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Devin's Requiem
#71
HOWDY JOSS, my reply to Joss Whedon

http://chud.com/news/4590
#72
Quote:

Originally Posted by Werbal_Kint

Or the internet banner ads that said "Millions of fans can't be wrong."

Apparently they were.

Frankly, two things turned me off to Serenity (I saw Corpse Bride instead). First the ads were a pretty transparent attempt at misleading advertising. The full page ad in the NYT spoke grandiosely about this "phenomenon" where thousands of "paying" people drove "hours" to see the film. Of course they failed to mention these people were Browncoats. Which leads to my other issue..the term "browncoats". I realize it's from a plot point, but the term is a bit too uneasily similar to "Brownshirts" for me.
#73
Where's the proof for this "middle America didn't see the ads" theory? I guess you could say I'm in "Middle America" and I've seen ads all over the place.
#74
Quote:

Originally Posted by Agent Helix

Here's how it works. I wasn't a huge fan of Firefly. I thought most of it was mediocre, with some good flashes here and there. I MIGHT have been interested in the movie. Have you ever had a friend who was really into something that you weren't all that hot on? And they just wouldn't shut up about it? The more they yammered on, the more impassioned and indignant they got, the more the flaws you already perceived in the product got bigger and more visible. That's how it is with Firefly. The more someone like Anya attacks people here at CHUD, or the more Woodward treats every word that falls from Joss Whedon's mouth like the Gospel, the more ninnies like that come forth to proclaim from on high how great it is and how you're stupid if you don't like it, the more people like me, on the fringe who could've been swayed one way or the other, start to just think, "Y'know, if THESE people are really into it, it's probably not something I want to waste my money on." It's as simple as that. The rabid fan-base IS a turnoff to fence-sitters like myself. I wasn't out there proclaiming that Firefly sucks at every opportunity, I just wasn't into it. But I am into movies about spaceships. So chances are, if left to my own devices, I would've gone to see Serenity. Maybe not opening day, but I probably would've checked out a matinee. But my experience was already soiled. Before one frame of film was shown, I already had a bad taste in my mouth. That's what happens. It's not that difficult a concept to grasp. It doesn't make me superior or inferior. It just makes me not interested in seeing a movie anymore.

My thoughts exactly. Also, I wouldn't even want to be in the same room as those people. Yes, I am that petty.
#75
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dalyn

I do think Ain_grr did raise a valid argument. Why would someone not watch something because of it's fanbase? I can kind of understand not wanting to be associated with the fanbase, but really, they dont take your name and number when you buy a ticket and list you online as a "Browncoat". It makes even less sense to me if you watched Firefly and liked it. If you were a big fan of Lost, would you quit watching because of the "Losties". Probably not. Because it's a good show (debatable). Or is it because you feel safe in knowing millions of others watch it, and have no association with "Losties". I don't know. That whole arguement just seems weird to me.

You apparently aren't very aware of mainstream mentality. The majority doesn't want to take the time to think for themselves. They want to know what movie is "hot". They want to see what movie everyone else likes so they can talk about it with their friends. On the flip side...if something is identified as "not cool" they will stay away in droves. A movie's fandom (IE Star Trek) can do that. I'm sure we have a resident sociologist who can apply the proper terms.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aine

Furthermore advertising in middle-American was limited for Serenity. This is a valid and reasonable observation.

No it isn't. I saw advertising on a diverse group of stations...at different time slots no less.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Davis

You know what's funny? I just re-read Devin's missive, and the majority of it the piece expresses disappointment and confusion as to why it failed (relatively speaking). It's certainly not a "hate bomb" (except perhaps in relation to all the love Whedon has previously received on the site), and the knee-jerk response from die-hard fans is pretty telling.

Ex-frikken-actly
#76
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dave Davis

You know what's funny? I just re-read Devin's missive, and the majority of it the piece expresses disappointment and confusion as to why it failed (relatively speaking). It's certainly not a "hate bomb" (except perhaps in relation to all the love Whedon has previously received on the site), and the knee-jerk response from die-hard fans is pretty telling.

There are reasonable points in his requiem, but the fan stuff is just self-congratulatory writing. I don't know why it is so important to defend Devin he has clearly shown through the years that he can handle the criticism.

It is completely telling that those that belong to the "hate browncoats club" you are more invested in your opinion than on attempting to objectively view this subject. And that the best argument I can see anyone write is "you rabid fan you proved my point".

This line of reasoning...is just so empty it is pathetic.
#77
Quote:

Originally Posted by aine_grrr

My point exactly...middle American did not see these advertisements.

Oh yes... because those people don't receive BASIC CABLE. The ads were plastered throughout every major network for weeks. And I could tell that from fast forwarding through commercial breaks on my TiVo.
#78
You rabid fan, you proved my point.
#79
Quote:

Originally Posted by devincf

HOWDY JOSS, my reply to Joss Whedon

http://chud.com/news/4590

I still don't agree that zealous fans had more than a negligible limiting effect on the box office, but that was a well-written and civil response, Dev.

And when you put the "fatigue" in those terms ("It felt like a movie that had already happened"Wink, it makes a little more sense.
#80
Today...today they are Frowncoats.
#81
Quote:

Originally Posted by aine_grrr

And that the best argument I can see anyone write is "you rabid fan you proved my point".

It's because your continuous efforts to undermine Devin is proving our point. Ah fuck, Helix beat me to it.
#82
And Matchstick just makes the thread awesome.
#83
Didn't Devin quite like the picture and profess that meeting Whedon during an interview was a journalistic highlight for him ? Why would he have a real, genuine beef with something he quite liked ? It's an objective, realistic - perhaps harsh - observation of one person relatively close to the scene based on some pretty solid primary evidence.

Perspective ? Not so much.

Also, to break even, a $39m picture doesn't have to make $39m. Since the exhibitors take a huge chunk of change from grosses, a picture will have to make about double that (depending on the studio's take) to make any money back - a fact which folk who blithely bandy numbers about like their insiders still don't seem to get.

Can someone tell me - as a non sci-fi nerd - why the coats are brown ?
#84
I just wanted to reign in for a quick sec and say that I am/was a fan of the show. Thought it was funny and entertaining. I looked forward to the movie coming out when I first heard about it. Well, Friday came and what did I end up going to see? Corpse Bride. Why? My wife and I never saw it. That simple. I hit CHUD and AICN everyday and have never noticed any "Browncoats", but from time to time I did see people vigorously (sp?) defending Whedon as if their lives depended on it. I love all his shows, but I still didn't go check out the movie. I mentioned it to my wife a while back and she said she thought the show was stupid. I slowly got her to come around to checking out the movie until she saw an ad early Friday morning for the movie and said "it looks stupid!" I was with her at the time and had to agree. The ads for the movie have been horrible to say the least. I include myself in the sci-fi fan community that didn't turn out for the movie. The ads almost make a person embarressed to say they are a fan of the show. I think that the movie may last for a while on word of mouth and recoup some of its money back. Plus the DVD sales should overall help with everything, but I really doubt there will be a sequal.
#85
"As for the idea that I don’t like the very concept of the Browncoats – guilty as charged! I don’t like any self-identifying pop-cultural group."

Oh...like say CHUD.
#86
CHUD is a website, you slavering troglodyte.
#87
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dan Whitehead

If even a fraction of the Star Wars fanbase, or the Trek fanbase, had supported the movie out of a general fondness for space-faring adventure, then the box office would have been better. But it wasn't, so therefore they didn't. Why? Because, unlike the mainstream audience, there's clearly something about being seen as a "Firefly fan" that has kept them away.

I wouldn't leap to that conclusion too quickly. I think a bigger factor is that, beyond the hardcore Browncoats, genre fans just didn't like Firefly all that much and didn't feel the need to go see what, from all advertising, looks like a two-hour reunion episode. And your mainstream audiences won't embrace sci-fi unless there's a "Wars" or "Trek" in the title (and I don't put super-hero films in with sci-fi, by the way), no matter how much of a phenomenon they're told it is. I enjoyed Firefly on DVD, but not enough to pay the eight or nine dollars to go see Serenity this weekend. Give me a two-hour telefilm on Fox or FX or Sci-Fi, and I'd be more than willing to take a look, and I'm willing to bet more people would have watched than went to theaters this weekend.

I don't think the actions of the fanbase figured nearly as much as the quality and perception of the product.
#88
Quote:

Originally Posted by aine_grrr

"As for the idea that I don’t like the very concept of the Browncoats – guilty as charged! I don’t like any self-identifying pop-cultural group."

Oh...like say CHUD.

Don't confuse a sub-culture group and an intellectual membership group.
#89
Quote:

Originally Posted by kingcujoI

Don't confuse a sub-culture group and an intellectual membership group.

That and the fact we're referred to as Chewers, as many in the past have completely gotten wrong.
#90
Really good response on your part Devin. I think you cleared up any misgivings I had about your previous article. I can't even begin to imagine how bizarre of a situation this is for you right now.
#91
I am certain that most people on CHUD would agree on my take that going after the fans is not only silly it is full of self-satisfied contradiction. That's what happens when people get so tied to an argument that they believe it is true just because they say it is true. The price to pay for a bit of lost pride is worth more than admitting that hating of fans is just plain empty as an argument.

So the big boys feel they need to defend Devin or defend the hate of browncoats...fine. I for one am not afraid to stand up and say that there is some pretty big hypocrisy going on here among the franchised of this group.
#92
Quote:

Originally Posted by Richard Dickson

And your mainstream audiences won't embrace sci-fi unless there's a "Wars" or "Trek" in the title (and I don't put super-hero films in with sci-fi, by the way), no matter how much of a phenomenon they're told it is.

You mean besides ALIENS VS PREDATOR, THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, I, ROBOT, THE MATRIX et al?

Actually, I'd argue the mainstream would rather embrace most randomly named sci-fi movies than Star Trek, which still has the stigma and has long since been a money puller the way it was before.
#93
Yeah, I'll buy the idea that some people in the geek community got turned off by the rabids, but I can't believe that it was a number signifigant enough to cost 5 or 10 million at the box office. It is interesting to look at movies like Serenity, Hellboy, Sky Captain, etc., these lesser geek movies, and try to figure out what made each one more or less of a financial success. Hellboy certainly had more of a visual hook than Serenity had.
#94
It is really strange. Aine_grr comes on here to make a post disagreeing with one of Devin's points, and then all these people try to squish him into some predefined WhedonFREAK container.

Yeah, there are some really freakish Firefly fans. But that is true for just about all the other fanbases out there too. How many weird Firefly fans post frequently on CHUD? Two. Anya and Woodward. And the same people that complain endlessly about the fan base are more than willing to tirelessly egg these people on into posting more and more stuff. Is it some strange psychosis that makes people post about something they don't like in hopes of generating a response they will like even less?

The fact is that Aine_grr raised a valid point and then was piled on by a bunch of people who were more interested in insulting him then trying to have a thoughtful discussion. The argument that the WhedonFREAKs are sizeable enough or loud enough to have any appreciable effect on the box office is not tenable.

The film wasn't well marketed, didn't feature any big names, had a terrible title, and regardless of all that maybe wouldn't have appealed to a wide audience anyway. The reason for the weak box office isn't anger or annoyance, its apathy and complete lack of awareness.
#95
First off: all this Serenity debate must be putting a strain on the CHUD servers, because everything is taking forever to load, and I can't even get onto the front page.

Secondly, and I'm not sure if this has been mentioned, but I think part of the animosity towards 'Browncoats' within even genre circles is because, in addition to be rabidly devout to their show to the point of annoyance, they're also the first fan base that I know of that has essientially been bought by Universal to do their handy work. Remember the "raise awareness for Serenity, get free Serenity prizes!" Universal was doing? They were trying to manufacture their own grass-roots campaign, and the entire thing stunk of alterior motivations. How do I know if the person assaulting websites with how much the love Serenity and that we should all go see it is speaking from the heart, or saying it so he can get that cool bumper sticker? It's a major turn off, and it makes the whole thing feel less like a fandom, and more like a cult. And cults are creepy.
#96
Quote:

Originally Posted by donde

I just wanted to reign in for a quick sec and say that I am/was a fan of the show. Thought it was funny and entertaining. I looked forward to the movie coming out when I first heard about it. Well, Friday came and what did I end up going to see? Corpse Bride. Why? My wife and I never saw it. That simple. I hit CHUD and AICN everyday and have never noticed any "Browncoats", but from time to time I did see people vigorously (sp?) defending Whedon as if their lives depended on it. I love all his shows, but I still didn't go check out the movie. I mentioned it to my wife a while back and she said she thought the show was stupid. I slowly got her to come around to checking out the movie until she saw an ad early Friday morning for the movie and said "it looks stupid!" I was with her at the time and had to agree. The ads for the movie have been horrible to say the least. I include myself in the sci-fi fan community that didn't turn out for the movie. The ads almost make a person embarressed to say they are a fan of the show. I think that the movie may last for a while on word of mouth and recoup some of its money back. Plus the DVD sales should overall help with everything, but I really doubt there will be a sequal.

I couldn't agree more, the trailers are awful. They make the movie look like a cheesy Spaceballs rip-off...after seeing the movie my first thoughts: what moron thought this trailer was an indication of this movie. Trust me when I say the movie is far better than what the adds are showing, one of the better sci-films to come out since Pitch Black. It's far more entertaining than Flightplan(I can't believe I wasted my money on that crap), I can see why the critics are digging the flick so much. Also I really liked History of Violence, a great cast but the movie just fell flat at times.

Reading through some of these posts, it's clear that a few rabid fans may have pushed away some people from seeing the movie, but the movie only fell 2 million short of Flight Plan, which played in over 1200 more theatres than Serenity. If a couple of rabid fans can put you off from seeing a movie that you might otherwise want to see, it makes me wonder how easily you can be influenced by the opinions of others. I find Star Wars fans who declare George Lucas the god of Sci-Fi to be complete morons and yet that did not stop me from sitting through 3 of the worst movies ever made. Same could be said for the rabid Matrix or LOTR fans. Fandom is something that in general is always annoying and questionable to it's merrit, but should that be enough of a reason to keep you out of the theatre. It's obviously not keeping you away from the threads with those said rabid fans.
#97
Quote:

Originally Posted by kingcujoI

Don't confuse a sub-culture group and an intellectual membership group.

You have provided the best laugh of the day. It makes you feel more superior to know that what you do as a sub-culture group is more important and significant than what others do.

Good laugh...more responses like this will only serve to make this day better.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Agent Helix

CHUD is a website, you slavering troglodyte.

You are a sad little soul. CHUD is just as much a sub-culture as anything else...just because you belong doesn't make it more worthy than any other sub-culture. If CHUD was just a website we would not have invested so much of our day trading insults and hopefully a few ideas along the way. Embrace the wackiness of being a freak that likes CHUD you little sub-culture elitist.
#98
A couple of things:

- I'm not defending Devin, other than to say he's entitled to his opinion, and CHUD is his forum to express it.

- I'm probably as big a Whedon fan as Devin, probably moreso in regards to Firefly as I'm very much into Westerns, and I was satisfied with the film despite its shortcomings. I'm not a fan of anything enough to label myself part of its fanbase though, and while I would express that differently from the way Devin did, I can agree with the sentiment.

Do I know why it failed? My instinct says it's the horrible choice for opening weekend, but it's any number of factors. Devin thinks it's in part due to the studio trying to sell audiences on the fanbase (at no point have I used the term "rabid"Wink, but the truth is none of us really know because it's unquantifiable.
#99
One of the Frowncoats (TM by Matchstick) concluded his post by saying Devin must be impotent.

I can only imagine the hatred via e-mails he's received this morning.
As someone who's a huge fan of Firefly and Serenity, I want to say...I find myself torn.

When I heard that Serenity only opened to ten million, I was crushed. Literally, I went into denial. I kept thinking to myself, "Oh, this isn't bad. What matters is that this is a movie that has legs, right? It'll make more money on the second weekend!" Of course, that little voice in the back of my head that said "You must've accidentially inhaled something if you really think that that's true" was there to keep me in check.

Reading your piece, Devin, made me angry. Not because you blamed the fans; hell, I KNOW you didn't blame the fans. All you did was point out militant Browncoats who turned off potential fans. (Yeah, guys, there IS such a thing as coming on too strong. I should know; I've walked that line many, many times.) The reason I was so upset was because I was looking foward to hearing all the doubters and the nay-sayers eat their words, and now, that was not going to happen. Doesn't matter if they wanted to or not, those guys were going to have their day.

To go off on a tangent, let me just restate the obvious because it bears restating. Inthe Fireflyverse, a "browncoat" is a soldier that fought for the right to be, well, free. They lost. And since that loss, they've been repeatedly kicked to the ground, pissed and shit on, and left for dead. And they keep...coming back...for more. Why try when it almost seems written in the stars that they can never win?

Because their faith in what they know in their hearts to be true is too strong. I don't point this out as a positive or a negative. Just as a fact. Because anybody who's ever lost a promotion to someone younger but less talented, anybody who's ever tried for a girl that was way out of his league, anybody who's ever dealt with an insane teacher or administrator, anybody who ever tried shooting an independent feature, to sum up, anybody who has ever felt powerless knows what it is to be a Browncoat. And so many people identify with that so strongly, that Serenity, for them...for me, became their salvation. Finally, the powerless get their day! We're going to take Hollywood by storm and change the way people look at movies!

:Confusedhakes head::

I don't defend those who were militant about getting people to see this movie, bugging people every five minutes, launching into unintelligible diatrabes about how Firefly is the greatest TV show ever and you're an idiot for not seeing it, etc. etc. But can the non-fans at least understand where we're coming from, here? Can you, Devin, understand where this backlash against you is coming from? We thought we were finally going to get our day in the sun, but just like it was written in the stars, we lose again. (And Joss, I love your work in the most non-stalkerish, non-homosexual way a man can love another man...'s work, but it's gonna take a miracle to beat out Wallace and Gromit and The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. I know I'm taking my parents to see Serenity next weekend, what about everyone else?)

Again, I'm not saying you're taking much pride in being on the money. As a matter of fact, I applaud you for the article you wrote. You may not have said what we wanted to hear, but you said plenty of what we needed to hear. And I heeded your advice. I took a look at myself in the mirror. And you know what I asked myself?

Why the fuck do I give two shits about how much money a movie made?

You know what happened when I went to see Serenity on Friday afternoon? I paid for two tickets, one for myself and one for my cousin (who had never seen the series, save for bits and pieces that didn't quite gel with him). I took a seat in a theater that was 1/4 full. My cousin joined me a few minutes later with the popcorn. After the trailers, Serenity proceeded to whup the audience's collective asses for the next two hours. After the credits rolled, we walked out in a daze, and got interviewed about the movie for the local news. On the ride home, a serene smile crept across my face because the entire audience that I was with was probably feeling the same thing I felt - that Serenity is why we go to the movies.

And for comparison, I went to see Into the Blue the next day, mainly because I loved what John Stockwell did with Cheaters and crazy/beautiful. It was just like one would expect; pretty people, pretty locations, not much else to back it up. What story there was was disjointed because there seemed to be no logic behind what the characters were doing. And to make matters worse, when a major character died, I ended up laughing on the inside.

Point is, not ONCE did the box office totals play a role in my weekend, save for the depression I had on Sunday afternoon when I realized that while Serenity beat out all the new releases, it couldn't stop Flightplan. (And thanks, Dave, for not making the subheadline for your weekend box office report "Jodie Foster stops the signal", as funny as that might have been.)

I think what I'm worried about most is Joss ending up in director's jail when really, he has no right to. Even if it's as flawed as some people say (and I was SPOILED for the movie, folks - those flaws didn't come out for me). Of course, his fanbase is too strong and I KNOW we haven't heard the last of him; if anything, he'll retreat back to TV. (I read in an interview that he came up with an idea for a procedural, of all things. I'd give my left nut to hear that pitch.) But what does that mean? Wonder Woman might be cool to see but I can live without it. Goners, though...it might sound like it's in a similar genre to Buffy, but I have faith in Whedon to come up with something completely different and extremely entertaining. If he gets the chance to.

But you know what? As cool as it would be to see a sequel (although that means yet another chance to kill off Kaylee...damn you, Whedon!), I don't need it. I can live with what was given to me, and as long as I live, I'm going to be recommending Serenity to whoever I can, hocking out my DVD to my film-school friends just so they know that no, not everything that comes out of Hollywood is crap. Heck, I'll show it to my niece when she's of age, and I'll say "This is what your Uncle Mike believes movies can be. This is why he wants to make them one day." And no matter what the public at large says, nothing's going to change how I feel.

Good luck facing the rest of the backlash, Dev. And best of miracles to Joss and company next weekend. No matter what, I'm content.

And P.S. - I guess I can't really call myself a Browncoat if I'm just content with what I have, but I promise you, I'd love to get more. I'm gonna keep fighting, no doubt, but I'm gonna do it on my own terms and not anyone else's, because there's no other way it can work for me.
I am loathe to say this since Helix already did, but it bears repeating because folks like Aine seem to need repetitous reinforcement to understand our argument-
We garden variety scifi fans didn't skip Serenity this weekend as a way to spitefully stick it to Browncoats. We were legitimately burned out on a movie we haven't seen because of the non-stop canvassing from the Browncoats.
Wow, no one is going to read all that.
Whether you agree with him or not, you do have to admit it's pretty neat that Joss would come out and stand behind his fans all because of the words of one internet critic.

Personally, I don't think the fanbase had anything to do with the numbers. If the property is too out of the mainstream for people to pick up on it, then the nature of the fans must be as well. No one was going "Hmmm...I'd really like to see this 'Serenity' movie but those 'browncoats' really irritate me. I think I'll see Flightplan instead," And as is my experience with sci-fi fans, they tend to remain loyal to their particular side of sci-fi. Trekkies don't go nuts for Farscape, Babylon 5 fans don't wet themselves with glee at the promise of a Battlestar Galactica mini-series. So even if browncoats were more amicable, I don't think other sci-fi fans would have warmed to the film purely on the basis of it's genre.

Are browncoats irritating? Depends on the "browncoat". Some may not even define themself as such. I know a lot of Firefly fans and no one calls themself a "browncoat" just as I know a lot of Lost fans and no one calls themself a "lostie". I agree that Whedonites can sometimes fall alongside any hardcore fanbase in terms of how annyoning they can be, but I don't think that Universal's marketing was the least of the film's problems. I think it was the biggest liability. I would love to put a cool Serenity poster in my room and unforunately one doesn't exist. The trailers were passable but they could have been more effective.

I could care less about box office for this film and this has always been my stand. If it did well at the box office: great. If not, I don't care. All I wanted was a good film and I got it. I also got a good sense of resolution so it's not like I need the series to come back on the air or more sequels. But that's just me.

As a footnote, we should add a little money to the film's total because unlike regular early-screenings, fans actually had to pay money to see the film early. I'm not saying this is a huge amount of revenue, but all the showings sold out. Probably $500,000 total for the sixty full-price showings.
Quote:

Originally Posted by aine_grrr

I see probably 5 to 6 movies a week. I did not see even one Serenity trailer.

I work at a theater as a projectionist. Serenity was a mandated trailer on at least 6-9 prints out of the 20 theaters on any given day. It was actually the attached trailer to 40 year Old Virgin.
So there's that.


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