The second weekend Serenity was outdone by Wallace and Gromit a bloody CLAYMATION movie for kids. Now, granted the kinds of people I associate with are usually the kinds of people who like science fiction and such, still, EVERY SINGLE PERSON I'VE TALKED TO has said they have seen the movie and loved it. So what gives?
I suspect that the advertising companies may have done the movie a diservice by having so many prescreenings. Think about how many people on here have talked about going to prescreenings. Now multiply that by at least several thousand. Now take into account that most people don't see a movie twice, even if they really like it. That's a buttload of money lost.
Now prescreenings from what I understand are paid for by cross advertising. Radiostations will pay to have a prescreening in a city so they can give people tickets as prizes and do other things to get them noticed, so it could be that the movie may have made some money from this, though I'm not sure. Because part of the idea is that a prescreening generates word of mouth so the movie company may take a loss for the advertising.
But Serenity already had word of mouth BEFORE the prescreenings and so everybody and their second cousin went to them and the idea sort of backfired.
Another thing that Serenity has against it is that to the uninitiated, the name Serenity seems like the name of a chick flick or perhaps an independant film about gay cowboys eating pudding.
Finally I think the movie may not have had a wide enough release.
These are the only reasons I can see for the movie doing badly barring some nonsensical Hollywood conspiracy.
It just boggles my mind.
I even hear about people going back to see Serenity again, which usually means a movie should be doing pretty well. But NO!
At any rate, the only thing I can think of to curtail this situation is this: There are other movies in the theater, and the temptation is great to see them instead of seeing serenity again. Fine, but when you're at the ticket vendors, buy a Serenity ticket, then go sneak in to whatever movie you want to see. This is pretty easy to do in most theaters, and there really isn't any reason why they should mind, providing someone else is seeing the movie you're sneaking into and someone else is seeing serenity. If you've seen a prescreening, really it is your civic duty to do this at least once, because the first time, or Joss help you the only time, you've seen the movie didn't count.
If someone here knows how prescreenings work financially I'd like to know. But they do seem to have a negative effect on the actual box office sales. Another film that had a good measure of prescreening was A History of Violence, which while not as good as Serenity was still ten times better than Flightplan and a hundred times better than Wallace and Gromit, and also never made number one at the US box office.