Why Buffy The Vampire Slayer isn’t over yet
Kevin Beaumont has something to say.
The year is 2008, and that sound you hear crackling is a pile of money burning in 20th Century Fox’s back yard. Let me explain.
To form a major motion picture, you need three elements: a story (your creative reason), a profitable venture (a business reason), and a talented cast and crew (your creative force). It also requires strong catering on set.
When “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” finished airing in 2003, I knew the show was over – it had bowed out with something to say.
But yet the story kept bouncing around in my head. Would anybody ever like Dawn? Would Buffy ever touch Xander in the bad place?
Fast forward to 2008. Clearly I wasn’t the only person pondering those characters and their story. Series creator Joss Whedon started a “season eight” comic, aided by many former Buffy writers, to continue tales in the universe.
“Buffy” is an international franchise, providing major DVD sales for 20th Century Fox, with brand recognition in all major territories. Most of the staff writers have gone on to big gigs, many winning major roles on hit TV shows. Show lead Sarah Michelle Gellar has gone on to front horror pic “The Grudge” and family friendly “Scooby Doo” (written by the foul mouthed and entirely hilarious James Gunn).
So, now all you need is a business reason.
And here it is: “Twilight”. ”Twilight” is essentially lite-horror, romance porn. But make no mistake – in it’s opening weekend, the modestly budgeted ($38m) flick took over $70m. For something to be considered successful enough for a sequel, a general rule of thumb is two and a half times the production budget on domestic release. ”Twilight” should easily make that mark by its second weekend. It turns out a vampiresque story with added romance and teen appeal could be a worldwide hit. Who’d have thought?
Oh yes. Joss Whedon.
I know what you’re thinking. Yes, cheesecake is great — and back when the first Buffy movie was made, it was a box office bomb. Because it was. Because it was an almost terrible mess of badly executed ideas. Joss didn’t have creative control of the movie, because it simply wasn’t his movie – direction laid elsewhere, and he was, in movie direction terms – a small fish.
Forget the cheesecake and come back to 2008 with me – now you have somebody who understands movie direction, who has an amazing cast who want to move on to the big screen. You have, in Joss, somebody who wants to make a big summer action movie. You have somebody who has those characters and that story burning in his brain, itching to escape. And – critically – you have somebody who understands teen appeal vampire romance porn like nobody else on the planet.
There’s a stack of money waiting to be made here. And let’s not even mention Whedonites across the global and their DVD fetish. Want midnight screenings and buzz, too? Check.
The real question is this – what story would you tell in a 2 hour motion picture?
Update: The Twilight sequel has been greenlit.