A fan-funded kickstarter campaign raised $5.7 million toward a big-screen adaptation of the UPN/The CW television series Veronica Mars. Owing to technical difficulties, many contributing fans are beginning to question their donations, E! reported on Monday.
Entertainment Weekly explained, “The PG-13 pic was also released simultaneously on VOD — free for Kickstarter backers who [had] contributed $35 or more to the record-breaking campaign, but also available for purchase or rental through digital download services such as iTunes or Amazon.” So what’s the problem? Many dedicated fans were unable to download their free digital copy.
Warner Bros. immediately responded to fans’ concerns. “The vast majority of Veronica Mars backers who attempted to redeem their code had a successful experience. A communication was sent to all backers yesterday from Rob Thomas telling them to get in touch with Veronica Mars technical support if they were experiencing problems,” Warner Bros. said in a statement Saturday. “Backers who had technical issues were assisted directly by the Veronica Mars customer support team while those who expressed a preference to have the film on a different format received the communication below offering to reimburse them for the cost of purchasing the film in that format. We are, of course, working diligently to ensure that all the Veronica Mars backers have a great experience.”
In spite of a few setbacks, the Veronica Mars release was a testament to the success of the relatively new fund-raising initiative, the kickstarter. Veronica Mars opened in select theaters only; even so, the film stole the number 10 spot at the box office and earned up to $2 million in revenue.
“Our result starting with our Thursday fan events was $260K. You add that together with our weekend for a total of $2 million from 291 theaters? That’s pretty significant,” Jeff Goldstein, Warner Bros.’ executive vice president of theatrical distribution, told Entertainment Weekly. Talk of a sequel, at this point, is only speculation. The continuation of Veronica Mars will depend on ongoing sales and support.
“One thing that people should do when it comes to crowdfunding is to make sure that they can legally use it, because the regulations are different for each country,” explains Cidnee Stephen, President of Strategies for Success. What’s creative about crowdfunding is that you’re building your fanbase, and from a marketing perspective, you’re building your fanbase before you even launch.”