Joss Whedon’s Sermon On The Con: “The Dialogue Between Audiences And Studios Is Defaulting”


When it comes to his annual Comic-Con talk, Joss Whedon has traversed everything from comparing America to Tsarist Russia to dispensing life advice. This year as he rolled through fans questions, he expressed how hard it is for audiences to discover fresh stories on TV and movies without being spoon-fed by studios.

When Whedon was a kid, he’d go to the movies without really knowing much about what was on the marquee. It was always a wonderful discovery for him. But that’s not the case with today’s crowds. “Studios give (out) every beat,” said Whedon, alluding to trailers.

“The problem is there isn’t a willingness by a lot of people to go into something that they don’t already know,” he said. He came to the topic after an Australian indie filmmaker asked The Avengers director how he could get more people to buy his film in the wake of it being pirated in his home country.

“The dialogue between audiences and studios is defaulting and they keep finding a lower common denominator. That doesn’t mean that the films are bad, it’s the way they’re approached,” said Whedon. But enabling audiences so that they’re more open-minded to avant garde product “means we have to find a platform that people come to,” said Whedon, who had no great answer on how to solve the dilemma of close-minded crowds.

“If we get something where people are surprised, I’d love to create for that, but I don’t know if anyone would show up to that party,” he said, referring to his indie projects that failed to generate bucks — read Much Ado About Nothing ($4.3 million at the box office) and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. 

At the Tribeca Film Festival, Whedon told the crowd he had gotten over his sour grapes with Marvel in the wake of their conflicted vision over Avengers: Age Of Ultronand that he had returned to screenwriting. He revealed more about that mysterious project today — that it’s a piece of historical fiction and it isn’t an adaptation.

“When I finish in a couple of months, the studios will get together for a bidding war or an intervention,” said WhedonIn talking about the project, he quoted his Golden Girls and Electric Company scribe father who said, “Great writing doesn’t come from inspiration, it comes from something you watched.” As such, Whedon credited inspiration to his next feature to Eli Roth’s Aftershock. “It’s very disturbing,” hinted Whedon.

As far as the prequel to Dr. Horrible which Whedon teases at every Comic-Con, it’s essentially in limbo “and boils down to me,” said the creator. His brother Jed remains busy with overseeing Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., and his other brother Zack has a new movie coming out, Come And Find Me, starring Aaron Paul and Annabelle Wallis. In regard to making any movement with Dr. Horrible, Whedon joked, “I’m like Patton Oswalt saying he has to lose weight.”

Similar to last year, Dark Horse Comics sponsored Whedon’s annual speech, and that’s because he has two new comic book series here based on his beloved TV properties: the 12-issue Buffy The Vampire Slayer – Season 11 (store date: November 23) and Serenity: No Power In The ’Verse. 

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