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February 02 2006

VideoScan's figures place US Serenity DVD finishing 4th week at 17th place. With 6.5% of the sales of The Wedding Crashers first week. The Australian DVD launches this time next week, with a special edition mouse mat also now available.

It will be interesting to see if the international DVDs sell better.

oooh. I love the design for the mouse mat!
Ditto. It's the design seen on SerenityMovie.org (pimp!) as it happens.
Wait a minute. The Oz buyers get tins and mouse mats and all kinds of schwag (so kewl!). We Americans get -- a sales receipt! Where's the love? :-(
fouth week in seventeenth place...? Is this good or bad? I can't tell.
Yeah, I can't read their little numbers either! I want to know how many have sold so far?
I love the mousemat! Any chance they might be available in the UK too?
My wife is importing the tin for me as a Valentine's Day gift, quite romantic! This is one of the main reasons I bought a region free Phillips 642 dvd player (about $60 US at Wal Mart, produces a great picture on NTSC tvs.) I can't wait for the Q & A and the extra scenes.

I also noticed that while they've both dropped dramatically, Firefly and Serenity are both beating Flightplan, nice turnabout since it beat us opening weekend in theaters. Hahahah...mine is an evil laugh....
I think I have care overload regarding 'the numbers'. I've never bothered about the box office etc. of any movie before 'Serenity' and after a few months of sort of worrying about it, I think now i'm just glad we got the film and Joss was able to make it seemingly without compromises (apart from budgetary). A sequel would just be a pure bonus. That said, are these good or bad ?

(also looking forward to my Aussie edition arriving)
That said, are these good or bad ?


Well I wouldn't be planning on holding a sequel party in the near future, let's just put it that way.
Australia definitely has the best DVD launch - they have a fairly cool cover (in my humble opinion), 2 disc special edition set, and deals with various retailers where you can get a tin case edition, or a 'signed by joss' slip sleeve, or a DVD set with a Serenity mouse mat.

Numbers wise, I'd say there's a good chance it's outsold Firefly by now, but if it continues to fall it'll be gone from the charts shortly.

If Universal opt to do a few TV movies it would probably boost the Serenity DVD sales again.. It really depends if anybody is willing to sink more money into the franchise. Which is something entirely out of our hands.

[ edited by gossi on 2006-02-02 02:16 ]
It's also interesting to note that VideoBusiness.com has Serenity at #14 for it's 5th week. It's interesting to see how the ranking differs in these different websites not just in sales, but even in DVD rentals. I've never paid much attention to these types of rankings before Serenity came out so I have no idea which ones are more "respectable" and why they can differ so much at times.

I would hope that sales have proven to be big enough at least for Universal to put together a 2-disk special edition version of Serenity for Region 1. Usually I'm against that sort of studio double dipping, but I want the extra content! A lot of the work is already done with the Australian version already having a second disk with plenty of extra features. Plus I'm hoping that they will do another audio commentary with the full cast. I think it was in the DVDtalk.com interview with Joss, that he mentions that he wanted to do an all cast commentary but they couldn't get everyone's schedules together in time for the quick DVD release.

Also if anyone is interested, this post on Serenity.org tries to estimate how well Serenity sold during it's first week based the known sales of other DVD's. The final estimate is that Serenity sold somewhere between 1,104,840 and 1,605,348 units. Which isn't half bad considering how Serenity did at the box office. Might it have passed 2 million units by now?
I'm still converting people to "Firefly" and "Serenity", so that can only lead to more sales - one at a time. (I know I'm not the only one!)

And ZachsMind is back!
The mousemat is nice, but considering I have already preordered the tin version and am considering trying to get the 'signed' version for the slipcase (and pass on the dvd to convert someone else), I think I may have to say the buck stops here :)
I tend to think that Video Business Online might be more accurate since at the bottom of their sales chart it notes that figures come directly from retailers and suppliers whereas the main link on this post is to Hollywood Reporter which gets their figures from Video Scan. My thinking is that figures directly from the retailers and suppliers should be more accurate than figures from a middleman type source. Either way, we have no real way of knowing what true sales figures are since they are closely guarded by Universal.

On a side note, Serenity is now 20th and Firefly 24th on Amazon. Not great news but I guess they had to drop at some point.

[ edited by haven on 2006-02-02 04:40 ]
So many choices! I still don't know which one to get, the mouse pad, tin case or signed cover slip. hmmm... If only I had money enough for them all. (I am really enjoying having all this Serenity love in our direction!)
Getting everyone's schedules together? That's kinda strange excuse, isn't it? In the Alien commentaries that came out with that special edition series of all the films a few years ago, it was obvious that what occurred was several different sessions were recorded with different talents. Sigorney Weaver was with the director I think, and then there were times when supporting performers chimed in, but it was obvious to me that when the other guys were talking about the movies, Weaver wasn't in the room with all of them. Like multiple conversations going on simultaneously and someone painstakingly edited the best stuff into one continuous audio recording, making it sound fluid and cohesive, but really it was multiple sessions.

Ideally, you'd want an audio commentary where Joss talks by himself. We already got that. Joss wouldn't need to be in this second commentary (tho of course people would wanna hear him I know). I'm trying to think economy of time here and content value.

For a second commentary with a full cast and crew kinda thing you'd want multiple sessions of recordings to then distill down into one that's released to the public on a special edition DVD.

You'd want one session where Ron Glass talks by himself, because 1) he's the closest thing to a mainstream talent name this show has, 2) I fear he'd get trampled on by other talent in the room whereas if you give him the mike by himself he'll really shine, and 3) he laughs a LOT and you'll want to save some of those laughs but not all of them.

Also, Glass says gems but not consistently. You'll want to use him sparingly, predominantly in the moments when he's actually on screen.

Likewise you wouldn't need to have Tudyk talking throughout, because he's hilarious but too much of him for the whole film would weigh the commentary down, so you'd want to try and group the other players in such a way as to have them interacting (either 'live' in studio or by subtle editing) during each given scene.

The Operative pretty much interacts only directly with Inara and Mal. So you'd want to either have Chiwetel Ejiofor record his thoughts separately and intersperse him with a separate recording of Nathan and Morena together in the studio, or it might be nice to have one recording session with the three of them together sharing memories. Even having Chiwetel Ejiofor talk when not on screen about what it was like to come into this cast as an outsider.

Gina Torres, Alan Baldwin and Alan Tudyk would need to be in a session together, because they're both improvisational, funny and bounce off each other very well. I'd add either David Krumholtz or Michael Hitchcock in that mix perhaps just because they too are funny and improvisational, but all those guys in the same room probably wouldn't stay on topic. They'd start riffing and goodness knows where they'd end up. You'd also want Hitchcock and Krumholtz to talk mostly only about their moments on screen so maybe record them separately and intersperse them with subtle editing. Or let them be in the room but direct them to curtail their interaction when not on the screen. This would get tricky tho. Probably best to record them separately and edit their thoughts in.

Sean Maher, Jewel Staite, and Summer Glau should be in a recording session together because the three of them share a chunk of the plot arc.

In scenes like where Mal & River face off and during River's first big fight scene, you'd have to intersperse Nathan and Summer's comments. Perhaps do yet another recording session with just Nathan and Summer viewing pivotal scenes, but let's face it by this point we're really getting into production costs and tho audio commentary is cheaper than actual production of a film, it's not cost effective to get this involved for a second printing of a DVD with only nominally successful sales. Especially since we're probably talking about having to pay each participant for their time. This is really gonna start racking up the costs.

My point is if you get all these people in the same room and have them all talk at the same time for just one screening? The end result might be entertaining to we browncoats, but not very professional sounding and in the end rather bleak and perhaps not even listenable to non-diehards. Your on air talent won't stay on topic with more than three or four at the mics at a time. They'll fight for mike time. It'll be impossible for post production to make it sound as good as careful multiple recordings seamlessly mixed into one. However, you simultaneously can't do a separate recording for each player, because then you won't get that magical social interaction that makes many commentaries incredibly fun.

The commentaries for The Incredibles are a good example. There's two. One has about a dozen of the principle animators talking, in multiple sessions but not all together. They're in groups of three or four and the final mix makes it sound like they're all in the room together when they're really not. Then the second one is just Brad Bird talking the whole time with one other guy in the room. The latter is a struggle to listen to cuz it's mostly just Brad kissing asses and saying it's impossible to name every person involved and how wonderful they all were, then he goes on for an hour doing just that. Whereas the other one has this fluidity to it and a wealth of very interesting information about just what it takes to make a masterpiece like that.

...

OH! And you'd want a full separate commentary of just Yan and Rafael Feldman doing Christopher Walken impersonations in reaction to whatever's on screen.
I'm with you on the Walken impressions :)
If somebody would pick up the R4 Serenity DVD release for me, I'd be happy to pay them back with my PayPal account ;-)
The trouble with ZachsMind is that his ideas are so vague. If only he wrote what he was really thinking! ;-)
In terms of creativity, kudos to the Australian Universal team, who have been and are doing an excellent job. Thumbs up also to the UK team, the overhead ads at Angel tube station were bloody amazing.

US team, err, not so much.

Waves to Zachsmind. Nice to have you back. Wherever you have been hiding, I hope it involved the love of a good woman :)
Just for information, the commentary for the DVD (ie Joss' current commentary) was recorded before the film was released - so some members of the cast were probably in Europe at the time, and others had acting jobs and such.
Interesting, I've never heard them referred to as mousemats, always as mousepads. I love how I'm always learning new things about linguistics on this site.
Ah, ZachsMind and his epic posts. Brings back old times...
For a second commentary with a full cast and crew kinda thing you'd want multiple sessions of recordings to then distill down into one that's released to the public on a special edition DVD.

I've heard commentaries done that way and it gives people more insight to the movie, but at they don't have the same energy and humor when people are in the same room. Together people can respond to other people's comments and sometimes joke around about things and these types of commentaries are generally more fun. Also they tend to be the commentaries that I am more likely to listen to again and again. The ones that provide insight into the movie are interesting, but once I've learned those things I'm not interested in hearing them again, while large group ones tend to be more entertaining given the right people. Example, a lot of Kevin Smith's audio commentaries can be quite funny and entertaining. There was one of them, I think it was for Dogma, that Kevin Smith and the cast went so overboard joking around that Smith made a second commentary just by himself and the producer because he didn't feel the first commentary gave enough insight into the movie and was too much him joking around with the cast.

In a perfect world, I would want both, but given one or the other for Serenity I would go for the one where they are all together in the same room. Especially since the commentary with Joss Whedon already gives plenty of cool insight into the movie. As for it just appealing to more of the hardcore fans, I figure that most of the people buying a 2-disk special edition version are the hardcore fans so I don't think it's a problem. Also I'm not sure which would appeal to more people, an audio commentary that gives you more insight into the movie, or one where people are joking around and is more entertaining.

Still in the end I would be happy with whatever kind of additional commentary that they did with the cast.
I want the insight!! Joking around is fun, but then I find myself getting frustrated because there are things happening in the movie that I want them to comment on and they are in their own little world. I listen to the commentaries for the insight first and actor interaction second. I love Joss's solo commentaries, he offers great insight.

But I do agree, a cast commentary would be a great compliment to Joss's commentary. Since I have all that insight it would be great to listen to the actors talking about the movie from their point of view.

I just realized, I havn't even watched the movie yet. I got the DVD the day it came out and watched all the special features and then I watched the movie with the commentary on...but I havn't watched it without the commentary...I think I know what I need to do this weekend!

[ edited by Jinxieman on 2006-02-02 21:14 ]
I sure hope the Brit release gets as many shiny goodies as the Ozzie release has - I want shiny goodies!
Miranda: "I hope it involved the love of a good woman :)"

In this economy? Nope. Can't afford any womanizing. I won't be able to date again until the Democrats regain control.
I hear you, brohter. But personally, I blame the Trilateral Commission.

[ edited by bobster on 2006-02-03 06:35 ]

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