The big movie news earlier this month was the Kickstarter fundraiser campaign to get a Veronica Mars movie made. The aim was to raise $2million, if successful Warner Bros agreed to distribute the movie. Reaching its goal in just ten hours it became the most successful Kickstarter film project to date.
As neither a fanboy or detractor Veronica Mars, I can look at it subjectively. I have seen a handful (I’m guessing around 10) of the 64 episodes of the TV show so kind of know what its about. I liked what I saw but not so much so as to make me want to hunt out the other episodes. For those who know even less than me, the show revolves around high school, then college student Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) who moonlights as a private investigator.
Getting the green light is only the start, now they need to make the movie. That starts with a script, that in turn starts with an idea. That idea needs to be a great one for the show to make the transition form the small screen. The two mediums are very different and to succeed a balance has to be found the way Joss Whedon did with Serenity based on the TV show Firefly. The TV show was made up of individual episodes with an overriding story arc/back story. The film version created one larger story centred on the larger story. It also worked equally as well for fans of the show and people with n prior knowledge. Can this work for Veronica Mars? The TV took the “case of the week” format but was elevated by an overarching story. So the same could work. The only problem, it has been six years since the show was cancelled and its star Kristen Bell is now 32. It is possible to engineer a storyline where the character is still in collage, if not she will have to be in a profession that does not ruin the dynamic of the show. It would easy to make her a Cop or private investigator, but would that work? The story will also need a suitable mystery.
Then we have the issue of the audience. With an audience of around 2.5million on its original American release and around 50,000 in the UK, it is far from having a readymade audience. Although a fans favourite Kristen Bell is far from “A list” and isn’t going to open a movie. This is why a great story that will gain positive reviews and word of mouth is possibly the only way the film can be successful. It would be a shame to go to all this effort for the movie to of straight to DVD and never see the inside of a cinema.
What next for the Kickstarter concept? The internet is awash with suggestions of show fans would like to see revived. Pushing Daisies and Firefly seem to be the two that keep coming up. Personally I favour a different Nathan Fillion show, Drive. Made by FOX and lasting for just six episodes and also featuring a young and relatively unknown Emma Stone. Based around a cross country road race, the show offered nothing new or original but was good fun and could work well as a 100 minute movie.