Mark today down in film history as the moment everything changed for Hollywood, as the Veronica Mars movie campaign is showing the studios that they're no longer in charge of deciding which projects are green-lit, even for mainstream entertainment and properties they own. Crowd-funding is not just for indies anymore, and while Veronica Mars was notable enough for having the highest goal amount ever on Kickstarter ($2 million), it looks to be on track to actually reach that amount within 24 hours. As of this post going live, it's already reached more than $1.8 million!
After today, it won't be surprising to hear about other niche film projects hitting the crowdfunding sites. Browncoats are probably already celebrating the possibility of this signaling the return of Serenity/Firefly. Likewise, here's our chance to show the suits we actually want a Wonder Woman movie and Guillermo del Toro's At the Mountains of Madness and A Confederacy of Dunces and Ghostbusters 3 (?). That discussion post from last June on long-ago-promised movies that we wish would escape development hell is no longer just wishful thinking.
Oh, and I just got this image in my head of Terry Gilliam standing on a beach surrounded by Goonies ripping up a contract shouting, "there'll be no more studio control today or ever again!"
I've actually never put money into a crowd-sourced project, but if there's anything I'd start off with it's a new Terry Gilliam movie that he gets final cut on. Don't you kind of wish this sort of thing existed when Orson Welles and Stanley Kubrick were still alive (Spielberg's recently announced resurrection of Kubrick's failed Napoleon project reminds us of this)? Of course, it could also be just as hard for some niche filmmakers to get stuff made. Two million dollars may be a lot of money for Kickstarter, but it's not a lot for many other movies -- Serenity cost 20 times as much and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which didn't appease even some Gilliam fans, was even more (25 years ago, too). And there's absolutely no way crowd-funding can raise enough for At the Mountains of Madness.
Still, it's worth wondering what kinds of projects are genuinely feasible. Comedy sequels, most likely (Zoolander, MacGruber, Wet Hot American Summer...), and other modestly priced films related to cult properties, like maybe The Professional 2 but definitely not The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Then again, given the speed of this Veronica Mars thing, we have no clue what kind of budget is too high yet.
What movie that the studios won't fund themselves should be financed through Kickstarter?
Here are some responses received so far via Twitter:
Join the next discussion on Twitter by following Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic) and Movies.com (@Moviesdotcom).