Fans of the TV detective series 'Veronica Mars' have raised $3.3 million and counting to get the show onto the big screen. More than 50,000 people have made donations to the Veronica Mars movie project on the crowdfunding site Kickstarter and Warner Bros. agreed to distribute and market the film.
The show's creator Rob Thomas has been trying to get a movie off the ground since Veronica Mars went off the air in 2007. Warner Bros, which owns the rights, wasn't convinced there was enough interest to warrant a major studio-sized movie and the project never got off the ground. But Thomas got the idea to use Kickstarter and fans put their money where their mouth is.
The 'Veronica Mars' movie campaign was the biggest film campaign in Kickstarter history, and the fastest to reach the $1-million threshold. It represents a milestone in Hollywood moviemaking economics. So far, Kickstarter has successfully funded more than 9,000 films.
To supporters, it demonstrates that devoted fan communities can rally to support projects that mainstream studios might otherwise reject. But there is a lot of grumbling from the independent film community that major studios should not be using Kickstarter donations to fund film already pledged to a major Hollywood studio.
After all, Kickstarter was founded to help circumvent the cautious and risk-averse studio model. Should major studios be involved in crowdfunding? Will donations replace investment?
Already, other fan-loved but low rated shows are looking at this as a potential model. Bryan Fuller, creator of ABC's "Pushing Daisies," immediately emailed his agent to see if he too could use the crowd-funding site to resurrect his fan-loved show about a man who can bring people back to life."
Shawn Ryan, creator of FX's "The Shield" and the network's short-lived detective drama "Terriers," posted Wednesday on Twitter: "Very interested to see how this Veronica Mars kickstarter [sic.] goes. Could be a model for a 'Terriers' wrap up film."
The project will continue to accept funds through April 12. Kristen Bell currently stars as Jeannie Van Der Hooven on Showtime's "House of Lies"
Dawn Chmielewski, Entertainment industry reporter for the Los Angeles Times