The end of Breaking Bad, also known as the best show on television not named Game of Thrones, is nearly upon us. Those who are caught up with the show (a group that, sadly, doesn’t include this writer — don’t tell me what happens!) know the first half of the fifth and final season aired in the summer of 2012 and the second half premieres on AMC on August 11. In only a couple months, we’ll know the final fates of Walt, Jesse and the gang.
If recently “retired” movie director Steven Soderbergh gets his way, the finale of Breaking Bad will be even more epic than most people are imagining. No, Soderbergh hasn’t weaseled his way into a creative role on the show — Vince Gilligan and his co-producer Mark Johnson are still running the ship. Soderbergh simply has an idea for how to beef up the hype around the series finale: put it in movie theaters.
Specifically, Soderbergh says he thinks Breaking Bad should make the final two episodes into a movie and have it open in theaters the Friday after the last episode to air on television (which would be the third last episode of the series, as things are currently planned).
“I thought it would be really cool to have the final two episodes of the show as a movie that aired the Friday after the penultimate episode,” Soderbergh told EmpireOnline.com. “You’d sell that during the season — ‘See the season finale in theaters!’ — and just run it for a week, but I feel like you’d clean up. It’s never been done before.”
“It’s [in movie theaters for] one week, then you can download it,” he added, “but for the fans to have a communal viewing experience that week, that’d be super-cool.”
Super cool? Watching intense movies with a crowd is usually pretty damn fun, so there’s every reason to believe that Soderbergh’s right about the entertainment factor being ratcheted up in a theater setting.
There are a few major problems with the idea, though. One reason why no television series has finished its run as a movie before is that television networks, particularly cable networks like AMC, aren’t exactly dying to give away the massive rating the series finale of their top shows garner.
There’s also the piss-off factor. Members of the general public won’t universally love being forced to buy a $13 ticket to find out how a show that was previously free to watch wraps up, and some will surely complain about it online. Even if the majority of fans love the idea, what about the one who don’t live near a good theater and get sort of screwed? It’s probably not a great idea to ruffle feathers in your fan base right before you attempt to pull off the rarest of feats in the world of serialized televised dramas: a fulfilling series finale.
Ultimately, Soderbergh is kind of talking out of his ass here. There won’t be a Breaking Bad movie — at least, not one that’s made up of the series finale. Down the road, though? Hey, you never know. Maybe in ten years we’ll get to see the cast get back together to produce A Very Breaking Bad Christmas.