The fans have spoken: They want a "Veronica Mars" movie. And thanks to their donations totaling $2 million, they'll get it.
It's been more than five years since the smart, sassy teen detective drama with film noir elements said farewell. Since then, series creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell have teased the possibility of a follow-up film, but the prospect seemed unlikely, since the series was so low-rated on UPN and The CW, until now.
Thomas decided to use Kickstarter to raise enough money to film the low-budget movie. Warner Bros. pledged that if the campaign reached the $2 million mark, they would finance the movie's marketing and distribution.
Fans answered the call in droves, setting a Kickstarter record by raising $1 million in four hours and 25 minutes, officially making the "Veronica Mars" movie the most-funded film or video project in the crowdfunding site's history. In less than half a day, the $2 million goal was met.
"My mind is blown. I've been fantasizing about this and had to tell myself, 'Stop it, Rob, you're being silly. You're setting yourself up for disappointment,'" Thomas told Entertainment Weekly. "And now today has exceeded the wildest pipe dream I let myself entertain. Holy cow. We better make a good movie. These amazing fans have stepped up. We better deliver." Bell expressed her astonishment over the fast-paced fundraising on Twitter:
I love you guys. You are all SO spectacular. I am speechless.— Kristen Bell(@IMKristenBell) March 14, 2013
Everyone who kicked in money will receive perks like a copy of the script ($10), a digital version of the movie ($35), and a personalized outgoing voicemail message recorded by Bell ($500). Someone even claimed a speaking role in the movie for $10,000.
Ironically, the person who bought the biggest "VM" gift might not be able to use it. "I'm really busy, and I travel a lot," Steven Dengler told EW. He said he isn't a "superfan," but was intrigued by the idea of funding a movie through Kickstarter.
"What I love about Kickstarter is it really is empowering the artists, the people who create content, to go directly to the fan base and say, 'Look, let's skip this baloney,'" he said. Even if Dengler can't find the time to enact the role, he is excited by the idea of it:
Super pumped about my speaking role in the upcoming Veronica Mars movie! Back it now on Kickstarter! kck.st/Z1HJRR— Steven Dengler (@Dracogen) March 13, 2013
"Veronica Mars" would be the first major movie ever financed by Kickstarter. Smaller, independent movies have raised money on Kickstarter, but not at this scale. And it certainly opens doors for movies in turnaround, like the "24" movie, which director Antoine Fuqua said wasn't happening. Fans of "Firefly," "Party Down," and "Pushing Daisies" are already pushing for their beloved cult shows to be resurrected via Kickstarter.
Back in August 2012, producer Shawn Ryan had expressed plans to revive the FX dramedy "Terriers" with a 2-hour TV movie using Kickstarter. Even though "Veronica Mars" beat him to the punch, Ryan is still keen on bringing back "Terriers" in a similar fashion:
Can the help of Kickstarter reunite Ray Romano, Scott Bakula, and Andre Braugher for a "Men of a Certain Age" movie? Executive producer Mike Royce has certainly thought about it:
The "Veronica Mars" success story has actor Zachary Levi optimistic about a "Chuck" movie:
2nd, to you Chucksters, believe that this news only bolsters my faith that I can help bring you a #ChuckMovie. Be patient. Stay tuned.— Zachary Levi (@ZacharyLevi) March 13, 2013
With this new investment, should the "Veronica Mars" movie take place, the cast and crew would film in the summer for an early 2014 release date.
For those tragically unaware, the series began with a snarky, highly-intelligent teenaged protagonist named Veronica who solved high-school type crimes while her father served as the local sheriff. Initially, Veronica only wanted to figure out who killed her best friend, but she eventually discovered she was very good at crime-solving.
As Thomas wrote on the Kickstarter page, the movie will catch up to an older Veronica who no longer does detective work. But "something big" takes her back to Neptune, California -- just in time for her 10-year high school reunion -- and back to solving cases.
While it will be a low-budget movie, the more money fans raise, the more cast members, locations, and scenes can be included. Even before the project hit the all-important $2 million goal, Thomas was promising international fans their share of the prize.
Thomas didn't end up needing international support; domestic fans quickly made up the $2 million. But he still didn't want any fans expecting a fairy tale.
"Remember it's noir," he cautioned on the Kickstarter page. "There aren't a lot of happy endings."