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Theatrical Release

I don't get it. Paramount revived Star Trek when Star Wars came out and scooped up millions. There was no way Star Trek would not make money given its built-in fan base. With the continuing popularity of Star Trek and Star Wars in the movies, what in the world is keeping Warner Brothers from making a real B5 movie for the theaters? It is guaranteed to succeed. Do they have something against making money, or are they just clueless?
 
Babylon 5 is a small cult show with not a huge fan base attached to like Trek or Star Wars. So I would doubt they are going to make a movie with the uncertainty of the profit margin. Don't get me wrong I would love to see B5 as a threatrical release as anyone else but I can't see that happening anytime soon. Not to mention a Ranger series but we all know what happened there.
 
It's also a matter of timing. When Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released, the show had been off the air for a considerable amount of time - long enough for nostalgia appeal. Also, it was somewhat of a novelty to have a science fiction film with high production standards at that time. Nowadays, it's commonplace to have multimillion-dollar scifi flicks on the screen with lots of eye candy. Back in the days of Star Wars, it was relatively new to have realistic visual fx in the genre.
 
Time and time again, it has been shown that no matter what the fans want...it's not necessarily what the studio wants. Unless it's Trek. Every other sci fi show lives and dies in the shadow of the giant that began everything.
Studios and networks are slowly but surely discovering that just because it's sci fi, doesn't mean there's a huge audience attraction. With so many flops in the recent past, it's a shaky market out there.
How many people do you know outside of the net that would know what Babylon 5 is? Yet ask them if they have heard of Star Trek and they'll nod in robot like precision.
We are unfortunately in a minority, but even minorities eventually get heard and paid attention to. The one advantage we have is the creator of Babylon 5. If he chooses to make a movie in the B5 universe, you can gaurantee it will be the right movie in the right place at the right time.
For now, we have to suffice with saying that we beleive in the show and it's concept.
On television, scifi seems to be waning...our time is passing, but it will come again.

"...because what is built endures and what is loved endures. And Babylon 5...Babylon 5 endures."
 
Personally, I would love to see a B5 feature movie on the Teep War. However, from what I've read on the net, jms has no intention for pushing for such a project anytime soon. The reason he gives is that he doesn't want to go up against the Star Wars movies at the box office...

there shouldn't be a B5 movie until after the last of the three new SW films is out and done. Ain't no way any other SF film project can compete with that.
jms

My question is this: Given the fan popularity of such a project, why doesn't he push for a B5 movie to be released sometime between the SW movies (Ep3 is due for May 2005)? Surely, there's enough interest out there for it to be financially worthwhile. His attitude seems a little odd.
 
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
<font color="yellow"> Originally posted by PMvanova: </font color>
The one advantage we have is the creator of Babylon 5. If he chooses to make a movie in the B5 universe, you can gaurantee it will be the right movie in the right place at the right time.

[/quote]

You can be guaranteed of the fact that he will not be given the opportunity to make such a movie, and that if he is, he will be given a meager budget, and that Warner Brothers will find at least a half dozen more ways to screw it up. /forums/images/icons/rolleyes.gif


</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
<font color="yellow"> Originally posted by Bester: </font color>
My question is this: Given the fan popularity of such a project, why doesn't he push for a B5 movie to be released sometime between the SW movies (Ep3 is due for May 2005)? Surely, there's enough interest out there for it to be financially worthwhile.

[/quote]

There are not enough of us B5 fans to wake up Warner Brothers.

I agree that there is more than enough time between SW movies to do a B5 feature film. It's too bad that JMS and Warner Brothers don't think so. So, we have to wait over 7 years for a B5 feature film (Season 5 to the film's release). The iron is only getting colder. /forums/images/icons/frown.gif I wonder what other excuses will be given in 2005. /forums/images/icons/frown.gif

Guesses:

<ul type="square">
[*] B5 isn't hot anymore, and so Warner Brothers doesn't want to risk the money.
[*] B5 had two failed attempts at series, and so Warner Brothers doesn't want to risk the money.
[*] The next Trek movie is due soon, and we can't compete with that.
[*] The B5 audience is just not big enough to support a feature film, and if we do one, it won't be able to have a feature film budget (>$35 Million).
[/list]
 
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Season 5 filmed in 1997/8? And the Teep War begins 2 years after the end of Season 5. Therefore, the ideal situation would have seen a Teep War feature film produced back in 1999/2000.

The sad fact is that as time goes by, the cast are slowly getting too old to film the Teep War segment of the B5 story without the use of ItB-type de-ageing makeup. /forums/images/icons/frown.gif
 
there shouldn't be a B5 movie until after the last of the three new SW films is out and done. Ain't no way any other SF film project can compete with that.
jms


The man sure can write but as far as telling what will or will not compete with SW in the SF market, he's far off the mark, I mean not only has Matrix, Spiderman and LOTR (just to name a few) competed, they've been received by the public and critics alike much more so than SW Ep 1 or 2....
 
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
<font color="yellow"> Originally posted by Bester: </font color>
Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Season 5 filmed in 1997/8? And the Teep War begins 2 years after the end of Season 5. Therefore, the ideal situation would have seen a Teep War feature film produced back in 1999/2000.

[/quote]

Well, if you're going for a real world, linear, chronological time lapse between B5 (the series) and the theatrical release, you're right, but I don't see how that's the least little bit necessary.

SiL aired November 25, 1998 (US). Assuming SW Ep. 3 airs in May 2005, that's ~ 6.5 years. /forums/images/icons/frown.gif



</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
<font color="yellow"> Originally posted by Bester: </font color>
The sad fact is that as time goes by, the cast are slowly getting too old to film the Teep War segment of the B5 story without the use of ItB-type de-ageing makeup. /forums/images/icons/frown.gif


[/quote]

Agreed. Most people seem to be of the push it off mentality, that there will always be time. Unfortunately, that's not true. The more time passes, the harder it will be to make a film that looks right.
 
Hey, gang -- your posts are making me awfully depressed. I find it hard to buy the "competition" argument. There is so much really bad sci fi in the theaters, but that hasn't stopped studios from putting more of it on. I believe B5 could knock the socks off most of the competition, including Star Trek. I admit to being a Trek fan, but some of those movies were horrible. To this day I still haven't purchased Insurrection. And it's very rare for me to pull The Voyage Home off the shelf. I don't see B5 competing with Star Wars either. They attract two different audiences. I went to see the last two only because my daughter wanted to see them. It's kid stuff! Real sci fi fans, adult sci fi fans ... and I think there are a ton of them out there ... would go to see a good B5 movie on the strength of a trailer. I've seen some stinkers on the strength of a trailer, only because you get desperate for some good sci fi. You just know JMS would make a great film, no matter what the budget. You just gotta believe it would succeed. And as far as the actors getting "old" -- give me a break. People still went to see Shatner in Trek, wrinkles, wig, waistline and all. It got to a point no one could accept the fact that these geezers would actually have been allowed to command a starship, but they came anyway.
 
jms has also said that there WILL be a B5 film /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

when of course - is a completely different answer
 
If wishes were fishes we'd all be eating trout. (or halibut, or salmon)
To be realistic...yeah, it would be great to see a theatrical release movie.
There is tons story opportunity after Season 5 and after the Drakh plague. Heck, there's 20 years to explore! But...I would rather see an integrated Ranger story. Imagine getting all the characters together from all the movies and series! Well, unfortunately, except for the dead or frozen ones.
Imagine Eilerson butting heads with Garibaldi?? Delenn talking with Captain...errrr! I forgot his name..the captain in the Rangers.
Anyway....One story that would be cool...finding the cure to the Drakh plague, and it has to do with the teeps. Now that would be interesting!
Enough of that. Whatever the final outcome...it will be welcome.
JMS may just be voicing his own insecurity against such big movies. Perhaps he's being more realistic than we think..perhaps he's just being cagey and paranoid. Whatever..he's got other things going on now but he did hint at ComiCon about something with the B5 universe in the near future. He couldn't say what though because nothing was on paper yet.
So...hang in there people.
 
I don't think it has anything whatsoever to do with JMS' insecurity (or lack of). The truth is film studios are interested in what is going to make them money. Pure and simple.

We can sit here and wax lyrical all we like about how a good B5 movie will blow away the competition in terms of story. characters, whatever, but (and here is the rub) ...

Where is the big headline movie star to "sell" the movie?
JMS has already said categorically that he sees a theatrical movie as a way of giving the regular cast a showcase (and big payday) as a thank you for their efforts on the series. None of the series regulars would sell a B5 movie to the general movie-going public.

What would it have that will make it a "Blockbuster"?
Like it or not, successful SF movies tend to be big budget, FX laden, "event" movies with less emphasis on a complex and coherent story or deep, well-rounded characters.

Don't get me wrong, I would love to see B5 on the big screen but then I have been hooked on the show since "Babylon Squared" (hey answered two threads with one post - cool). It is the casual SF movie-goer that has to be convinced if WB is going to make any money from a B5 movie.

That means a story that stands all by itself, without the need for any prior knowledge of the B5 universe, and JMS' record in producing one-shots unrelated to the main story have in the main been disappointing.

The best of the TV movies are (IMHO) ItB and ACtA, both of which are tied very closely in with the main story arcs of B5. By contrast Thirdspace, RoS, Rangers (so I'm told) all gave fans cause for concern (the sense of disappointment on the UK B5 usenet group when Thirdspace appeared was incredible).

The long-form story appears, to me, to suit JMS far better than one-shots, and given that we will soon be seeing SW:EpIII, the two Matrix sequels, LotR:II & III, Harry Potter II, III, IV, what odds on a JMS one-shot spin-off from a small cult TV show blowing the competition out of the water?

Not high I wouldn't think. Much as I hate to say that.

Anyway, enough ramblings from me, bottom line is ... if WB think it will turn in a healthy profit it will get made. Let's hope that's the case.

Cheers,
 
Hi,
There is no demand for a B5 movie at this time or in the future. At one point in time it was rumored that a big screen movie would be made in 2006. However I can't see this happening now. I would have liked to see a big screen version of "To Dream In The City Of Sorrows" which deals with Sinclair's time on Minbar.

Paul
 
JMS made his comments about a theatrical film, including those about waiting until Lucas was finishing Star Wars off-the-cuff in reply to a usenet post, and he made them when he was in the middle of pre-production on Crusade. At the time he was looking forward to another five year series that would deal with certain story threads (including flashbacks to the Teep War) and preparing the outlines for the novels. The B5 franchise appeared to be at the "take off" point. He was in no hurry to do the film back then, as he was trying to get a brand new show through its critical first season. Waiting until Crusade was over, or nearing the end, simply made sense. I think the Star Wars reference was just something that popped into his head in a "and here's another good reason to wait" way.

Of course, within months of that post Crusade was scrapped, Netter Digital went bankrupt, both B5 Magazine and Amazing Stories (the only two venues for B5 short fiction) went under and the VHS tape release was cancelled due to poor sales.

Not exactly the high-water mark for B5. Warner Bros., which had already paid JMS to write the outline for the Teep War movie, understandably lost interest. B5 never had more than a fraction of Trek's audience to begin with, and on top of everything else the ratings for the reruns on TNT were falling every time the show recycled.

But that doesn't mean the B5 movie is dead. Hollywood ran out of new ideas a long time ago, and has been recycling old ones for decades. The "turn an old TV show into a movie" trend continues this week with a version of I Spy the looks to have replaced the charm and character of the original with bad jokes and flashy FX. At some point Warner Bros. will look at their list of properties and decide to do a B5 film. Like the DVD release, it is all-but inevitable. Strong DVD sales will make them more likely to do so sooner rather than later. B5 can be done relatively cheap, because the actors don't command huge fees. (As even the Trek actors did after the first two films made money.) As for lack of star appeal - that isn't nearly as much of an issue as some people think. Movies with big stars bomb all the time, movies with nobodies become hits. (And then the actors become stars and the sequel costs a fortune. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif) If they get one "name" guest star that's all they really need. (And all they can really afford. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif) And since JMS isn't going to write a piece of FX-laden eye candy, the film won't require a huge budget. Considering that they did ItB for about 3 million, imagine what many of the same crew could do with $30 million, which is about what an "A" romantic comedy costs these days. Warner Bros. could well see this as a relatively low-risk proposition - especially if the episode DVDs sell so well that they can be pretty sure of making their money back on home video even if the movie isn't a box office blockbuster. (A number of recent films have actually returned better profits from their DVD releases than from their box office perfomance.)

Regards,

Joe
 
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
<font color="yellow"> Originally posted by bobbydee49: </font color>
I believe B5 could knock the socks off most of the competition, including Star Trek. I admit to being a Trek fan, but some of those movies were horrible.


[/quote]

Compete on the terms of telling a quality story? Of that there's no question. A B5 movie could blow their socks off. Compete in terms of box office receipts and name recognition, No. The latter affects how much budget JMS would have available to make the film.

It will be very hard to make a B5 feature film that will be entertaining to people who have never seen B5, and will satisfy the hardcore B5 fan. If JMS compromises by making a middle-of-the-road film (e.g. with compromises to bring in people who have never seen B5), the hardcore fans will see it as having needless expository stuff. If he makes a film for hardcore B5 fans (which the studio would likely never let him do), he limits the audience. Ironically, I think the second approach would be best. Making a hard edged film, tailored toward the knowledgeable B5 fans, would trim away the fat and leave a lean movie, with lots of hooks to the B5 and Crusade series. That might make people want to find out more about B5/Crusade.

I started watching B5 with "Walkabout" and it made me want to see more, wanting to see where it connected with the rest of the series, wanting to see where the threads came from and where they were going. Perhaps getting people started with a beginning type episode is not the way to hook them. Instead, throw them into the middle of things, the most interesting parts (e.g. the Telepath Crisis). That may ignite their curiosity. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif


</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
<font color="yellow"> Originally posted by bobbydee49: </font color>
You just know JMS would make a great film, no matter what the budget.

[/quote]

Lack of budget, lack of cooperation, and stupidity (e.g. WB losing all the CGI) can kill anything.
 
</font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
<font color="yellow"> Originally posted by GaribaldisHair: </font color>
The best of the TV movies are (IMHO) ItB and ACtA, both of which are tied very closely in with the main story arcs of B5.

[/quote]

...which is one of the reasons why I said to throw the audience into the middle of things, the exciting parts. This is how I started with B5, and it made me want to see more of it, wanted to find out what was going on.

Regarding JoeD's post, he makes some good points. To me the falling ratings for the B5 reruns is expected, and they might be surprised at just how well a new B5 movie would do in the current environment. There's quite a contrast between the umpteenth rerun of a 1994~1998 episode, and NEW MATERIAL done in the larger budget of a theatrical film. The latter could definitely spark things for the B5 universe and B5 actors, and make everybody sit up and take notice. /forums/images/icons/grin.gif
 
The movie audience is likely to be some fraction of the TV audience, so the rerun ratings have to be taken into account when estimating a B5 movie's potential. The thing that consistently falling ratings indicate is that fewer new fans are finding the show, not enough to off-set those who have just watched all five years and don't want to immediately watch it again.

I don't really see the problem with telling a self-contained story, even one that connects with the history of the show. ST: The Wrath of Khan worked perfectly well, pleased the hardcore fanbase, was very accesible to non-fans, and wasn't compromised in any way. Everything you needed to know about the backstory was in the film. Watching it after having seen "Space Seed" certainly added to the experience, but it was hardly mandatory. You could enjoy the film as a rollicking SF adventure if you hadn't seen a frame of Star Trek before. (Which would probably require your living in a cave in Borneo, but that's another matter. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif)

All films have a certain amount of "backstory" that needs to be communicated to the audience. Only the very worst films present characters and situations that have no apparent history. A film like The X-Men simply assumes things like Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Students. It doesn't present the founding of the institution, and knowledge about it isn't required to follow the plot. It just is. Same with the Federation in Star Trek. That's just there from the first episode.

Similarly the IA, the Rangers, etc. would simply be the givens in a B5 Teep War film. Whatever we need to know of Bester, Sheridan's and Lyta's prior relations could be conveyed in a few minutes of screen time - then we could get down to the serious business of the war. I think this story (which resembles X-Men in its super-powered minority angle) would be much more accessible than something like To Dream in the City of Sorrows, which really does depend on a knowledge of the series, because it supplements the series. (The end of Sinclair's story is really "War Without End". You can't end a feature film with a note that says, "Go watch the reruns to find out what happens next.") This would also be ruled out (as would the ever popular "Valen on Minbar" idea) because it would not involve any of the regulars except for one actor who was there for a single season, and another who was around for two.

Regards,

Joe
 
The Telepath War always makes me worried that the general population will not sympathise with the rogue teeps. After suffering with them for 5 years, I am on the rogue's side. Unfortunately, the honest P5's are in Psi Corps - possibly the nasty P12s are sufficient.
 
Interesting point about whether any of the B5 stars would be big enough to be a draw on the silver screen. All I want to say, in rebuttal so to speak, is that they can always get a big name, big draw movie star to be a guest star,or should i say co-star, for the movie. hey, it's been done before. and i wouldnt be surprised if some "big name movie stars" actually are B5 fans and would be willing to take part in its story line and history.
 

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