In what may be prove to be a viable funding option for programming with a loyal audience that doesn’t quite make it into a mainstream success (ahem: Google Reader, take note), Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas has raised $2.4 million through a Kickstarter project in less than 24 hours. Fans of the canceled TV show put their money where their mouths are and broke records for the amount of money raised, surpassing the $2 million goal to see the series developed into a movie in less than a day.
“Warner Bros. still owns Veronica Mars and we would need their blessing and cooperation to pull this off. 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. So this is it. This is our shot. I believe it’s the only one we’ve got. It’s nerve-wracking. I suppose we could fail in spectacular fashion, but there’s also the chance that we completely revolutionize how projects like ours can get made.” – Rob Thomas
Well, it seems the fans weren’t going to allow failure as an option, and the “last shot” worked in spectacular fashion. Backers and money are rolling in faster than anyone can keep up with (roughly 20 minutes passed between the $2.38 million raised in the screenshot above, and the $2.4 million mark). All of the more expensive backer rewards, including a speaking role as a waiter or waitress in the film for a $10,000 pledge, are completely sold out. While the lowest priced reward option (a PDF of the script for a $10 pledge) has drawn in more than 5700 backers, the most popular donation amounts are $35 and $50, which are $10-25 higher than the most common donation amount.
Given the rate at which backers are coming in, there just might be enough to have the whole thing take place on a nuclear submarine with Hobbitts doing a Bollywood dance at the end (read Rob Thomas’ letter to potential donors, and that will all make sense).
Given the low ratings that led to the series’ cancellation, the Veronica Mars movie may not be a runway box office hit. The point of the campaign, however, seems to be that there’s plenty of interest and plenty of money to be made even if the film never goes further than its core group of fans.