How to revive a franchise (aka saving Vampire Academy)
It has been a week since the Official Vampire Academy movie twitter page (owned by the producers of the film) started a campaign to bring the sequel, Frostbite, to the big screen in 2015. Since the effort has started, their twitter page http://twitter.com/officialVAMovie has grown by a few thousand fans (they are currently up to 46.3K up from the previous 45.9K that they had just a week ago) and their facebook page http://www.facebook.com/OfficialVampireAcademyMovie went from went from 354,000 fans to the current 358,518. Something tells me that the fans are serious about trying to get this sequel made.
In an industry where everything is focused on the bottom line and making a budget, it is interesting to see fans come together and try to keep their dream alive of seeing these books come to life. Looking at the initial numbers that Vampire Academy made at the box office, you'd immediately cringe and say that there is no way a sequel will be made. I will honestly say that this was my first reaction and I became a little disappointed that there wouldn't be a sequel because after watching the film various times I came to appreciate it a lot more. Yes there are differences between the book and the film but there is a lot that can be appreciated in the format the fans were given. We got the beginning of a wonderful story about friendship and the lengths you would go for the people that you love. I know I have mentioned it before but another huge draw is the fact that the film focuses on strong female characters, these aren't women that are going to let the men do all the saving, these women are going to kick ass right along with the men, how could you not love that! After loving the film and really appreciating it for what it is, I decided to do some digging and see if there was any possible way they would do a sequel which is when I found the twitter feed for the producers.
It's refreshing to see producers stand behind a film/franchise and try to keep it alive for the fans. Yes there methods were frustrating at times, trying to get more twitter/facebook followers, but when reviving a franchise and trying to show the "people in charge" that there is still a fanbase out there for the film, they had to do what they had to do so I respect their efforts in waking up the fanbase. I have also joined the fight in trying to get some type of sequel made and I can only hope that my voice, along with the voices of others, will wake up the powers that be and they take some type of mercy on us and give us a film that we deserve. I fully believe that with a second film they could get more people in the theater to see it. Frostbite, the second film/book in the Vampire Academy series, is much more action packed and completely heartbreaking. With the right screenplay, direction and marketing, the second film could truly revive the series and get more fans to go and see it.
Speaking of marketing, as I did more research on how this film didn't make a profit, I found out that the marketing of the film was horrendous! Why wasn't there a large push for a San Diego Comic Con panel with the entire cast and director. With a large panel, they could have converted people to go and see this film. Something that I can hand to the marketing team behind Twilight is, they knew exactly how to market the film (look at the critics reviews, they are horrendous and the film made millions thanks to the fan support and crazy marketing they had). That's another part of the puzzle as well, the team that was behind the marketing campaign for Twilight believed in the film and knew the fans were out there whereas it seemed like Vampire Academy recieved no support from the studio(s) and were in turn given a terrible release date in Feburary (I don't know what it is about that month but it seems like many films just bomb). They could have easily released the film during the Spring or Summer months and, with added marketing, it would have made a lot more.
Which brings me to my second observation, when the film didn't make enough money in the states, it was basically cancelled overseas. Now I know America is amazing and all but a lot of money is made overseas when it comes to films. Look at movies like, The Mortal Instruments, which didn't make much here in the states but made a bulk of money overseas. Another thing to mention, in regards to The Mortal Instruments, is that their studio actually believed in the film and despite bad reviews (and bad box office numbers) they went along with the premieres overseas and brought their numbers way up! Vampire Academy on the other hand, their studio cancelled things and just let the film die a slow and painful death. Yes it is being released in special engagements but the film was released July 3rd in Australia and will be released Monday in other parts of the world. Why did they not try to salvage the film and promote, promote, promote! Another thing, why did they wait so long between releasing the film in the states vs releasing the film in other parts of the world. Hey everyone matters, there are fans all over the world, maybe you should cater to them and make a profit. I truly believe if the studio was truly behind the film, it could have at least made a bit of a profit but once it died here in the states, they killed it everywhere which was their biggest mistake. You have Australian, British, American, Russian etc.. actors, capitalize on these actors and use them to help your film do better! With such a great ensemble cast, they could have done so much more with the film then what they did.
I can only hope that in the coming week(s) were, as fans, get some good news and that they will go ahead and make the Frostbite sequel. Understandably, the entertainment industry isn't known to give second chances to films that do not make back their budget but maybe they need to look at the big picture and realize that it wasn't the fans fault that the film didn't make money but it was majorily their fault. There were so many opportunities to make this franchise huge and make a lot of money off of it but instead they sat back, watched and hope that the series would stand on its own and just make millions of dollars. It is clear that the cast enjoyed working on the film and working with each other but it is a shame that the studio didn't seem to have the same admiration. I believe in second chances and can only hope that they do make a second film and revive a franchise with so much potential.