17 March 2014 950 Views

“Veronica Mars Movie” Viral Review

by Michael Lee

veronica mars viral review header image

The Veronica Mars Movie isn’t just any ordinary TV series that made the jump to a full length feature film.  It is a film that is entirely funded by unpaid viral marketing fans, thanks in part to a KickStarter campaign launched by show creator Rob Thomas and series star Kristen Bell.  This launch actually would never have taken place if the fans didn’t rally together to get the campaign going. Which is why it was one of our 15 favorite viral campaigns of 2013.

Most you already know the story, but for those who don’t, the Veronica Mars Movie is the first full-fledged movie funded by the Internet, or in this case the fans on Kickstarter.  The campaign was one of the fastest to reach $1 million in one day, and $2 million in two days, and ended up with a whooping $5.7 million by the end of the campaign.  But there are some other aspects to consider when the campaign ends, like the viral marketing campaign.  Hit the jump to check it out.

Obviously with such a limited budget at hand, a four digit release seemed nearly impossible.  Which is why Warner Bros went with the limited theatrical and VOD release.  Despite that the film managed to open in tenth place with $2.1 million at the box office.  An impressive feat considering it only opened in 291 theaters.  For those keeping count, Lovelace opened in 1,000 theaters and and debuted with $184.5 K, and it also had a simultaneous VOD release.

Again a $5.7 budget doesn’t leave much room for error.  A lot of the marketing relied on the social media and other geek promotions like Comic-Con or SXSW.  The Veronica Mars Official Facebook page has a nice 381,644 fans, with 33,000 talking and sharing page content.  The Twitter page has 68K followers.  So while some of the budget may have gone to producing the film, paying the cast and crew, and getting a distributor on board, social media can ease some of those budgetary constraints by blasting promotions on those respective social media pages. The one and only official trailer was released back in January.  It being more or less the same material that was seen at Comic-Con, but it did serve it’s purpose, as it has accumulated 3 million plus viewers since its release.  And speaking of Comic-Con, the film got a rousing welcoming from it’s fans who were able to attend the film’s panel. While the full panel may not have received as many viewers, the Comic-Con trailer cut received a million viewers since its post.

Other videos which includes the “Neptune High Reunion” video, the “Love Triangle” video, first two minutes of the film, and another clip all had 40K plus viewings. Again, with the limited budget they had, this has to be commended. In all the YouTube page has 41K subscribers, and over 6 million views.

As you can see the Veronica Mars Movie has more than a descent following.   Fans came in droves to support the film adaptation, and they continued to support it well after the campaign ended.  To put it simply, the numbers don’t lie, a film fully funded by the fans can work to an extent.

The Veronica Mars Movie has earned a healthy 75% approval rating on RottenTomatoes, but Flixster and Warner Bros experienced some trouble on their end.  Those who do not appreciate UltraViolet can understand where some of the KickStarter backers are coming from since they are complaining that they are not getting the restitution they deserve.  According to EW, backers who contributed $35 or more received a UltraViolet copy of the film – think WB Studio’s version of an iTunes download.  UltraViolet has not had much success in the past, so you can imagine how the backers might have felt when they were unable to receive their advanced copy.

”I genuinely want today to be perfect for all of you…I want you to be able to watch it on whatever platform or device works best for your needs,” Thomas wrote on the film’s Kickstarter page. “Please know that Warner Bros. have given Customer Support a lot of freedom to help make things right, so if you’re having issues, please let them know: they’ll do their best to either help get Flixster working to your satisfaction, or, if you prefer, to provide an alternate solution.”

Thomas’ response just shows how active he is with his fans, especially those who made some generous donations.  That being said, it shouldn’t hurt the film at all since WB and Flixster reimbursed those who crossed over and purchased the film on iTunes, or refunded the $10 of the original cost of the advanced download.

That being said, while it was a relatively quiet viral marketing campaign, none of this would have been possible had it not been for dedicated fans actively campaigning for the TV series to get a film on Kickstarter.

Grade: A



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