Editorial: Fan Power
by Chris, Hollywood Nexus member
That rumor about JJ Abrams working on the next Star Trek movie sure burned through the internet like a wildfire. Why would anyone put a big name like his behind a franchise that to some appears to be on its last legs? Reasons Networks and Studios court sci-fi/fantasy “geeks”:
If you can’t beat them, join them. In other words, “You will be assimilated.” Sci-fi and fantasy aren’t just for people living in their parent’s basements anymore.
- Numbers. The numbers of people who include themselves in the science fiction / fantasy fan demographic grows every year. Once considered to be nothing more than a fringe social group, fandom now exists as a mainstream group. Even those not in fandom will probably recognize catch phrases from “Star Trek” or know the sound of a lightsaber.
- Money. If you’ve ever seen an ad and wondered who in the world would buy a three-foot tall replica of Sauron, you can stop wondering. Notorious collectors, these folks tend to spend freely on the franchise(s) they love. J.K. Rowling, creator of the “Harry Potter” series, is now believed to be the richest woman in England. According to USA Today, when the first season of the original “Star Trek” series was released on DVD, fans had already spent $2 billion worldwide on videotapes of the show.
- They will come. If it’s reasonably good, that is. Fan commitment boosted movie sales for “Batman Begins” to over $200 million last year, making it one of the five sci-fi / fantasy movies that held court on last summer’s top ten earning’s list. The May 12, 2006 edition of Entertainment Weekly states, “In some cases, fanboy appeal has eclipsed star power as a predictor of a movie’s success.” Of course, make a lukewarm remake of an even worse movie (see “The Island” / “Parts: the Clonus Horror”) and they will stay away in droves, like all other viewers.
- What the frak?!? “Battlestar Galactica” is a hit for a second time. Revamping old products for the current market worked for them and for “Spiderman”, “Batman”, “Superman”…
- What the frell?!? Even less popular shows like “Farscape” can still generate a dedicated fan following that works to keep its show on the air. Never heard of “Farscape”? You can attend the official fan convention November 3rd in Burbank.