Never underestimate a dedicated fanbase. We’ve all seen the passionate Twilight fans (or TwiHards, if you will) queuing for hours at premieres to catch a glimpse of R-Pattz, and there’s pretty much a daily trending topic on Twitter dedicated to Justin Bieber by his fanatic young fanbase (even his hamster dying warranted a worldwide trend on Twitter). But fans of cult TV show Veronica Mars – which has been off the air for six years – took it to a whole new level by raising $2 million in less than 11 hours to fund a movie. As of writing this, there are still two weeks to donate money, and more than $3.7 million has been given to the project by fans.
Veronica Mars, the show about a student private investigator, ran for three seasons before being cancelled in 2007 due to low ratings. The shows star, Kristen Bell, and its creator, Rob Thomas, have always been vocal about their desire to make a movie, and the show has always had a very passionate fanbase. Their passion was put to the test when Thomas and Bell launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the Veronica Mars film. The goal was $2 million, and everyone who donates will receive a reward based on the size of their donation. $10 gets you a PDF of the movie script, and if you can splash out $10,000, you’ll land a speaking role in the film as a waiter.
Thomas had pitched the Veronica Mars movie to Warner Bros, who own the rights to the show, before, but it was turned down. However, they were happy to give the go ahead if Thomas found a way to finance it. And it looks like he has. The response to the campaign was overwhelming. “There were a few minutes of nothing happening,” he says. “Then in an hour, watching that ticker go was mesmerising. I had an attention span of, like, four seconds because everything on my computer screen I wanted to look at the same time. The Twitter feed was going crazy, the emails were going crazy and then watching that Kickstarter total go up.”
Kickstarter, which was founded in 2009, has raised more than $500 million for creative projects. This year, the documentary short film “Inocente” became the first Kickstarter backed project to win an Oscar. After the success of the Veronica Mars movie, theatre troupe Starkid has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for their new musical ($85,146 has currently been donated by fans) and web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries has currently received $241,280 to release the series on DVD. The Veronica Mars movie, however, is clearly its most successful project to date. One fan writes on the site, ‘‘I’m so happy to help make this happen! And the CW can clearly suck it since they thought none of us would go see this movie! We’re not only gonna see it, we’re helping make it happen! Way to go, Marshmallows! 25% there!”
The Veronica Mars Kickstarter project proves that fans really do have a lot of power. What long gone TV show would you like to see secure funding for a movie?