Cohen “says MGM ‘intends’ to develop a theatrical movie ‘derived from the series over the last 10 years’ that would ideally ‘dovetail’ into a third Stargate television show,” according to the report.
A theatrical movie based on SG-1 would not have to wait for the series to end — though the show’s producers have been eager to do one for years, and point to the TV series’ continued success as the reason it has yet to come to pass. Nor does it mean the show can’t continue after a film is released. Cohen said that feature films would “not in any way impair the television run” of Stargate SG-1.
That run may inevitably come to an end for other reasons, though, as the climbing salaries inherent to a long-running series erode the profit that the company is able to make through cable licensing, syndication, and DVD sales.
“The economics of producing a show make it impossible,” executive producer Robert C. Cooper told Multichannel. “The simple fact is that salaries go up incrementally as seasons continue. At some point, it just reaches the place where there’s no profit to be made.” (Executive producer Brad Wright recently spoke to GateWorld on this subject.)
Nevertheless, Cohen suggests that three Stargate series could run concurrently. Network television franchises such as Law & Order and CSI have proved that such a model can work. “If you look at SG-1 — with bringing in Claudia [Black], Ben [Browder], and Beau [Bridges] — we’ve retooled the series with it still being SG-1,” he said. “I’d like to see SG-1 go another 10 years. I love the show. I’d like to keep it on forever and keep adding to it.”
“It’s very ambitious,” Cohen laughed. “Brad and Rob will cringe.”
Stargate is MGM’s flagship television property, and has been compared to its James Bond film franchises as a long-term brand for the studio.
“Stargate on the television side represents the same type of dynamic franchise [as the James Bond movies] for us,” Cohen said. “It’s enormously important both in terms of what it contributes financially but also what it does for our image.”
Though MGM finances most of its film projects 50/50 with new owner Sony (actually a shareholder in a consortium of investors that purchased the studio last year), Stargate is one that MGM stills finances in its entirety. “Stargate we own and finance 100 percent, and we’re very supportive of it,” Cohen said. “We’re putting more money into the shows. It’s very important to us that this series not only continue but maintain or exceed the quality of what came before. For instance, we’re putting Richard Dean Anderson back in the show. We felt it was great for the fan base. That required some money that we hadn’t budgeted, but we were very happy to spend.”
And there’s more to be made than through the traditional television and DVD channels in the digital age: No doubt much to fans’ delight, Multichannel reports that an episode downloaded deal, via iTunes, is currently in negotiations. Other popular series, including NBC Universal’s Battlestar Galactica, sell new episodes on iTunes for $1.99 each immediately after the first U.S. broadcast.
Whether or not a series bears the name “SG-1,” the future of the Stargate franchise is bright indeed.
The tenth season of Stargate SG-1 premieres July 14 on SCI FI Channel in the U.S., and this fall on Sky One in the United Kingdom.
(Thanks to tsaxlady and Denise for the tip)