figures. (He makes special effects go boom.) When I read that article anyway, it just sounded like he was saying something positive, not that he was reporting some inside knowledge. Mostly, I agree with Kurya -- top 10 is still good, we'll see what next week brings, Into the Blue sux, it proves godslessness. ;-)
Just because it dropped to number 9 doesn't mean its a failing to sell. Firefly was about selling long term not in high numbers. Serenity will sell well, and could possibly sell really well. I think we'll get anything but another theatrical release from DVD sales. I do think Serenity was a good end to Firefly. As in providing closure.

Hold your horses, Serenity has not failed. It will spread like bird flu.
Number 9 to me sounds really good. I wonder if there is a way to find out an estimate of how many copies have been sold. It is only out in the U.S. right?

Hold your horses, Serenity has not failed. It will spread like bird flu.

This joke amused me.

Simon - as said above, I'm refering to the interview on last week with Loni, where he said Serenity was selling better than The Wedding Crashers. Except, TWC was #1, and Serenity was #9 - so clearly it wasn't.

That said - Serenity at #9 is still higher than Firefly ever got on the Industry charts. Firefly never made the top ten, ever, but still sold well enough over time.

Really, what these figures show is simple - in online circles (example: Amazon), Serenity is doing really well. On store shelves, sadly, it isn't doing as well. Which isn't entirely surprising, considering if you haven't heard of the film before, the DVD art tends to scream 'STARRING CHARLIE SHEEN AND CHRISTIAN SLATER'. Which is backed up by the fact Serenity is sadly missing on DVD rental figures, after a period where supply issues should be sorted.

The positive is that Serenity has sold over 1 million copies now in the space of a few weeks (you can predict -- or sometimes even exactly calculate -- it's sales as the DVD index figures arrive).

It hasn't exploded on DVD, but hopefully it'll sell well over time.

I bet my cat that if a double dip is released with a stonkling impressive cover, it'll reenter the charts and soar on rental.
Right now, I prefer to have it booth ways. It will sell really well and steadily because it's a good movie.

However, if sales drop, I get to put all the blame on the #@#$@ cover!
Given Joss's comment about the cover ("Guess what else I'm not the boss of.") I think you're not the only one that feels this way.

I think 1 million copies in under a month for a movie not that many people saw is really good. I'm happy with #9. The fact that it's been in the #10 this long is good news to me.
It's certainly not a horrible bomb on DVD. Something like "Dark Water" debuted last week at #9. That was a bit shit. Serenity debuted at #4, which is nice. As far as I work it out, by Feb when the Oz and UK DVDs are out, as long as they perform okay Universal will have returned it's full production budget (factoring in the theatres take). After that point, there's the marketing and distribution budget to go. Give it a year, I think it'll have made a small amount in total then.
Hold your horses, Serenity has not failed. It will spread like bird flu.
That's such a great line. Instead of fans saying "Can't stop the signal", we should be using that line and saying "Serenity... spreading like bird flu". :)
"Stonkling", gossi?

I think that's my word of the week. :D
"Bird flu"...guess that's why Universal was experimenting with viral marketing on this one.'t it a bit unreasonable to think that Serenity will be in the top 10, like, forever?
Hell, Batman Begin's sales eventually dropped.
And bobster, are you serious about blaming Serenity's eventual drop on the cover???
People. It's not about the cover!!
Please. Come on now.

[ edited by AmazonGirl on 2006-01-12 23:01 ]
AmazonGirl, I think it's very fair to suggest the DVD artwork seriously hurt sales, and will continue to if it isn't reissued.
Any idea if the Walmart figures are a part of this ranking calculation for Serenity?
are you serious about blaming Serenity's eventual drop on the cover??? Please. Come on now.

I'm glad someone else pointed out beofre I did. Hell most dvd covers suck and they still get bought. At least our's is printed on nice eye catching shiny paper.

[ edited by war_machine on 2006-01-12 23:13 ]
Nope. Sorry, gossi. I'm not buyin' that.

It might be a "fair" assumption, but it's an unreasonable one as far as I'm concerned. I guess it's because neither I nor anyone I know checks out a DVD because of the cover. And if it's about the cover, then the Serenity cover has everything on it to make the target demo pick it up:
hot girl, people holding guns, space ships...

I saw some of the fan made covers and though some were quite nice (especially the one with the ship logo), frankly, from a marketing standpoint they were failures and would have definitely left the movie sitting on the shelves. Serenity was/is not an easy movie to market. especially to a population that is celebrity-obsessed and dumbed-down. If the DVD had been released with little flashing led lights on it reading "This is possibly the best movie you've ever seen in your life!!", it still wouldn't have made a difference to a large number of people. If for no other reason than because there were no "stars" in it.

I'd not be holding my breath on a reissue. "Hey! What's this about? Ooh, cool. OK, who's in it? Never heard of any these people...hey! there's something with Brad Pitt!!"

(Edited to correct punctuation)

[ edited by SoddingNancyTribe on 2006-01-12 23:51 ]
it's an unreasonable one far as i'm concerned.

The DVD sales figures include fan preorders. The DVD rental figures do not - fans will more than likely buy, not rent.

Then, look at the DVD rental figures, which have been consistently appauling. I mean, Stealth is getting more rentals. Stealth was one of the biggest box office flops of recent times. Into The Blue took almost 4 times as much money that week on DVD rental. Into The Blue bombed at the box office, at the same time as Serenity on release.

Supply shortages? Yes. However, we're 3 weeks in now - plenty of supply on demand - and it's still doing shite. That isn't a reflection of the quality of the movie.

When you walk around a DVD rental store, you have several thousand titles, usually. People do not view each one. They glance. Obviously. Does the DVD cover stand out? Well, personally, I'd say it looks like a retarded direct to DVD crapfest - I honestly thought that cover was a joke when I first saw it, and I know I'm not alone. I feel very sorry for Joss for producing an original, different piece of pop film with serious messages - and getting that as the DVD. Sorry to whoever designed it in Universal Home Entertainment, but that's how I feel.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-01-12 23:35 ]
I have to agree with you 100% there AmazonGirl. We hate the cover because we know what the movie is all about. The cover is aimed at Joe Q Public that has never seen the movie and has most likely never heard of it. If I showed the cover to some of my college friends their first reaction would be "Woah that girl is hot." not "This cover is poorly designed and awfully gawdy."
AmazonGirl, I think you raise a fair point about the DVD cover; however, could you try to make it in a slightly less-strident fashion? Thanks.
We hate the cover because we know what the movie is all about

Oh, that isn't my problem with it at all. I'd rather have a cover with NO cast members on it, for example. My concern through the DVD cover petition (which I got an enormous amount of abuse for from fans) was making something which non-fans would actually look at. The petition was received and read by Universal, but it was too late. Clearly, I don't think anybody felt I was out of line with the DVD artwork thing -- in fact, I think many people agreed -- since they gave me the website a few months later.

The artwork thing is something a few thousand fans felt strongly about, and bless them, they tried to get it changed. It wasn't meant to be, which is a shame, but I'm glad that we spoke our piece, and it was heard by the powers that be.
I'll tell you what really got me about the cover: where the heck were all the good reviews? If Serenity is a tough sell, has no big stars, a premise that's hard to boil down, how about at least letting the public know that it is a critical hit? Where was the "Two Thumbs Up!", for instance? Instead, there was a bland quote from a small paper (as I remember; I don't have the case in front of me).

Sheesh, "Two Thumbs Up!" would be all some people need to see.
Sorry, sodding and everyone. I didn't think i was being strident.
And yes, Stealth probably will get more rentals.
But not because it has a "cool" cover.
It's because it has Academy-Award-Winning-Kanye-West-Guest-Singing Jamie Foxx starring in it.
I know people who only went to see Stealth (not "critically acclaimed", by the way) and bought the DVD just because Jamie Foxx is in it. They didn't give a damn about the cover of the DVD.
And "Out of the Blue"? The movie where for most of the time Jessica Alba is either in her panties or in something wet? Tough sell, that one, eh?
Dukes of Hazzard was definitely not a "critical hit"...and it made more money its opening weekend than Serenity has yet to make.
Apparently a great number of people don't really tend to care if a movie is a critical darling.
We all know of movies that were critical hits...that no one went to see.
By the way, the "small" paper whose review is featured on the cover of Serenity? I believe it was The San Francisco Chronicle.
I swear, I'm not trying to be strident or snarky or whatever. I'm just sayin'...

[ edited by AmazonGirl on 2006-01-13 01:34 ]

[ edited by AmazonGirl on 2006-01-13 01:39 ]
And "Out of the Blue"? The movie where for most of the time Jessica Alba is either in her panties or in something wet? Tough sell, that one, eh?

Well, in the theatres, "Into The Blue" bombed. Serenity did very well compared to it. However, on DVD Serenity did badly compared it "Into The Blue". Make your own conclusions.

I mean, "The Cave" did more DVD sales than Serenity this week, since the fan orders are gone.
Obviously the Blockbuster I work at doesn't reflect all the rental figures, but Serenity is doing very well here. Better than Stealth. But it may have to do with the fact that I hand a copy to just about every person who comes in. ;)

I think Serenity will stay in the top ten for a while longer. Most of the new releases coming out in the next couple of weeks are smaller titles. Corpse Bride will be one to look out for. Tim Burton also has a large fan base.
Firefly has been very consistent in sales since it was released on DVD. Even if Serenity drops in sales, I am highly confident that it will remain in the top 10, top 20, or top 30 long after films like "Into the Blue" completely disappear from sales figures.
Well, in the theatres, "Into The Blue" bombed. Serenity did very well compared to it...

To be pedentic about this, I do have to say that 'Into The Blue' has a bigger worldwide box office gross than 'Serenity', although 'Serenity' certainly performed a lot better than the Jessica Alba film in America (a difference of about $7 million, I believe).

Having said that, while I'm sure that Joss would have been happy to have as many people as possible see his film, at the end of the day these are two very different films. I'm not convinced that 'Serenity' was aimed at the same audience as 'Into The Blue', which makes any comparisons somewhat tenuous. I don't begrudge Jessica Alba her success or otherwise (I know next to nothing about her). I think 'Serenity' found its audience but it just wasn't as big as had been hoped. There's no disgrace in that - it's just the way it is, I guess.
I hope and believe that Serenity will remain in the top 10 if not top 20, it will be a gradual seller, since even after the DVD release, new fans have been posting on the gossiboards that after viewing the movie on DVD they bought the Firefly set, and Serenity DVD, and are getting in on the recruiting effort. They know to spread the word, and to tell all of their friends and family about it. The only problem of Serenity dropping in ranking is that its impossible to track if it falls below 20 rank(at least on And is an ok indicator(might want to discount the level somewhat), of where Serenity is.
Films like "Into the Blue" do better in rentals than in theaters, I think, because people say, "oh, I heard that movie sucks. I'm not paying theater prices for that" and then they rent it because it's cheaper. Plenty of times I've rented a movie I heard was bad just to see if it really was that bad. But I bet a lot of people who only planned to rent Serenity will end up buying it.
dashboardprophet - Into The Blue still had a wide international opening, I think that's the difference in worldwide figure. From what I know, because Serenity didn't massively break out of the cult audience in the US many of the international openings were dropped in favour of DVD releases (for obvious reasons - save the translation, distribution and marketing costs). If Serenity had stuck internationally, I'm sure the worldwide totals would have been similar, but it would have pushed the overall expenses up of Serenity.
Gossi, I agree with you that had 'Serenity' retained a more extensive worldwide release it would almost certainly have resulted in an overall better result than 'Into The Blue', although I'm still not sure how meaningful the comparison is.

I really don't know how to judge the performance of 'Serenity' and decide if it was a good or bad result, irrespective of what was hoped for. Most of the mainstream reviews compared it (favourably) to 'Star Wars' but it certainly didn't pick up more than a fraction of that audience. If we ask the question 'why not' I am sure many possible reasons could be put forward, but will we ever really be able to give a definitive answer?

The more I think about it, the more I become convinced that it genuinely found its audience. I understand the disappointment that because it wasn't a massive success (in commercial terms) it makes the possibility of sequels more remote, but putting that to one side I don't think it was in any way, shape or form a disaster. And even if it was, most people who saw it thought it was wonderful film, so that must count for something.
Boy, my little quip really started something.

I'll keep my point of view short. Cover - aimed at "dumbed-down" audience. Potential "Serenity" viewer/fan -- intelligent. This box will not attract the kind of casual viewers who would enjoy the movie. Instead, it will simply mislead the wrong audience to rent a movie they'd rather not watch.

I can easily imagine someone who's casually heard that "Serenity" was good, picking up this box in a video store, taking a look, and thinking "they must have been talking about some other movie."
While I am not a big fan of the DVD cover, I honestly don't think that it is a major contributing factor to the low rental numbers and lowering sales numbers. The main reason, which others have already said in this thread, is the lack of big name stars in Serenity.
The cover does it's job which is to be flashy enough to stand out amoung the thousands of other covers it is competing with. That is the job of a DVD cover -- to attract someone to pick up and read the back to see what the movie is about. I think this cover does that even if it isn't the most accurate representation of the movie. The real issue is lack of star power for Serenity.

Covers don't get movies rented or bought all on their own -- star power and interesting plots do. There is no question that Serenity has the interesting plot but unfortunately it doesn't have the star power. Stealth and Into the Blue have higher rental/sales numbers due to star power. If Serenity had the #1 cover that all browncoats agreed with, I am not convinced that it would change the sales/rental numbers that much since it has no big name star in it. It is unfortunate but most people respond to big name stars first and then plot and quality second.
Maybe I am the exception to the rule, but I for once am by now pretty fed up and bored with seeing the same stars over and over again in just about every movie that is going. Of course there are actors whose work I like and whose films I seek out, but overall it seems to me we are seeing the same faces for the millionth time, regardless what type of genre or whether it is a studio or independent movie. Boring, boring, boring.

I don’t think the lack of established stars is necessarily so much of a disadvantage. If the film is good, it just takes a little longer for it to build momentum, the film is more likely to get picked up by viewers during the DVD stage and will last much longer in selling terms.

I believe normally about 80% of DVD sales occur within the first two weeks of a film's release (I read that somewhere but correct me if I am wrong) which is what I would expect for something like ‘Into the Blue’. People who want to see Jessica in a bikini will pick it up and then – puff, it’s gone.

Serenity will have legs long, long after those sorts of movies are gone into the bargain bin. It will dip in sales and then rise again. And so on. Just like Firefly.
According to, Serenity fell to #14.
I tend to agree with you, Miranda, about Serenity having long legs. I think it will sell well on DVD over time (meaning years) but unfortunately it just won't set any sells records due to lack of big name stars.

It is interesting that Video Business Online has such a different ranking of Serenity's sells compared to Hollywood Reporter. I am not sure which one to believe.

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