Friday Night Lights

Ever since Veronica Mars paved the way for crowd-funded TV to movie revivals, it seems like every actor, writer, or director ever associated with a beloved but cancelled series has been fielding questions about Kickstarter. Some have squashed the idea right off the bat, but others have been a bit more open to the concept. (And The Onion has poked fun at all of it.)

According to actress Adrianne Palicki, Friday Night Lights could very well turn to Kickstarter to pay for the long-rumored movie sequel. Meanwhile, Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller is definitely intrigued by crowdfunding — but acknowledges that his show would require quite a bit more than the $2 million goal originally set by Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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Arrested Development documentary

It’s been a long, strange ride for Arrested Development fans. The show suffered from painfully low ratings the whole time it was actually airing on Fox, but since its cancellation in 2006 has become popular enough to inspire Netflix to bring the series back from the dead. Now we’re just a couple of months away from the fourth season, which is pretty crazy if you think about it.

Documenting that journey have been Neil Lieberman and Jeff Smith, two self-described superfans keen on raising “awareness of this brilliant, witty and original comedy that is like nothing else.” To that end, the pair spent five years criss-crossing the country to talk to the cast, crew, and fans of the series.

The film is now finished, but needs a bit more funding before it can get distribution. (So much for there always being money in the banana stand.) Hit the jump to hear Lieberman and Smith’s Kickstarter plea.

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Cobra Kickstarter

What’s the one thing a ruthless dictator needs if he wants to take over the world? Money, and a lot of it. In today’s modern, connected society, what better way to raise money than from like-minded people on Kickstarter?

On a hilarious new Kickstarter page, Cobra Commander — the leader of the evil terrorist organization Cobra — asks the public to help him raise $21 million needed to rebuild the organization after defeat at the hands of those  real American heroes in G.I. Joe.

The page comes at a perfect time, with Jon M. Chu’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation rolling out on March 29. I have a feeling this is decidedly more tongue in cheek than the film. Check out the video below. Read More »

‘Veronica Mars’ Just Changed the Movie Business

In less than twelve hours, Warner Bros., Rob Thomas, Kristen Bell, and their Veronica Mars movie changed the movie business. Yesterday morning, Thomas and his cast asked fans to donate two million dollars to revive the canceled television series Veronica Mars as a feature film. Fans have hoped for such a movie for several years. Thomas and Bell had previously been unsuccessful in attempts to persuade Warner Bros. to fund the movie. They even talked about paying for it themselves.

It took about eleven hours for donors to pledge two million dollars. Now, Warner Bros. Digital Distribution has greenlit the film, and will pay for the marketing and distribution. Whether the studio will also contribute funds to the production cost remains to be seen. (Update: The Wrap says no; the outpouring of fan and media interest is likely to drive the budget funds higher without any extra capital required from the studio.)

So what did Veronica Mars fans say this week? Individual donors who gave just a little bit get to see a movie they might have thought wouldn’t ever materialize. Seems like a good deal.

Collectively, the fanbase sent a thundering message to studios. It said, loud and clear, that it will give up large sums of money, with no traditional investment ties, to fund a geek-oriented project. There will very likely be further developments in what could be known as the Mars model, with other producers and studios attempting to find similar fundraising success. As the Veronica Mars counter ticked quickly up to $2m, we watched the business change in real time.  Read More »

Update from Editor Peter Sciretta: In less than 12 hours from launching the kickstarter, Rob Thomas has raised over $2,000,000 for the Veronica Mars movie, hitting the goal of the project. Of course, they have 30 days left to go, and will still need the fans to help raise more money to allow them to do more in the story. $2 million might sound like a lot to many of you, but consider they lose an estimated $400,000 to Kickstarter fees and taxes. They will likely have to pay 20% in fees and taxes of any future raised funds too. And they also need to pay for the various rewards to those who have and will fund this project, which includes shipping posters, t-shirts, dvds and box sets. The film will likely have to be a union production, and while its expected the actors will be working close to scale (and participate in the back end) it still will be very costly at the absolute minimum level. Basically I’m saying, just because they’ve hit the goal doesn’t mean you shouldn’t “donate.” Do you want to see a good movie? Haven’t donated yet? You still have 30 days… The original story from Angie Han can be read after the jump.

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Movie projects fall apart all the time, and most of the time they simply fade from memory soon afterward. Years later, the people who actually worked on the movie might be the only ones who remember it even existed to begin with. But sometimes a failed effort is so bizarre or so high-profile — or both — that the public is still wondering about it, long after it’s become clear that it’ll never come to fruition.

One film that definitely falls into the latter category is Superman Lives, a proposed take from the ’90s that would’ve featured Nicolas Cage in the lead role with direction by Tim Burton and a script by Kevin Smith (among others). Even now, over a decade later, we’re intrigued when old bits of concept art or toy prototypes surface. While we’ll never get to see Burton’s vision for ourselves, an upcoming documentary by Jon Schnepp (Metalocalypse, Venture Bros.) aims to explore what could have been. More after the jump.

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“Think Ocean’s Eleven, The Avengers, but this time it’s real.” That’s how Academy Award-winning documentarian Louie Psihoyos describes The Heist, which is the code name for the climactic event of his still untitled follow-up to the breathtaking 2009 film The Cove. With that film, Psihoyos and his team went undercover and exposed the unfathomably awful treatment of dolphins in Japan. The Heist is part of the follow-up which aims to education and prevent the global extinction of over half the species living under the sea. How exactly Psihoyos and his team plan to do that is a mystery, but he says the events in the film “give endangered species a voice by using urban spaces as the world’s largest canvas for the sights and sounds of the creatures we’re losing.”

With the help of the Oceanic Preservation Society, production of the films is more than halfway done but in order to get the world’s attention, the team has one, final audacious act planned for the finale: The Heist. The only problem is, they can’t afford it. So they’ve taken to Kickstarter to raise $50,000 for the film’s completion. After the jump, watch Psihoyos’s mighty convincing pitch video and find out where you can contribute. Read More »

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