Universal is hoping to dominate the sci-fi genre with it’s new company, Syfy Films, a collaboration between Universal Pictures and the TV network, Syfy Ventures. The new organization will focus on utilizing Syfy’s experience of science fiction and fantasy with the aim of releasing two movies per year by 2012, branded by the Syfy label but distributed by Universal. According to Deadline, a statement from Syfy president, Dave Howe reads, “We know there is an incredible consumer appetite for genre content as proven by the top grossing box office films…our combined expertise and resources [will allow us] to create commercially successful quality films that have the potential to become great franchises.” Neill Blomkamp’s District 9 is acting as the model for the new company, a movie that cost about $30 million to make, but grossed over $200 million world wide.
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Fair play, if they pull a movie out of the bag even half as enjoyable as District 9, then I’ll eat my words, but whilst this new venture might excite some of the Battlestar Galactica fans out there, Syfy being the network that hosted the series, in terms of films, the “original movies” that the company offers to date are beyond zany and usually downright awful – think Mansquito, Dinocroc Vs Supergator and Sharktopus.
Laughably, a statement from Universal declared, “Syfy has been incredibly successful in finding ways to produce compelling entertainment for a specific audience.” Compelling might be one word to describe Mongolian Death Worm, yet another of the TV networks hilariously named films. (For more laughs, visit their official website.)
Giggles aside, hopefully, with a larger budget, (albeit still a relatively modest $5 – $25 million) and Universal’s backing, the standard of film making should go up. If it doesn’t, this new venture might not last even as long as Rogue Pictures, Universal’s previous low budget, genre-based film firm, which they sold to Relativity Media after releasing only 16 movies. Anyway, with the 2012 target not too distant, presumably a film (or two) is already in the works, although no word has been released about what it will be yet.