You should never doubt the power of a fandom.
“Veronica Mars,” the short-lived detective drama which ran for three seasons on UPN/CW, was never even one of TV’s Top 100 most-watched series, but after its cancellation it managed to break new ground.
On Wednesday night, fans and supporters of the show about a wisecracking young sleuth (played by Kristen Bell) pledged more than $2 million to produce a “Veronica Mars” movie via Kickstarter.
The real kick is that the money was raised less than 12 hours after the fund-raising drive was announced on the funding platform.
Rob Thomas, creator and producer of the show, announced Wednesday morning that he and Bell had struck a deal with Warner Brothers, which owns the show’s property. Thomas told fans via twitter that they had 30 days to raise the $2 million for a shot at producing the film. By about 9 p.m. that night the goal was met, and pledges continued to come in on Day 2 (as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday, the project had been promised over $2.5 million by 42,000 backers.
Upon successful collection of the funds, the deal with Warner Bros. would have the movie getting a limited theatrical release in early 2014 and included marketing, promotion, and distribution paid for by the movie studio.
Kickstarter was founded in 2009 as a means of raising money for “creative projects” via Web crowd funding. Funds for documentary shorts like “Sun Come Up” and “Incident in New Baghdad” were reportedly funded by the platform and were both nominated for an Academy Award.
The first season of “Veronica Mars,” which premiered on the now defunct UPN in the fall of 2004, was watched by 2.5 million people, and followed the life of Mars, a high schooler in Neptune, California who moonlights as a detective under the mentorship of her private-eye dad.
“The more money we raise, the cooler movie we can make,” Thomas promised fans on the Kickstarter campaign page at the start of the fundraiser.
“A $2 million fundraising total probably means cross words are exchanged at the class reunion. $3 million? We can afford a full-on brawl. $10 million? Who knows… For some reason the Neptune High class reunion takes place on a nuclear submarine! A Hobbit shows up! There’s a Bollywood end-credit dance number! I’ve always wanted to direct Bill Murray…if that total goes high enough, I’ll bet the good folks at Warner Bros. will agree a sequel is a good idea.”
Rabid fans who donated thousands were entitled to perks based on their amount of donation. Someone who pledged $10,000, for example, was given a speaking role in the film, playing a waiter or waitress with a single line, “your check, sir.” Another fan donated $6,500, which entitled them to name a character whose name would be spoken by an actor at least once in the movie after being cleared by Warner Bros. legal team.
Bell will record 44 15-second personalized voicemail messages, one for each person who contributed $500 to the fund. She also will have to make 50 20-second personalized video greetings for the people who ponied of $600.