Last night I watched the Blu-ray releases of Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick and got to thinking about that third Riddick film Vin Diesel recently suggested to Gamespot when he said, “Maybe we’re too tight-lipped about the next Chronicles of Riddick film, and I think circa the release of [Dark Athena] that’s probably when you’ll start hearing more about the next Riddick film,” the actor said. “It is underway and I almost think it’s a coincidence that we haven’t heard anything, that there hasn’t been a lot of public stuff on the Riddick movie.”
The Dark Athena Diesel refers to is the recently released videogame The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena, which hit stores this past Tuesday forwarding the story of Richard B. Riddick beyond the 2004 animated Riddick feature Escape from Butcher Bay. Considering this is the second videogame in the character’s lifespan since Pitch Black in 2000 there is obviously a fanbase, but they either aren’t as vocal as the Serenity fanbase or I just don’t travel in the same circles, as it seems strange to me there is so much attention on Riddick and so little on the world of Serenity.
While Pitch Black was a success in 2000 bringing in a worldwide box-office total of $53 million on a $23 million budget, the sequel hardly topped its $105 million budget in worldwide sales hitting $115 million. In the States, The Chronicles of Riddick was a severe flop earning only $57 million.
Of course, Serenity has nothing at all to hang its hat on in terms of box-office success since it cost an estimated $39 million to make and only managed $38.8 million at the worldwide box-office. However, word has hit home video sales were through the roof. I remember when HD DVD first came out Universal even used Serenity as one of the free debut titles as an added incentive, they must have had some reason for doing so. Universal even upped the amount of interactive features once they made the switch to Blu-ray.
However, when it comes to sci-fi franchises Universal, to this point, has backed Riddick and while there is no official third film in the future and there is no telling if Universal will even be the studio to release a third Riddick, it seems the Riddick franchise is rolling with far more steam than Serenity. That is, if Universal doesn’t try and do something with “Battlestar Galactica” beyond its presence on the small screen.
Since Serenity‘s 2005 release talks of a sequel sprout up anytime one of the cast members of the original film is interviewed. I am not sure if movie websites jump to make these stories seem larger than they are because they attract visitors or even how big the attracted audience is, but if you put the scent out there it certainly draws attention.
After watching both Riddick films on Blu-ray it is easy to see Universal has these things primed for a franchise with timelines and extensive Blu-ray features exploring the universe the two films establish, but this isn’t to say the Serenity Blu-ray is much different as it contains similar features.
Then there is always the recognition factor. After Fast and Furious stormed to $70.9 million on opening weekend there is no denying audiences are wholly familiar with Vin Diesel and in casting a third Riddick feature they could go for an even bigger name as his foe. With Serenity the biggest name at the head of the snake is Nathan Fillion and the franchise creator Joss Whedon. (Summer Glau has made a minor ripple with her role on the “Terminator” TV series, but not enough to make any real waves.) These names are familiar to fans of the franchise, genre and online followers, but when it comes to the general public I don’t think the reach goes much further.
Does any of this mean much at all? To be honest I don’t really think so, but I am still curious what most readers would be interested in seeing if given a choice.
Personally I have a very hard time deciding. I really enjoyed Pitch Black and Riddick actually doesn’t bother me much at all, but there is no denying it could have been better. I also think a third Riddick film benefits from what was attempted in the second film. Pitch Black was a rather small and intimate film while Chronicles of Riddick expanded the possibilities and story and sort of lost itself along the way. Now, however, the universe is established and writer/director David Twohy would be able to roam inside of it without having to waste much story on getting the audience acquainted.
As for Serenity the establishing has already been done and was pretty much taken care of in the first 5-10 minutes of the film. Speaking as someone that never even saw a single episode of “Firefly,” the TV series the film was based on, I was familiar with what was going on in a matter of minutes — credit to writer/director Joss Whedon for that achievement. Also with Serenity I haven’t heard from anyone that actually didn’t like the movie. Sure, there are those that don’t like it as much as others, but Serenity has a whopping 81% rating at RottenTomatoes compared to Riddick‘s 30% and if home video reports are accurate I would think the Serenity audience has only grown since its disappointing theatrical run.
These are certainly all things to consider, but I wonder, where do you stand? Vote now and if you have any comments on the matter please pass them on in the comment section below.
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