Angry Robot

When Will the Horribility Ever Stop?


Here’s an interesting article speculating on the economics of Dr. Horrible, and Joss Whedon himself weighed in to say it is “sensible.” Long and short of it is that the show would need to sell about 100,000 copies on iTunes to see a modest profit, and more like a million to compete with Hollywood paychecks for the creators involved (assuming a budget of $250,000). This is before any DVD revenue is taken into account.

I think we can assume Dr. Horrible will make money for its makers, but is there anything more we can take away from it? Joss Whedon is, after all, a special case within a special case – he has a pro budget and talent pool, and beyond that a rabid extant fan base. But nothing about the success of this show means much for amateur creators, those who couldn’t get Neil Patrick Harris to work for scale, and couldn’t afford to pay him scale anyway. There still doesn’t seem to be a system that can help such talent succeed, other than “get a million viewers on YouTube.” That’s not a system, that’s the problem already solved. A million viewers, whether on the web or on TV, spells success. It’s how to get there that counts. (I know this isn’t Joss’ fault, it’s just you get to thinkin’.)

That’s enough of that particular subject. Soon: Dark Knight!

One comment on "When Will the Horribility Ever Stop?"

  1. I think this actually means a lot for amateur content creators, although their goals (breaking into the business) may be different than Joss’ (establishing a new business model). My favorite example of this is what the Improv Everywhere guys are doing. They have a deal with NBC now, so whatever they’re doing must be working.

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