Ten hours after Kristen Bell first tweeted about the Kickstarter campaign to finance a Veronica Mars movie, the film hit its goal of $2 million. In fact, as of this publish time, it’s hovering around $2.6 million, and from all the reports I’m reading on the Internet, the Kickstarter campaign has CHANGED THE MOVIE INDUSTRY IRREVOCABLY AND FOREVER.
I wouldn’t get too invested in the idea that the industry has been permanently altered, and that from now on, audiences will throw free money at huge movie studios to finance their favorite projects. The Veronica Mars project is a special one — one with a huge, rabid following of people very connected to those characters — and it seems very unlikely that Warner Brothers or Lionsgate is going to be able to finance films with $2 or $5 million of free seed money for a project like Blair Witch IV or even an original property, not without providing a better return on investment than free T-shirts or mugs.
The Arrested Development movie could’ve pulled this off; a Party Down movie almost certainly could; a Chuck movie seems less likely (contrary to Zachary Levi’s joke-y tweet). People will invest if they have an emotional connection to the project, and if they want to be able to boast about their participation. One of those films that very well could raise the necessary money is Terriers, and though he’s talked about it vaguely in the past, Shawn Ryan is definitely exploring the idea now. As he tweeted yesterday: “Very interested to see how this Veronica Mars kickstarter goes. Could be a model for a Terriers wrap up film.”
That is most certainly a likelihood, although spoilsports will no doubt tarnish much of the luster on these Kickstarter campaigns by calling it “corporate opportunism,”. That most certainly wasn’t the case for Veronica Mars. That was pushed by Bell and Rob Thomas, but it’s very possible that studio executives could highjack and abuse the Kickstarter intent in the future.
In the meantime, let’s just celebrate the fact that there will be a Veronica Mars movie, which could lead to a Terriers movie and a Party Down movie, or a Freaks and Geeks 20-year-reunion, but hopefully not a Green Lantern sequel.