Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Why you can't simply buy the rights to 'Xena'

I've been monitoring the Official Lucy Lawless mailing list concerning the recent comments by Rob Tapert concerning the status of the movie (Xena Online: Movie news update). And what is surprising me, is that a number of people want to form a company to one, either buy the rights or two, get somebody famous to buy the rights to sell to Rob so he can make the movie.

I'm afraid, ladies and gentlemen, that's about as futile as you can get. You see, it's not that anyone at Universal doesn't understand 'Xena,' it's that the industry doesn't find a property like 'Xena' money-worthy.

As I've detailed many times before (Xena Online: Xena Movie FAQ #2536, from April 27, 2007), there is a lot of financial reasons (as Rob noted at the NY Con) for Universal not wanting to make a movie. (On that same note, he also said that they just dont' get 'Xena'.)

I think it's more with the financial and than a failure to understand what 'Xena' is to the fans. I've highlighted many of the reasons several times on this blog about why Universal doesn't find 'Xena' money-worthy (Xena Online: Why is there no Xena movie?, Xena Online: No Xena movie? WHY??).

So, why isn't there a 'Xena' movie. To put it in very plain terms, there's a few reasons.
  1. Genre piece: The 'Xena' movie is classified as a sword-n-sandal film. Those movies have struggled domestically since 'Gladiator' was released. If this was six years ago, we probably wouldn't be having this conversation.
  2. Female action film: These movies, have for the most, failed at the box office and have failed to attract audiences to the movie theaters.
  3. TV show property: Unless you're Star Trek (with a fanbase ten times larger that Xena's) you're pretty much dead in the water. Serenity (the Firefly film) failed to capture and audience at the box office. It's only saving grace was the home DVD release.

Now, I've highlighted over reasons in my various posts over the past year. But those are the top three.

Why you can't simply buy the rights to Xena?

It's been suggested on the Lucy mailing list that they try to form a company to buy the rights or enlist some rich people to buy the rights. It's not that simple folks. For one, the rights would cost millions and millions of dollars. You'd have to have some financial backing in order to do so and no one is going to give you money unless they know they're going to get their money's worth.

Movies are an investment for the studios. And the people who invest in movies, want to be sure they're going to get something out of it in return.

The fact is, it comes back to the three reasons why there is not a movie.

I'm curious to see what comes out of the "meeting" that's supposedly happening this week.

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