Peter Capaldi is back for his third turn in the TARDIS this week when the 10th season of the new series of Doctor Who premieres on BBC AMERICA. I'll be attending a Wednesday night screening at a local theater with my youngest son, courtesy of Fathom Events. (Get tickets in your area now.)
We should have plenty of company. Now in it's 54th year, the British sci-fi franchise has previously been honored by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful sci-fi franchise of all-time. A recent iNews report puts The Doctor's worldwide fan base at roughly 80 million — up from 77 million at the time of the 50th anniversary.
Only Star Wars has drawn better in recent years. Figuring on average worldwide ticket price of $5 puts the paying audience for The Force Awakens at roughly 414 million and the audience for Rogue One at about 211 million. Far fewer will come out to theaters to the season premiere of season 10 of Doctor Who but does it matter? That The Doctor is even in the same conversation with a pair of multi-billion dollar box office productions should be astounding. And yet it isn't. We've seen this sort of thing before.
Fathom Events has brought The Doctor to the big screen in earlier Christmas specials and season premieres, playing off the cultish, worldwide popularity of the 1,000-year old Time Lord and his companions to sell tickets. This time, he'll have Peal Mackie (playing Bill Potts, the first openly gay companion) and Matt Lucas (playing Nardole, another of The Doctor's alien assistants) in the season 10 theatrical premiere.
Also included in the two-hour spectacle is the premiere episode of the spinoff series Class, featuring a guest appearance by Peter Capaldi and the never-before-seen bonus feature Becoming the Companion, in which fans will travel with Mackie from the London stage through the doors of the TARDIS. The bonus feature includes exclusive interviews with Mackie, Capaldi, and showrunner Steven Moffat, and is narrated by Ingrid Oliver.
Finally, those who purchase though Atom Tickets get three free digital comics, courtesy of ComiXology and Titan Comics. Call it another way to extend a franchise that's been defying gravity (and time, and space) for five decades — and a decent bonus for a geek dad out for a good time with his son.
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