The Kickstarter Blog

A big day for fans

Way back in 2006, when Arrested Development was canceled for the second time, we thought Kickstarter could save it. At the time Kickstarter didn't exist — we were trying to get it off the ground, and it would be three years before we would — but as fans of the show we thought Kickstarter could help. So what if a TV network wanted to kill the show? Fans could band together and fund it themselves.

So we tried to make it happen. Perry got an introduction to David Cross (Tobias Fünke on the show) through a friend and told him about Kickstarter: the fans fund the show directly and Arrested Development keeps going. David liked the idea (enough that through this he became Kickstarter’s first investor), but he told Perry that Arrested Development couldn’t happen that way. There were too many hurdles and the entertainment industry was just too complex for it to work.

At the time David was right. But seven years later things are changing. Arrested Development is back thanks to Netflix. And yesterday saw the relaunch of Veronica Mars in stunning fashion.

Veronica Mars is a cult TV show created by Rob Thomas (Party Down) starring Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) as a young detective. It was canceled in 2007 after three seasons on UPN and its successor, the CW, prompting fans to bombard the network with candy. The Save Veronica Mars campaign raised more than $2,500, enough to buy 2,040 Mars bars, 4,848 Snickers Almond bars and 510 pounds of marshmallows – a nod to a marshmallow reference on the show — to protest the show's cancellation.

Rob soon dampened the fans’ hopes, saying, "It's over for good as a TV series." But Veronica Mars wouldn’t go away. It lived on on the Internet — in forums, in fan fiction, on YouTube, and especially on Twitter, where the marshmallows have been urging Kristen and Co. to reunite.

The actors kept the dream alive as well. Kristen put it this way: “I have never fallen so deeply in love with a character. We all became so close, and the cancellation of the show left a huge hole in my heart. I would have put on Veronica Mars: The Circus to bring it back.”

Over the years there have been hints about a reunion. Last week, Kristen and two other “Mars” stars were spotted together at a hockey game, cranking up the rumor mill. Was this actually going to happen?

Why yes, it just might. On Wednesday, Rob turned to the fans, mounting a Kickstarter campaign to bring Veronica Mars back to life, this time as a movie. The reaction so far has been overwhelming. “Veronica Mars” trended worldwide on Twitter, and the project quickly broke Kickstarter records, hitting its $2 million goal in less than 11 hours.

Matt Clipp, the first backer to comment on the project, said: "This movie has been a dream of mine ever since the series ended back in 2007. The best thing is that every time I click refresh on this page, the numbers keep rising. LET'S GET THIS THING MADE, VERONICA MARS FANS!!" Rodrigo Spotorno was more succinct: “You had me at ‘marshmallows.’"

Joi Weaver's response might be our favorite: "My best friends and I, when we lived together right after college, used to pile on our couch and watch the latest episode of Veronica Mars season 1 together. We laughed, screamed, and even cried. To me, the show meant friendship, courage, and girl power. I'll happily contribute just to say ‘thank you’ for those memories." 

We’re with you, Joi. Yesterday was an amazing day for Rob, Kristen, Matt, Rodrigo, Joi, and the thousands of other fans who wanted this to happen. They finally got to have their say, and boy did they ever. Congratulations to everyone involved! We're excited to see what happens next.

Comments

    1. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Alessandro Machi on March 14, 2013

      Seriously brilliant idea. I reference Arrested Development on my Fight to Save Men of a Certain Age campaign. My idea to save that show (actually it was Harry's Law as well that I suggested the idea for) was to issue a credit card with the name of the television show on it, and during the airing of the show, advertisers would make special offers to those who had the credit card that were only good for one evening.

      Feel free to swipe the idea. Time for a Veronica Mars credit card?

    2. Mar3b.small

      Creator Dustin Parker on March 14, 2013

      So can we get a Firefly kickstarter...

    3. Orko.small

      Creator Matt Powell on March 14, 2013

      Hush! You already got a Firefly movie.

    4. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Jenn Lau on March 14, 2013

      And your point is? There's never too much Firefly.

    5. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Ryan Davis on March 14, 2013

      Please will someone do this for Jericho, please.

    6. Profile_2012_cu_medium.small

      Creator Aaron Peterson on March 14, 2013

      "enough that through this he became Kickstarter’s first investor" Awesome!

    7. The_interactive-online-games_logo.small

      Creator Interactive-Online-Games.com on March 14, 2013

      Very cool so see the series get funded, the project still has almost a month to go so it will be interesting to see how much it will be able to raise.

    8. Missing_small

      Creator Kenny Horbach on March 14, 2013

      in about 2 weeks when they confirm they'll ship dvd,shirts outside US , then i think we will hit the 5 million barrier...

    9. Caen_web_square.small

      Creator Caen Contee on March 14, 2013

      I also went immediately to Firefly... same cult-following...

    10. Missing_small

      Creator Marissa Chapman on March 14, 2013

      It is great to know that so many people share my passion and excitement. I love the show and could never understand why it got cancelled in the first place. They say it was because no one watched it, but honestly I believe that the network failed to advertise it properly, because once I saw it on television one time, I went to buy the season. I remember it use to play on a wed in the middle of the day and honestly who is not busy during that time. This show was made for mostly high school and college kids (thats what I was at the time). Therefore who would be home to watch it! I was at work the night I saw it on tv. lol Everyone that I have shared the seasons with fell in love instantly and stayed glued to their couch until the last episode was over. When I watched the very last episode, it left me wanting more. It was like I got broken up with and I was still in love. lol I am so so so happy that they will be making a movie, because we need closure. lol I know the movie will be awesome.

    11. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Catherine Moses on March 14, 2013

      Firefly has even more cast and crew that are needed elsewhere. Yes I love it, but it'll never be back.

    12. Frankpittcrop.small

      Creator Frankie on March 14, 2013

      To quote a certain fictional British military intelligence operative : "Never say never!"

    13. Missing_small

      Creator Anna on March 14, 2013

      I came across in the UK after it had been cancelled and couldn't understand why such a great show had been cut.

    14. Missing_small

      Creator Graham Carpenter on March 14, 2013

      I would throw some money at a Firefly kickstarter.

    15. 7850b7a7f34cceb081631faebdd4752b.small

      Creator Charlie Rise on March 14, 2013

      This sets a horrible precedent.

      Warner Bros could have easily funded this the traditional way. Instead, they get the fans to cover the budget, get free PR from the fans' actions, keep the distribution rights and get nothing but sweet profit with a home video release where they can easily get fans, who paid $35 for a digital download, to double dip.

      I hope you all enjoy the future of billion dollar corporations passing all the risk off onto the people while keeping all of the $$$ benefits of doing business.

      What a victory /sarcasm

    16. 2014_01_12_meetup_picture.small

      Creator Aaron Grommesh on March 14, 2013

      Woah, some people here obviously know nothing about their favorite shows.

      Firefly has a movie and is finished. (As pointed out by others in the comments.)

      Jericho was picked up for a small second season and the show is finished.

      And the reason why Warner Bros. didn't pick it up isn't because they couldn't fund it, but because the chances of them actually recouping the money is infinitesimally small. And $2M is enough to make the movie when all of the main actors agree not to take a cut until after the movie has made money. Serenity had a $39M budget, which it did make back after DVD sales. Making Veronica Mars for what is effectively nothing makes it easier to make the money back, but the production values are going to be very minimal.

    17. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Maxwell Thiemens on March 14, 2013

      Alright, lets get the firefly rolling and I'll probably drop a thousand x_x

    18. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Henry Unger on March 14, 2013

      Charlie, I get to differ. From a business model perspective, it is unlikely that Warner Bros. is in the business of doing projects of this size. In addition, we don't know what the provisions are in whatever agreement exists between Rob Thomas and Warner Bros, but I doubt that in this case WB is going to rake it in. I think projects like this represent a great opportunity for fans to put their money where their mouths are to continue projects where networks' expectations are not realized but there is still an audience whose expectation are.

      Aaron, you can't compare the budget for a special-effects-laden sc-fi feature like Serenity with Veronica Mars. Take a look at the quality of movies that are submitted to festivals that are done on a shoestring with wonderful production values.

    19. Missing_small

      Creator Edward Millner on March 14, 2013

      Serenity barely broke even. No matter what the fan fervor (and I am one of them), that kind of dismal returns kills any thought of a sequel.

    20. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Rachel Hockema Haymes on March 14, 2013

      Anyone who is worried about what kind of "precedence" this sets is obviously not a fan and has never loved a show/movie enough to warrant this. I watched all three season of Veronica Mars and was devastated when the CW chose to cancel it, even though it had more viewers than other shows they chose to keep. It was a show that was witty, smart, and funny, and it was cancelled so that they could air a reality TV show about The Pussycat Dolls...really? I have not watched a single show on the CW since, and I never will. The fact that we were left on a cliffhanger just added insult to injury. As cliche as this sounds, Veronica Mars is more than a TV show to me, as it is to millions of others.

      Honestly, I believe WB only signed off on this idea because they never thought it would work. I hope that they are all paying attention and that this sends a message about what fans can do when they love something enough.

    21. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator AriZone on March 14, 2013

      Next movie should be titled "Firefly in Deadwood" ! :)

    22. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Sarah Eli on March 14, 2013

      Amen Rachel!!!!

    23. Missing_small

      Creator Kristin DeMontigny on March 14, 2013

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    24. Missing_small

      Creator Kristin DeMontigny on March 14, 2013

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    25. Missing_small

      Creator Kristin DeMontigny on March 14, 2013

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    26. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Mike Kim on March 14, 2013

      My friends and I chat about Firefly all the time. I'd love to see that resurrected as a series and not a feature film...even a web series would be great as long as Joss and the original crew get involved...I'd back that project in a heartbeat!

    27. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Alex Woodbob Sleight on March 14, 2013

      Too bad it's too late for twin peaks :( Lynch says he's retired from film, Bob died, and we'll never know what happened to dale cooper after that last episode. The grim, depressing truth.

    28. Missing_small

      Creator GHRiz on March 14, 2013

      WB signed off on the idea because they had nothing to lose. They will invest a few 100K in marketing and distribution and rake in millions of pure profit, and you know what... there's nothing wrong with that, in principle. It's their show. They took the risks and put it out there in the first place, and they get to reap the longer term rewards when something like this happens, even if they're too short-sighted to make it happen themselves. The profit for the kickstarter backers is not monetary, it's seeing the art that they know needs to be made, being made.

      In the long run, however, this is one more nail in the coffin of the traditional model of media production. The only reason WB is involved at all, is because the original series dates back to a time when an original series HAD to be on TV... that was the only real, viable medium available. That's no longer true. In the future, great art will be made independently, distributed digitally, and monetized through immediate fan support, with all the ownership rights remaining with the creators, and not the studio middlemen. When the time comes to make a movie for a popular property, the fans can again fund it, but in the future, all the profit will flow back to the creators, and continue the cycle. This is a good thing. This is what Kickstarter is all about.

    29. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Alessandro Machi on March 14, 2013

      Awesome comment, Rachel.

    30. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator gabriella reis on March 14, 2013

      Mr. Thomas, I am excited and on board in financially giving what I can to have my all time favorite show be brought to the big screen! One and only request I make is this...give me some Logan please! I beg you to take the 3 seasons in consideration in making this movie. I don't want a 10 years later movie and I bet many other fans don't want that either. Keep it honest to the developments of the last season. I just don't want to see a completely different mo vie and cast from what the show was and wonder...what happened to our beloved characters. Thank you so much for giving us fans the amazing opportunity to be part of the greatest directed, scripted, acted show on television!

    31. Missing_small

      Creator David Durant on March 14, 2013

      The problem isn't that the funding for Firefly wouldn't happen (I'd probably end up kicking in $500 easy) it's partially that Joss and the actors are extremely busy and partly that Serenity was _terrible_. I loved FF more than any other show ever but I'm not sure I'd trust Joss to write another script.

    32. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Stephanie Snowflake Sparkles on March 14, 2013

      Pushing Daisies needs to get a Kickstarter campaign started!

    33. Missing_small

      Creator Tyler Foster on March 14, 2013

      The people who think Warner Bros. is exploiting the fans here miss the fact that Warner Bros. wouldn't make this movie because it wasn't going to bring in enough revenue, and...well, you know, nothing has changed. Say the Kickstarter ends with 100,000 backers (more than twice what it has now). If each of those people bought a $10 movie ticket to see it, it'd rake in...$1m at the box office, half the budget. It's going to play theaters, but that doesn't mean Warner Bros. is gonna roll it out on 2000 screens. It's gonna play 100 event screenings and live life on Blu-Ray and DVD, where maybe 100 to 150k copies will sell across Blu-Ray, digital, and DVD. Even at roughly $15 apiece (average of $20 for the Blu and $10 for the download), that's still less than the cost of making it, minus marketing, manufacturing, and distribution. It was and still is financially unwise for WB to fund the movie, which is why this is the situation where everyone wins: the fans get the content, which is what matters, and the studio doesn't lose money on it.

    34. Missing_small

      Creator Nathan Myers and Larry Robertson on March 14, 2013

      Seriously, could a Firefly without Wash even be worth wishing for? The other characters were amusing, intriguing, or hot, but Alan Tudyk was the show's heart and soul.

    35. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Jennifer Bryant on March 14, 2013

      I'm pretty sure it will reach more than 100,000 backers in 30 days. Look what it did in 2!? This is THAT kind of movie...the kind people watch 2-3 times in the theatre and will pay for any DVD blu ray they have. If this many fans can get over $3m in 2 days, WB can really say that the fan base wasn't there? To me this isn't about funding the movie, but proving what I knew all along:the fans are there in droves. Waiting for closure and a movie that never came. We will do whatever it takes to bring VM back. I love to show WB that we are here and real and have been waiting for this opportunity!!

    36. Gozer_noname.small

      Creator Celeste Hotaling-Lyons on March 14, 2013

      I don't even care if the idiots at the WB make money off of this; I just want to see Enrico Colantoni playing Daddy Mars again. I'm not a huge fan of cutting off my nose to spite my face, Charlie Rise. If it makes you happy, I actually doubt they're going to rake much of anything in. I could be wrong, but I believe this will be a wonderful boutique film and not a blockbuster.

      Besides, if they do, we'll never know about it because the only creative thing about Warner Brothers is their accounting practices.

    37. Face_for_newspapers_2.small

      Creator Amanda Roberts on March 14, 2013

      I think it's great that so many new people are joining Kickstarter just to fund the Veronica Mars project simply because many of those people will click around the site and fund other projects as well. I have no interest in Veronica Mars myself, but as a Kickstarter fan, Kickstarter couldn't have gotten a better promo bump.

    38. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Max Eugene on March 15, 2013

      "Each and every Kickstarter project is the independent creation of someone like you!" is that still true?

    39. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Max Eugene on March 15, 2013

      And please educate me on how a $4,000 project like ours Teppy (http://kck.st/XqDrRf) which has managed to raise $1,080 with 9 days left is to compete with a known actress, a known director and a billion dollar studio?

    40. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator F Thomas Simpson on March 15, 2013

      Hey Max, it;s the way of the jungle!

    41. Missing_small

      Creator Elvis Deane on March 15, 2013

      I'm happy that fans of Veronica Mars will get the closure to the series that they hoped for. I've got friends contributing to this and they're ecstatic they're getting the film. If this had happened way back when Jericho was cancelled, I'd have been excited too. But as Max and others are saying, this is a strange step for crowdfunding.

      Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites looked like a place for the little guys with good ideas to be able to fund their projects. Rob Thomas has been an established TV writer and showrunner for years. His career was already kickstarted. Same for Kristen Bell and the rest of the cast. Warner Bros. is going to make some money without having to invest much. With luck, some of those Veronica Mars fans who are new to Kickstarter who invested in this will get the newsletter emails and fund some other projects by independents.

      I hope WB and Rob Thomas kick some of the money they make in profits from the film back into the Kickstarter community that's made this possible. It'd be a shame if these established players just dropped into the sandbox here to take what they can without giving back.

    42. Missing_small

      Creator Aaron Wright on March 15, 2013

      Max, I hate to say it, but you're not competing for the same dollars. The people contributing to this are not the same people as those who might contribute to yours. I'm contributing to Veronica Mars because I like the show. If that project didn't exist, I'm not going to sit there and think "Well, I better give my money to some weird short, then". Though they're both film projects, I'm not seeing any overlap or "competition" here.

    43. Missing_small

      Creator Helen on March 15, 2013

      I agree with Aaron. I joined today to contribute to Veronica Mars and also found a nifty gadget that I liked and contributed to. But...I have no interest at this time in contributing to any other film projects. You never know though. Something else that interests me may come along again someday. (I too would contribute to Jericho or Firefly.)

    44. Missing_small

      Creator Helen on March 15, 2013

      P.S. can't wait to see how much this raises in the next 28 days!

    45. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Joel Kreisel on March 15, 2013

      Max, people have done a fair amount of statistical analysis on these kinds of projects (starting after the Double Fine Adventure), and the result has always shown that large, high-profile projects are GOOD for small independent projects like yours. People who would never have visited Kickstarter or donated to anything come in and discover new projects they might also be interested in. It does NOT take money away from other projects.

      But frankly, with that kind of attitude, you're not going to win a lot of support here.

    46. Missing_small

      Creator Megan Haikes on March 15, 2013

      Whedon himself put a damper the Firefly/Serenity talk so that he's not asked about it non-stop. http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/joss-whedon-on-kickstarter-and-firefly

      "Adam B Vary: So, what does this mean for Firefly?

      Joss Whedon: That's what everybody wants to know about. Uh, yeah. My fourth feeling when I read about [the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign] was a kind of dread. Because I realized the only thing that would be on everybody's mind right now. I've said repeatedly that I would love to make another movie with these guys, and that remains the case. It also remains the case that I'm booked up by Marvel for the next three years, and that I haven't even been able to get Dr. Horrible 2 off the ground because of that. So I don't even entertain the notion of entertaining the notion of doing this, and won't. Couple years from now, when Nathan [Fillion]'s no longer [on] Castle and I'm no longer the Tom Hagen of the Marvel Universe and making a giant movie, we might look and see where the market is then. But right now, it's a complete non-Kickstarter for me."

    47. Silver.small

      Creator Silver on March 15, 2013

      No Firefly in the foreseeable future... what a letdown.

    48. Missing_small

      Creator Kaeroku on March 15, 2013

      I am ON - BOARD with Firefly which keeps getting mentioned. If any show deserves it, Firefly is it.

    49. Fb_profile_picture.small

      Creator Max Eugene on March 15, 2013

      F Thomas Simpson, indeed this is the way of the Jungle and I agree. In parallel there's a reason why the romans loved the gladiator games 'cause we do too.:-) But Joel Kreisel, can you give me the numbers on how many people who have pledged to Veronica Mars so far and somehow have managed to commit themselves to unknown projects here? I noticed how you did not back your claim with any numbers whatsoever. In fact you went on to chastise me. Thank you. You are very kind. It could have been worse. :-) But I am ready to be schooled here at any time, just show me the numbers and your sources. Interestingly enough people are talking about shows that have been canceled and not the other projects on here since this Veronica Mars fracas. More and more it seems like Kickstarter is a venue for those of us who are already well connected. It's nice to know that now. And Kickstarter is certainly the big winner here as well. Anyway, I believe that people should do as they please with their money because it's their money. That's the downside of democracy sometimes.:-)

    50. Desert-dweller.small

      Creator Urabutln on March 15, 2013

      I'm going to shill for a service here, but for those of you outside of the US who want to pledge, something like MyUS.com may be your answer...