2ND UPDATE, 5:55 PM: It took just 10 hours for Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell‘s Veronica Mars movie to zoom past its Kickstarter goal of $2 million, with a full 30 days to go to raise additional cash on the crowdfunding site. That’s testament to the power of a cult fandom to rally behind a property, even if some are wary of the precedent it sets for studios entering (and profiting from) the crowdfunding space. It will be interesting to see how Warner Bros. pitches in as Thomas eyes a summer start. I’m told the extent of WB’s involvement at present is in aiding with distribution, marketing, publicity and legal via Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, which will help with a limited theatrical release followed by On Demand via cable and satellite providers as well as digital retailers.
PREVIOUS, 12:30 PM: Only four and a half hours into its fundraising campaign, the Veronica Mars movie became the fastest to hit $1 million in Kickstarter history. Tweeted the crowdfunding platform: @kickstarter: Wow. Veronica Mars (@RobThomas @IMKristenBell) reached $1m in 4 hours 24 minutes, a new Kickstarter record. Looks like the cult series could reach its goal even faster than anticipated. $2 million by suppertime?
PREVIOUS, 10:54 AM: Fans of the UPN-CW cult series Veronica Mars have been hoping for a big-screen return since the show was cancelled after three seasons in 2007. After years of dead ends, an official Kickstarter campaign launched by creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell this morning is gaining traction at a rate so fast a Veronica Mars movie could be funded by tomorrow. According to Thomas, rights holder Warner Bros gave its blessing if at least $2 million was raised for the project via crowdsourcing. “Kristen and I met with the Warner Bros brass, and they agreed to allow us to take this shot”, Thomas wrote on the project’s fundraising page. “They were extremely cool about it, as a matter of fact. Their reaction was, if you can show there’s enough fan interest to warrant a movie, we’re on board”. If funded, the pic will shoot this summer eyeing a 2014 release, with Warner Bros aiding in distribution.
Kickstarter is primarily used by artists seeking backing for independent productions, and not studio-connected projects. Warner Bros resisted giving Thomas a green light on continuing Veronica Mars for years despite its loyal and vocal fandom, which mobilized grassroots efforts of support when ratings flagged in the series’ last season and again after its cancellation. Pledge prizes offered by the Veronica Mars Kickstarter range from a PDF of the shooting script for $10 to a speaking role in the film — which was snagged within the first hour of the campaign for $10,000. Donation levels also include a personalized video message from Bell, a digital copy of the finished film via Flixster, a private hometown screening, set visits during filming, and the chance to name a character in the film.
Here’s a video made by Bell and the Veronica Mars cast promoting the campaign: