The past few years have provided several interesting twists and turns in the impact that DVD has had on Hollywood studios. The digital format has been rewriting the rules about how financially successful a studio property may be considered and what franchises may receive extended life based on their continued profitablity.
Case in point – writer/producer Joss Whedon’s television series Firefly. Although it attracted a fiercely loyal fan base, it wasn’t enough to give it the western flavored science-fiction series the ratings to last more than half a season on the FOX network. Of course, it didn’t help that FOX aired episodes out of order, destroying the continuing storylines built into the show. When the series was released on DVD it sold so far above expectations that Universal Pictures ordered up a silver screen spinoff titled Serenity. Unfortunately, Serenity underperformed (to put it charitably) at the box office and it looked like there would be no more excursions into Whedon’s wild and woolly universe.
But it appears that history may be repeating itself, at least according to an interview with Firefly/Serenity star Alan Tudyk at Moviehole. It seems that sales of the recently released Serenity: Special Edition DVD have been much better than expected and there is some buzz about possibly reuniting the cast and crew for another feature.
“They had to put [the new Special Edition DVD] out because they’ve been selling out of the [originally released] one and so Universal’s like ‘So, let’s do another one’. And now… there’s now a chance there’s going to be another movie… Everybody in the Firefly crew – and that includes the ones who died in the movie – are excited about the prospect of doing another.”
It is unclear whether the production will be another theatrical movie or if it will go direct to DVD. In fact, it could just be some pie-in-the-sky dreaming on the part of all involved. But then again, no one expected a cancelled TV show like Family Guy to get renewed two years later based on the strength of its DVD season set sales. With TV shows like Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1 and Futurama making the move to direct-to-DVD releases and studios cranking out direct-to-DVD sequels to everything from American Pie to WarGames, it doesn’t seem so inconceivable that Whedon and company could be taking us on another trip aboard the Serenity in the future.