Direct to DVD

It seems that Babylon 5 creator Joe Straczynski will be making some D2DVD stories set in the B5 Universe.

Aint It Cool and Jan report on the announcement at Comic-Con.

Interestingly, neither Variety or The Hollywood Reporter have picked up on this story at the time of posting.

Some interesting points:

1) I listed Straczynski in the second tier of showrunners, those who couldn’t greenlight a D2DVD show on their own. Obviously that judgement was wrong.

The original prediction was made before the announcement of his huge spec sale to Imagine. Still, a bit of a boo-boo on my part.

2) The franchise already exists. Unlike my speculative D2DVD series, we already have pent-up demand for this – and figures to back it up. Specifically half-a-billion dollars in DVD sales. (source: the AICN report)

3) The commission is for 3 half-hours. Three half-hours plus extra features fits rather neatly on one DVD. You could even think of this as being three-pilots-in-one. So they’ve gone for a vanilla-releases model to see if the market will hold up.

Good choice.

A lot of people will be watching the progress of this with interest.

If the financial model works out, we can expect to see a lot more D2DVD series. My prediction, though, is that the other studios will wait and see how this does financially before committing to any D2DVD content themselves.

6 Replies to “Direct to DVD”

  1. Good news for sure, and well worth keeping an eye on. I only hope these are better than Thirdspace, River of Souls, Crusade and Legend of the Rangers.

    In other 3GM news, Warners (or The CW, or whatever the fuck they’re these days) have put the pilot of the uncommisioned Aquaman series up on iTunes (for Americans only). Could be a new way of selecting which pilots go to series in the future (c.f. Nobody’s Watching)

  2. What other post?

    [Airbrushes Trotsky from history…]

    Ian’s original comment:

    Hmmm I’d take that “$500 million” with a pinch of salt as wide as the grand canyon.

    To give an idea of the overall DVD market, I seem to remember that the best selling single DVD of all time (Finding Nemo) sold 21 million discs worldwide (and counting, of course). At $30 a pop, that would mean total revenues of $630 million, minus retail sales cut and taxes. The idea that a genre show that never got a big audience gets within spitting distance of the most successful film ever made doesn’t really add up, no matter how devoted the fan base.

    My guess is that Strynzzkziziziziziski – a man not known for underplaying his own value – is lumping together DVD + VHS + reruns + merch. But even then… given that the VHS reissues were never completed as they didn’t sell well… I can’t see it.

    I’d file it under “Shit that someone’s made up” :)

  3. The “500 million in DVD sales” line on AICN is a paraphrase rather than a direct quote. I can buy that B5 has raked in $500m since 1993, but that may not be JMS saying it’s all in DVD sales. And now that WB have found another way of milking it by sticking S1 on iTunes, I expect that figure will keep growning.

    And I had a complete collection of B5 on VHS. I gave it to my brother as the DVDs came out. Yes, I’ve bought the entire series twice.

  4. Course, what you’re forgetting is that Finding Nemo is one disc retailing at $30, while B5 is five box sets retailing at $45 each.

    Plus Crusade at $50

    Plus five TV movies at $15

    And B5 box sets have been available on DVD since 1994, vs Finding Nemo since 2004 – five times as long.

    Adding those facts together, I don’t find the $500 million figure unbelievable at all.

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