01. October 2005 · Comments Off on Serenity Benchmarks · Categories: That's Entertainment!

I’m still waiting anxiously for the overnight box office numbers (currently watching Cal skunk Arizona). At the same time, I recognize that they are likely to be inflated by the flood of Browncoaters, who have been waiting, breathlessly, for this for three years.

Movie pundits (who have largely called this a “niche” film), are predicting $14-16 million for the weekend (still the top-pick, but against some sorry competition). I’m setting my sights somewhat higher. I think, beyond the Browncoaters, and the watercooler SciFi fans, there will be a huge turnout of Buffy/Angel fans, who know little-or-nothing of Firefly, but just want to see Whedon’s feature film directorial debut (Not the least of which is ’cause, word is, River does Buffy better ‘n Buffy – ta ma duh.).

But the benchmarks on the web, which seems to have been instigated by David Mumpower at Box Office Prophets, is $30 million and $84 million – the first weekend gross, and domestic run gross for X-Files: Fear the FutureX-Files being the series Firefly was supposed to have replaced at Fox.

I’m a bit skeptical about the 30mil weekend number, but not so much about the 84mil total. Because, while Firefly (like X-Files) has a VERY dedicated core fanbase, Whedon’s Buffy/Angel/Firefly are popular, but Carter’s X-Files was a phenomenon, sort of like the Reagan Democrats 🙂 . On the first weekend (and somewhat beyond that for a Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter movie), you are going on your hype. Past that, you are going on your chops. And while, by all reviews I’ve read, save for one idiot from South Korea, Serenity certainly has the chops. I can’t say the same for the X-Files movie.

There’s one other thing to consider: Think “Blair Witch Project” – the X-Files movie was a $66 million production – Serenity $40 million. Now, any domestic box office better than break-even has Hollywood happy (You make you real money on the back-end – think Cleopatra or The Wizard of Oz.). But 27% (84/66) still doesn’t have them dancing Forty Deuce. Better than double-your-money does.

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