Spike comedy series Blue Mountain State was cancelled in 2012 after three seasons, but a second life on Netflix and Hulu reinvigorated fan interest. Now the show’s creators are hoping to channel that demand into a big-screen film continuation with a Kickstarter campaign launched today. “We’ve seen fan activity on social media since the show ended and went on to Netflix, and we’ve seen the audience continue to grow through that platform,” said Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), who played high-strung All-American linebacker Thad Castle on the show and is aboard to produce the film project with co-creators Chris Romano and Eric Falconer. “When they find it on Netflix, they also find out it’s no longer airing on Spike or being made. A lot of them are asking for another season. We didn’t get our senior year and we want to do that.”
Ritchson, Romano and Falconer seek to raise a minimum of $1.5M to produce a Blue Mountain State movie based on the series, an idea that’s been brewing since Spike cancelled the show. Producer Lionsgate TV passed on doing a feature film but sold the rights back to Ritchson and company and retain a first-look option on the potential movie.
Taking a beloved TV series to the big screen through crowdfunding worked well for recent Kickstarter successes Veronica Mars, which raised $5.7M and opened day-and-date via Warner Bros last month, and Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here, which raised $3.1M and opens July 18 through Focus Features. Both high-profile films, however, also encountered their own high-profile snafus. Braff, who received additional gap financing from Worldview Entertainment and sold the pic to Focus for $2.75M, caught flak for tapping fans as financial backers, some of whom were upset when they couldn’t attend its Sundance premiere. Veronica Mars incited fan furor last month when donors were unable to download the film as promised.
“We’ve looked hard at those campaigns from inception to promotion and fulfillment of rewards and what could have been done better,” said Ritchson. “We have the advantage of knowing where those errors lie.”
The trio’s Kickstarter campaign includes reward offerings designed for fans ranging from personalized tweets ($10) and Vine videos ($75) to signed posters ($100), thank-you credits in the film ($200), premiere tickets ($750) and a speaking role in the movie ($10K). A video teasing the campaign last week digitally inserted Ritchson’s Thad Castle into a Jimmy Kimmel “appearance” to announce the fundraising efforts.
Today’s Kickstarter debut included a unique campaign video “directed” by Castle, and so far the BMC crew has raised more than $175K with 29 days to go: