For those of you who have never heard of Serenity, it’s the spectacular sci-fi film by Joss Whedon (now on video) that follows the television show Firefly.
Unfortunately, even though the critics and the fans loved the movie, it performed poorly at the box office (despite my early predictions that it would do well).
Cinema Blend reports, “Serenity was a massive flop in theaters, but could big DVD sales for the box office bombed film be enough to resurrect the franchise? Alan Tudyk thinks so and he’s excited about it, even if his character is dead. … With the film’s box office numbers as bad as they were, it might make sense for the studio to push a sequel out the door as a direct-to-DVD sequel.”
I think the studio should consider the possibility that a sequel could do far better at the box office. The sequel will build on the success of the first movie. More people will have heard about it. And, if the studio is smart, it will market the sequel far better than it marketed the first movie. (I discussed some of the marketing problems previously.) Here are my recommendations for the studio:
1. Take advantage of the enthusiastic fan base! Sell Serenity shirts, hats, etc. at or near cost so that fans will advertise the movie’s release for you. I never was able to find a licensed shirt to purchase. I loved the pre-screenings. But there have got to be more ways to make it easy for fans to advertise for you.
2. Run competent newspaper ads this time. The print ads for the first movie failed to take advantage of the critical success and other selling points of the movie.
3. Pick a more exciting title. When you go to see, say, Star Wars, you pretty much know what you’re in for. I think the title Serenity, as cool as it was for existing fans, turned off others because it sounds like a movie in which a bunch of old people take a boat out on the lake.
4. Bring back Wash, because we love him, and because, as the article points out, Tudyk is an increasingly successful actor. I know, Wash is dead. But how about a video that Wash left for Zoe? (Now if I can just figure something out for Ron Glass…)
5. Joss planned a trilogy. So film both sequels back-to-back. The up-front cost will be higher, but the cost per movie will be lower, meaning more yummy profits in the end.
6. Re-release the original a week or two before the sequel? Or on TV?
(And now I I see the problem with blogs; it’s 3:00 a.m. But Serenity is worth it!)