With quick success comes slightly-less-quick backlash.
A mere four hours after the Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter campaign launched, the project had raised $1 million: half the movie's modest $2 million budget (and 29 days left to go). Proof that there is, in fact, a faction of TV fans so passionate that they will shell out their hard-earned money for something they've hoped would happen for the six years since their favorite teen detective went off the air for good. UPDATE: That was fast. The project is now fully funded, having raised its lofty $2 million goal in less than nine hours.
But before one would have the chance to celebrate the fact that a Veronica Mars movie is actually happening (!!!!), there were plenty more people who were quick to point out the downsides to the whole Kickstarter thing. For one: Why are we giving our money to millionaires? Can't they spend their own cash on this project?
Here are a few reasons why people are so mad, and, from a die-hard VM fan (and probable donor to the project, full disclosure — I want a T-shirt!), a few reasons why they shouldn't be:
1. Kickstarter Is for Indies
One of the original intentions of the site was to circumvent the hierarchical studio system and allow deserving projects from lesser-known filmmakers to be made. This is a big studio project. No fair! But crowdsourcing funding for this widely-known property is in the same vein as that original directive — this is a project borne out of the passion of the people behind it and the devoted fans who have waited patiently for years. Why is that any less worthy of funding than something else? Even if a fraction of the VM donors end up perusing Kickstarter and throwing some cash toward another deserving project, we all win.
2. Kristen Bell Is Rich — Why Doesn't She Fund It?
Releasing a movie theatrically costs much more than the budget required to shoot it. In addition to showing Warner Bros., which owns the rights to Veronica Mars, that there's actually fan interest, fundraising the shooting budget also justifies the cost of distributing the film (which WB has already agreed to do). Besides, the cast members have gone on to plenty of other successful projects, and with a budget this small are working for scale. They're taking a pay cut and donating their time to make this happen — which isn't necessarily footing the bill, but it's not mooching off of completely willing donors, either.
3. If Fans Are Funding the Movie, They Should Get the Profits
When traditional investors decide to fund a film, they're coming at it from a business perspective. But the setup of a Kickstarter campaign is entirely different. Think of it more as a presale — depending on how much you donate, you can get a T-shirt, a script, a digital copy of the movie, and more. Or maybe it's more like an online petition, but people are actually putting their money behind it. Either way, you know what you're signing up for. If you don't like the way it's organized, don't participate.
4. The Movie Could Be S**t
One of the main concerns regarding Kickstarter funding in general is that you are paying for something without any knowledge of whether it'll be good or bad. At least when you see a movie in the theater you've presumably had access to reviews, etc. But who ever said studio-backed movies aren't terrible? Even if Warner Bros. was funding the movie, there's no guarantee it would actually be good. Do you want a movie or not? Would you rather have a crappy VM movie or none at all? And just because the movie has a low budget doesn't mean the quality won't be low too. Garden State was made for a reported $2.5 million, and it had a quality cast, totally not-shitty production value, and an excellent soundtrack. It can be done! It's not like Veronica Mars is an intricate, SFX-laden undertaking. There's no reason to believe creator Rob Thomas can't put out something equally great.
5. If WB Didn't Believe, Why Should We?
From all the interviews Thomas and Bell have given over the years, the reason the movie didn't happen wasn't necessarily because WB didn't believe in the project itself — it's that WB wasn't sure the audience was there. If the company thought the quality of the script or story was bad, it wouldn't have granted Thomas and Bell permission to actually make the film. If you're so afraid of sullying your favorite show's memory with a so-so movie, then don't see it! (We wish we'd taken that advice before shelling out $13 for the second Sex and the City movie.)
Have you already donated to the Kickstarter, or do you morally oppose its very existence?
Follow Jean on Twitter @hijean
[Photo Credit: Hollywood.com]