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Serenity article in The Dallas Morning News - Priscellie's Livejournal
October 2012
 
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Mon, Jun. 13th, 2005 12:51 pm
Serenity article in The Dallas Morning News

Oooh! There's a fantastic article in the Dallas Morning News about the Serenity screenings! It takes up the full "Arts Day" page, on the back of the "Texas Living" section. All complimentary, and it doesn't portray the fanbase as a bunch of wackoes. And me and my girls are mentioned indirectly, as they mention the group of fans dressed in costume, answering trivia! Read it here (requires registration, but it's free) or behind the LJ cut.

ARTICLE (c) 2005 MANUEL MENDOZA AND THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS. REPRINTED WITHOUT PERMISSION.



Jeni Balch and her husband, Andrew, drove 200 miles to see a movie. Then they did it again.

They're part of a cult, not the dangerous kind, building around failed TV series Firefly for almost three years now.

The movie they traveled from Abilene to Austin to catch, and later Abilene to Dallas, is the show's big-screen offshoot, Serenity. It isn't scheduled for release until September but already has been seen by thousands of "browncoats," as the fans call themselves, during two nights of unusually early sneak previews in May.

"It's great geek bragging rights," Ms. Balch, 24, said from her choice spot at the front of the line outside the AMC Valley View 16. "We could walk down the street and see a movie or make an event out of it. It's fun being part of a community around this."

Serenity is the film-directing debut of Joss Whedon, best known for creating two other cult series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spinoff, Angel. But while those shows lasted years, the space Western Firefly was canceled halfway through its initial season, 2002-03, on Fox.

That should've been the end of it. But the browncoats – named after the show's rebellious heroes, a group of renegades who have turned to thieving for survival after losing a civil war to a fascistic intergalactic empire – wouldn't stop talking about Firefly online. When a DVD release of the show's 11 episodes sold hundreds of thousands of copies, Universal became interested in a film version.

Initially scheduled to come out in April, Serenity was pushed back to make way for Universal's The Interpreter, according to Mr. Whedon, and also to get out of the path of brand-name spring movies, like that more robotic space Western tearing up the box office.

"A lot of young male movies were opening," Mr. Whedon, who also wrote Toy Story and Alien: Resurrection, says by phone. "And even though my movie isn't geared toward any particular age or sex, it's a sci-fi movie, and they're going to be looking for a young male audience."

But with a hyped-up cult chomping at the bit, and the chance to start early word of mouth, Universal decided to sneak-preview Serenity in 10 cities. The screenings sold out instantly, so previews in 20 other cities, including Dallas, were added.

Joel Heires, a Plano designer of cellphone and PDA games, got a ticket through his roommate, who happened to be on an Internet forum when they went on sale.

"He's a huge, huge Buffy-Angel-Firefly fan, anything to do with Joss Whedon," Mr. Heires says. "He knew we'd want to go."

The scene at the Valley View mall was, well, a scene. Before the preview, two women from a publishing company quizzed the lined-up fans, a few dressed like characters from the movie. They gave away copies of a Whedon biography and a book of Firefly essays in exchange for correct answers.

Inside the theater, the atmosphere was similar to a rock concert. The first through the doors scrambled for the best vantage points while exchanging high-fives over their good luck. During the screening, they laughed and gasped in all the right places.

In a filmed message to the audience before the movie began, Mr. Whedon said, "It's your movie. So if it sucks, it's your fault."

Ms. Balch says Serenity caught her eye "because it's a great story that's universally appealing."

Mr. Whedon, who has been tapped by producer Joel Silver to write and direct a movie version of Wonder Woman, says, "It touched people enormously because it's a genre people love, and the thing that has been lacking from it for a while was honest, seat-of-your-pants, knuckle-scraping, gray-area humanity."

Starring a cast of unknowns, could it start a trend toward early sneak previews for films in need of word of mouth?

"Every case is different, but every time something succeeds, somebody else is going to try it," Mr. Whedon says. "The use of the Internet and fan bases and cults has been pioneered by The Matrix and other movies like Blair Witch. This is a new way of dealing with an increasingly vocal and involved public that the Internet has thrust upon us."

Tags: ,
Current Mood: delighted
Current Music: "Everybody Says Don't", Anyone Can Whistle

6CommentReply

cuter_than_you
cuter_than_you
The Bean
Mon, Jun. 13th, 2005 02:20 pm (UTC)

dude. I totally saw inara in a secret commercial. what's up with that???


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thefriendly2x4
thefriendly2x4
Buddha
Mon, Jun. 13th, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)

I saw that article and thought of you.


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ambtiondata
ambtiondata
Clare Littlebit Blue
Mon, Jun. 13th, 2005 04:07 pm (UTC)

More press! Lovely! Thanks for posting.

Also, 20 days!


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ambtiondata
ambtiondata
Clare Littlebit Blue
Mon, Jun. 13th, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC)

No, 10. Smaks self.


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priscellie
priscellie
Glinda the Good: Officially!
Mon, Jun. 13th, 2005 04:12 pm (UTC)

*snorks* I was like, "What's happening July 3rd?"


ReplyThread Parent
ambtiondata
ambtiondata
Clare Littlebit Blue
Mon, Jun. 13th, 2005 08:59 pm (UTC)

It's always nice though to OVERestimate on things like this. Because I thought 20 and then said "oh god, how will I ever wait that long?" 10 was such a relief.


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