After a hugely successful
"It's a passion project for a lot of those people involved in the TV show," says Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations. "The consumers spoke so loudly that this is like a curtain call for those fans."
Starring Kristen Bell as Neptune, California's camera-carrying kid super-sleuth, Veronica Mars aired for three seasons on UPN and CW and was a critical darling, though not a ratings one. The series averaged only about 2.5 million viewers before its 2007 cancellation.
"For three years, we got to go to work with people we liked doing a job we were proud of, then it got taken away from us," says series creator and Veronica Mars movie director Rob Thomas. "Why not want to go back to that at some point?"
A cult fan base grew, and, combined with those who visited Mars through binge-watching on Netflix and Amazon, it pounced on a chance to bring the show back as a movie. The new story sees Veronica returning to the town she tried desperately to escape for a 10-year reunion and a murder case involving her former beau, Logan Echolls, (Jason Dohring).
Bell and Thomas announced a Kickstarter project a year ago to fund the film and persuade Warner Bros. to distribute it in theaters. It reached its $2 million goal within 10 hours of its launch and totaled $5.7 million and 91,585 backers, one of Kickstarter's most successful campaigns ever.
However, that doesn't automatically equal a financial windfall, says Kate Erbland of the movie website
Movies based on TV properties such as
Case closed? Not so fast.
While VOD used to be a "throwaway option" for studios, Erbland says, now it's a viable mainstream option for smaller features that may not pull in millions of moviegoers. In fact,Marsmarks the first time a major studio has had a simultaneous release on VOD and theatrical platforms.
And if it lights up the VOD market, Erbland adds, "I can foresee plenty of other features going VOD, even ones that have more recognizable cache."
Bock saysVeronica Marscould start a mini trend of bringing back other classic TV shows for one-off movies or small theatrical releases if there's demand. "Your voice really can be heard these days. Maybe we'll get a
Thomas, on the other hand, simply hopes that success opens the door for more of Veronica's adventures.
"In my little fantasy universe, we become the low-budget Bond franchise, and every two or three years, we put out another one," he says. "My end goal is to replace Nancy Drew. She had her 60 years, and I want Veronica Mars to take the next 60."
By Brian Truitt, USA TODAY
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