Veronica Mars Kickstarter Earns $1.4 Million In One Day: What Could That Mean For Other Cancelled Fan Favorites?
Ever since UPN canceled the outstanding Veronica Mars back in 2007, creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell have been keeping hope alive that the whip-smart series might return in some form, perhaps as a movie. But the argument against has always been that there weren’t enough Veronica Mars fans out there to make it it worthwhile. Today Veronica Mars re-entered the pop culture landscape in a major way, and revealed that Hollywood had been seriously underestimating Ms. Mars, and her fans. Earlier this morning Kristen Bell that Rob Thomas had taken to the crowdfunding site Kickstarter for a little something called “The Veronica Mars Movie Project.”
Their target goal was $2 million. As of my writing this, at 4:34 p.m. CST, they’ve raised $1.4 million, from a total of 21, 709 backers, and with 30 days to go. Hey Hollywood, are you listening now?
If this succeeds — and at this point it seems inevitable that they’ll hit the $2 million mark and keep on going — this could set a genuinely groundbreaking precedent. We’ve seen plenty of Kickstarter projects where amateurs stir up interest by laying out their plans and winning backers. We’ve also seen established names call on their fans to support a new project. But, as far as I know, this is the first time a cancelled show with a cult following has had the chance to resurrect years later, entirely because of the fans.
What could this mean for other long-gone shows that still have a passionate and dedicated fan base? The obvious connection is Firefly/Serenity, but then we have to consider that Serenity had a reported budget of $40 million. Raising $2 million in one day is damned impressive, but there’s simply no precedent for how effective this sort of thing could be. You can bet there will be many eyes on the Veronica Mars Kickstarter, both in Hollywood and elsewhere.
But even if the prospect of fans committing the budget a top-notch, effects-heavy movie like Serenity might seem like quite a stretch, they might not have to. What if a project begins life as a Kickstarter, the fans raise a decent chunk of cash, and then the creative talents involved take that to the studios. “Here’s what we want to do, here’s this many people that will be guaranteed ticket sales, and who are willing to put their hard-earned cash up to help make it happen.” With that vote of confidence, perhaps it might make risk-averse studios willing to take a chance since they wouldn’t have to bear the full financial brunt.
And even if a Serenity-level project remains a pipe dream, there are plenty of projects that could come to life — or come back to life — without needing the budget of a Hollywood tentpole action movie. Veronica Mars obviously lends itself to a smaller budget, since it’s set in modern day and is largely character focused. But even more ambitious science fiction or fantasy projects can make due with a lot less cash than they used to, thanks to the continuing advance of technology. Who’s to say that we couldn’t see a crowdfunded Serenity sequel at some point down the line? Or a new Babylon 5 series backed by its fans? Or hell, even a big-screen version of some beloved sci-fi literature classic? All it takes is the right talents and enough people convinced to back their vision.
Whatever happens with the Veronica Mars Movie Project, this is just another fascinating example of how technology is fundamentally changing the media landscape. We’ve seen Family Guy and Futurama returned from the dead because the fans spoke loudly. Arrested Development is getting a new season because Netflix saw and opportunity and jumped on. What comes next? I can’t wait to find out.
You can check out the Veronica Mars Kickstarter vid below. If you need me, I’ve got some money to pledge…