Earlier: Six years ago, the TV show Veronica Mars ended its run. Then today creator Rob Thomas — along with Kristin Bell and cast — opened a Kickstarter fundraiser to finance a Veronica Marks movie. Within several hours, the fundraiser already surpassed the $1 million mark (wow!), well on its way to hitting the $2 million trigger to start production on the movie this summer.
Since Warner Bros. still owns the rights to Veronica Mars, Thomas said he approached them to see if they were game. “Kristen and I met with the Warner Bros. brass, and they agreed to allow us to take this shot. 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,” Thomas said.
In Kickstarter fashion, fans can donate to get rewards ranging from a movie T-shirt ($25) and a role as a background extra ($2,500) all the way up to naming a character ($6,500) and landing a speaking role ($10,000). As of this writing, most of cool rewards are already scooped up.
There are a couple reasons why this is potentially a very big deal. First, Kickstarter says this is the first time a movie has been crowdfunded on the platform with a studio’s blessing. If the movie is a commercial success, you can imagine how this approach to fundraising could spread. For studios, the act of funding the movie is test of fan support and leading indicator of success. For creative types, it tremendously lowers the barrier to pursue to projects. Social media makes the crowdfunding possible by connecting with the fan base.
(The entertaining pitch clip on Kickstarter)
Secondly, I can’t remember a Kickstarter that has raised so much money so quickly. It’s evidence that former TV shows — especially those with cult followings — have an untapped reserve of value. Even if you’re not Arrested Development, the long tail may be enough to fund profitable revivals, either in the box office, on TV or in purely digital form.
So keep an eye on “Veronica Mars” the movie. If it hits a home run financially, it has the potential to send shockwaves through the business.