Veronica Mars was a TV show that aired for two seasons on UPN and then a slightly truncated, slightly worse third season on the CW. It was about a plucky girl detective, played by Kristen Bell, solving various murders and rapes and thefts and all kinds of other adult things while navigating high school life in a Southern California town with a fierce economic divide. It was delightful! And then it was cancelled.
As one of those cult shows, like Freaks and Geeks or Firefly, that was cancelled entirely too soon, the cries for a movie, or for it to be picked up by another network, began immediately after cancellation. But the actors went on to other projects, the creator created something else, and that was that...until this morning, when the creator, Rob Thomas (I know. Not that one.), posted a Kickstarter page for a Veronica Mars movie, asking for a whopping $2 million.
It's an interesting case; it's one of the biggest Kickstarter projects ever (Googling around, it seems like certainly the largest film project in Kickstarter history, though it didn't ask for as much as the not-entirely-realistic Death Star). But compared to the other ones that really took off--the Pebble watch, the Ouya Android gaming system--this has the flavor of big corporate money around it. Those other projects are very independent, with the mythology of a few guys tinkering in a garage. But not this one!
The way it's set to work is that if the minimum of $2 million is met (and it will be, soon; at the time of writing, on the first day of funding, the project is well over $1.6 million), Warner Brothers will agree to distribute the movie, paying for that as well as marketing and advertising. The actors will work for cheap, so you're paying for equipment and set dressing and editing and that kind of thing.
The movie will certainly earn more than its $2 million minimum, but its momentum will soon slow down, leaving the creators with a doable but distinctly low-budget movie. What's novel here is that regular internet users are, in one way, taking the place of Hollywood investors; whereas some rich mogul-type might usually drop a million dollars into a movie like this, instead you can pay $35. On the other hand, you're not actually an investor; you will not make back any money on your investment. You might earn yourself a t-shirt, but that's not quite the same thing.
Unlike, say, the Double Fine adventure game (from the creators of cult classics like Grim Fandango), which had a similar flavor of crowd-funded cult classic, the Veronica Mars system will actually cost users more money than they'd normally pay. If you chip in $25 for a computer game, well, you'd probably have paid at least that much just to buy the game, which you're getting as a "prize" for chipping in to the Kickstarter. But for this movie, you have to chip in $35 before you get an actual copy of the movie (as well as a t-shirt), which is three times as much as you'd pay to see the movie or buy it on iTunes.
The Double Fine Kickstarter felt like a group effort to create something. Veronica Mars, much as I loved the series, feels like handing cash to a corporation.
Since when did Popsci become another bitchy blog?
Who cares how YOU "feel" about a kickstarter? If you don't like it, don't back it.
Please go back to reporting facts, and stop with the stupid hipster editorializing.
Sounds like you're the bitchy one. There are facts here. It's a solid concern for a science and tech community that is thriving in part due to crowd funding.
If corporations come in and ruin a good thing, it could be disastrous for small creators and scientists who can't get big time angel investors.
Try to think outside your own box, it's good for you.
I think it's a good thing. The Hollywood landscape is changing. Traditional television is dying (because of cord cutting, PVR ad skipping etc). Because of this Hollywood is less and less willing to take risks - relying heavily on big budged blockbusters with lots of explosions. A Kickstarter, or similar campaign, is a way for people to show that there is an audience for something and will be a valuable way for new/independent and niche productions to get made.
I'm not a Veronica Mars fan, but as a concept I don't think it's a bad idea.
I wonder if the folks making all of those Star Trek continuing voyages could finance this way. Paramount lets them get away with making the episodes, so long as they don't make any money from it. It must cost some money to make those episodes, which have production value better than the original.
What I think you're all forgetting here, is how hot Kristen Bell is.
Sanjay, hear hear!
I also agree that this is a good thing. Maybe this would be a low risk way to green light a good adaptation of some great books like "Stranger in a Strange Land," or a true to the novel version of "Starship Troopers." I would say, however, that I would feel more comfortable if the studio or another financial stakeholder were doing a matching funds agreement.
The studios now have a model where they get to retain all benefits and control, but don't actually have to put up their own money to guarantee it. Movie quality could take a real nosedive over something like this, because no one has to believe in a given vehicle or project anymore. No one is going to feel especially beholden to the standard 35 buck investor. Certainly not the budget priced temps that will be the camera crew. And the studios get to take credit for the ones that turn out, and to get free of the busts that are understandable now, being only created at Kickstarter level rather than as a full studio backed production.
I am baffled that Veronica Mars gets a movie and Firefly still isn't happening again. *cries like the fan boy he is* Come on guys!! I think we can get the actors to come back! lol