Amazing news for VMars fans last week! It was announced by Kickstarter that Veronica Mars surpassed 5.7 million in donations from nearly 100k individuals. Those donating ranged from hardcore fans of the show to large fans of the donation site Kickstarter. Veronica Mars made history by becoming the first film with a built-in fan base to achieve such a large amount of donations in 30 days. The original pitch from series creator Rob Thomas was $2 million.
The film had to undergo this unconventional way of funding because Warner Brothers was not willing to shell out the amount of money to create the film. Warner Brothers owns the trademark for Veronica Mars and all intellectual property. The studio claimed that the interest was simply not there, despite years upon years of the question coming up, “Will a Veronica Mars film ever be made?”
Kristen Bell, the original series star has shown her support for the show since its end with many tweets and mentions in her interviews throughout the years. Unlike many contemporaries who want to distance themselves from what they are most known for, Kristen Bell was adamant that she would return in an instant if the greenlight for the Veronica Mars film ever came about.
At the beginning of this year, Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell began hinting at a surprise to fans. Though they weren’t forthcoming with details initially, fans could tell that the two had a trick up their sleeve. On March 13, 2013, the Kickstarter dedicated to Veronica Mars opened for business. Rob Thomas explained how through lengthy discussions over the years and his persistence even when all hope was lost, Warner Brothers decided to give them a chance at raising funding on their own. Rob almost gave up on the idea that a Veronica Mars movie would ever be created, but was inspired when a friend introduced him to Kickstarter. This company had helped to fund many projects over the last few years, with musical projects at the forefront that included a much anticipated Amanda Palmer album & the first tour from the talented Alexz Johnson.
Independent films that didn’t have the help of a major studio had been at the forefront of Kickstarter’s crowd funding in the film category. Once this Kickstarter project came to fruition, film enthusiasts were worried that the project may become a precedent for more crowd funded films that major studios did not want to produce on their dime, specifically those with already built-in fanbases. While this is certainly a possibility that could be detrimental to the film industry, the Veronica Mars project could very well be the only film to garner such fan interest.
No one knows what the future holds for crowd funding and films with a built-in audience. What we do know is that the Veronica Mars will indeed be filmed. The project was greenlit the hour after it surpassed its initial goal of $2 million. Though it slowed down dramatically over the next few weeks, $5.7 million is more than enough to shoot the film and pay for its stars salary. Warner Brothers has agreed to take on the marketing budget and distribution of the film. Any individual donating over $15 to the project was rewarded with a digital copy of the film and a bevy of other rewards depending on the amount of the donation. For a show that averaged just 2.3 million viewers in its heyday, yet received rave reviews, this project has truly shown the power of crowd funding and the power of a cult classic.