Saturday, June 04, 2011

Another campaign, another let's give it a try

This is not to attack the current Xena movie campaign. In my best guesstimate, this is like campaign movement number 6,520,146. So, it's all been said and done before. I think with each influx of new fans or fans rediscovering the series, there's always an attempt to get the studio (Universal) to recognize the potential that a movie would bring.

The reality is, no amount of writing campaign, postcards, video watching, or Facebook likes will get the studio to budge on something nobody is entirely sure the actors want in the first place.

Yes, I know that Lucy Lawless has stated that she'd love to do a movie; however, given the fact she's stated and re-stated the fact that she's moved on with that part of her life just makes the issue all the more confusing. After all, if knew a good portion of my audience was still Xena fans, I'd probably say things that won't hurt their feelings either. And who can blame Lucy? After the vitriol spewed at her in the year after Xena ended, I'd probably play the safe bet too. The Xena fandom, yeah sure it's all nice and charitable, but when things are said that upset them--they're worse than Xena on a bad day. Now, I'm not picking on Lucy for any particular reason. I speak with fair certainty that she doesn't mean to harm people with saying she'd love to do a Xena movie.

Even if the actors were fully behind the project, that doesn't make it any more possible. The problem is, is that Universal has said repeatedly over the past six years that they are not interested in making Xena film in any shape or form. They asked people to stop writing about it because it's not going to happen.

Why history matters:

Back in the early 2000s, the Firefly fandom raised up holy hell at FOX for canceling the series without giving it a proper send off. Cult favorites tend to generate a firestorm and most never really get what the want. The Browncoats (as Firefly fans are called) started up a writing campaign to get something to wrap up the series. FOX wasn't budging--but Universal said they were interested. More fans wrote in... then in 2005 they got their wish. Universal released "Serenity."

The movie flopped at the box office. Didn't even make back what it cost to film the movie. While the home video sales did well, the reality set in for Universal that taking a series to feature film with the original cast based on a bunch of letters proved to be an utter disaster.

At the time of the failure (or least scary feelings of a possible failure), Universal dropped the Xena movie project in 2005. The "reported" story was conflict over the budget killed the movie. It might have well have been budget, but I think the failure of Serenity sealed the fate of a Xena movie. Universal is in the business of making money, Xena was a risky gamble.

Other attempts where made with Rogue Studios (a subsidiary of Universal) in late 2005 and throughout 2006. Over the next few years, rumors went around about a possible direct-to-DVD. That too failed. In 2008 and 2009 Rob Tapert officially announced that the movie was dead and that wasn't going to happen.

This is not to say don't do it. But no matter how many signatures you all get or Facebook likes you get, it won't change that the fact that Universal is NOT going to make a movie.


  1. That's an interesting post and I actually do agree on most of the things you wrote. I'm also part of the select group of people who still tries to get a Xena movie to be made on DVD. Yes, on DVD. I absolutely don't believe that Universal will ever release a movie on the big screen without it being a reboot.

    Last year, I contacted a lot of people, like Katherine, Renee, Universal, and so on.

    I don't know about Lucy, but Katherine and Renee have told me they would absolutely do it, as it is a topic close to the heart, and they understand the "need" the fandom expresses. But Renee said that the window of opportunity for a movie seemed to be closed.

    Still, I believe there's more to it than we know... Universal did release some movies that were a failure and still they released a sequel or a movie similar to the first one...

    I guess Rob lost his momentum when Universal did offer a budget for a movie around 2007/2008, but he didn't think it was enough... Perhaps he should have opted for a S2DVD then...

    Even if chances are very low, a straight-to-dvd release is the only thing that could work.

    We have nothing now, we can end up with only the same, and all the campaigns do have a positive effect :

    It brings people together, people who talk about Xena, and it's nice to know after all those years, she has not been forgotten about, and that is a wonderful thing to witness.

  2. It was in 2005 when a budget was offered. See my previous posts on this under the MOVIE NEWS tag.

    At any rate, the time for a movie has come and gone. Any chance of movie now rests in a "revitalized" movie--something similar to the Star Trek movie. Completely new cast and a setting that predates the series itself. That's something that fans should prepare themselves for when it comes in the next decade or so.

    I'm only talking about FIREFLY's spin-off movie SERENITY. There's never been a sequel to that movie. And it was released by Universal in the same year which the Xena movie was apparently a few signatures away from beginning pre-production.

    Outside of The X-Files, which was FOX and the sequel failed to capture a solid audience upon its release a few years back, the only other TV Series to Feature offering, SEX AND THE CITY released two movies. The sequel failed to prove successful at the box office.

    Part of the time its the story. Most of the time its trying to milk an empty cow.

    Also, I was checking over some notes I picked up from an interview with Rob on some website. There was an effort to get a S2DVD release in 2007. However, that fell through. From sources close to the discussion (none of which are in the Rob, actors, or writer camp) have said that it was not so much money, but reluctant participates in the discussion to commit to the project. No names were named.