As we reported just a few hours ago, Veronica Mars series creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their long-gestating film treatment with a goal of $2 million. That goal has been reached in a mere ten hours, while it also set a Kickstarter record by drawing in $1 million worth of pledges in less than four-and-a-half hours.
As for Veronica Mars itself, the UPN series aired for three seasons becoming a cult and critical favorite. The heavily noir-influenced plot followed the cases of a high school/college student moonlighting as a private investigator. Now it looks as if there’s hope for the feature film going forward…but at what cost? Hit the jump for more.
You can head over to the film’s Kickstarter page to get more informed, take a look at the swag and even make a pledge. Most of the pledges came in at $100 or less for various kickbacks if/when the project gets off the ground. Surprisingly, most of the high-end pledges ($1,000+) were all spoken for, including a $10,000 spot that promised a speaking role of a waiter who gets to say, “Your check, sir.” Money well spent for one Veronica Mars fan apparently. It’s a banner day for all fans who used their money (or at least the promise of it) to influence the production of a major studio film before that film even comes close to a theater.
About that studio…Warner Bros. will reportedly be assisting with distribution, marketing, publicity and legal via Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, according to Deadline. So where will funders pledges actually go? Well, 5% of the money raised will stay with Kickstarter itself for nebulous fees. Since WB is still the rights holder for the project, Thomas and Bell got their approval to go ahead and drum up interest via the Kickstarter service. If they reached their $2 million goal, then the studio would sign on.
So basically a group of roughly 30,000 committed fans pledged their dollars to a massive studio in exchange for a bit of swag and the chance to pay more money in the future for a ticket and eventual home video release. This is all-win on the part of the studio, and for the fans who were willing to shell out the extra cash to show that their passion for the project was worth rewarding, good for you. It’s just unfortunate that this may set a precedent going forward where fans are now asked to pay to show their allegiance to a film before the film is ever greenlit. If the pledges at least came with a promised ticket to the film if/when it saw theaters, the whole thing would be a little more palatable.
Before today, Kickstarter was one place where indie filmmakers could use crowdsourcing to get the necessary funds for their films; now it might be just another way for studios to test the waters of a project by asking audiences to pay upfront. This model is highly skewed towards fandoms who are willing to pay well above market price for the average movie ticket in exchange for a little bit of hope that their favorite project will see the light of day. Time will tell if today’s event will be seen as a nice win for the little guy or a harbinger of things to come.
The Veronica Mars movie now plans to start shooting this summer for a 2014 release.