Kickstarter: Hollywood's online funding for films

    8:52 AM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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    UNDATED (CNN) -- Hollywood is turning to fans for production money. The team behind "Veronica Mars" asked fans to help them make a movie version of the popular TV series.

    it takes a pirate's haul to fund a blockbuster Hollywood feature. some of the most expensive, the last Pirates of the Caribbean, Titanic, Spider Man 3, all had budgets exceeding a quarter of a billion dollars.

    But a lesser known film project is breaking a new kind of record. Veronica Mars, starring Kristin Bell, was a popular TV series about a California student moonlighting as a detective.

    The show, which debuted in 2004 in the U.S., lasted three seasons, long enough to build a loyal teen fan base. Rob Thomas says, "We've been waiting for this for six year and it's happening! I'm dead. This is not real life."

    Creator Rob Thomas hoped to bring this teen noir to the big screen, but Hollywood studios turned him down. He says, "Well, I had gone the traditional routes and just hadn't had any success doing it."

    He then took matters into his own hands. "Well, actually, I do have a few ideas. I say we have the fans fund the movie. If we reach our fundraising goal, we'll shoot the movie this summer."

    Tapping Kickstarter, a popular crowd-sourcing website, Thomas rallied the show's fan base and within days, exceeded its original goal of $2 million; one step closer to veronica returning in a blaze of glory.

    Kickstarter is also breaking new ground with this film. "Veronica Mars" has become the top funded video project to date and a sign the site is morphing from funding small indie art projects to a financing powerhouse.

    Investors who use Kickstarter don't get money, only something tangible: memorabilia, an early edition of the product or invitation to opening night.

    And, in the case of "Veronica Mars," it's a chance to see their favorite character from the small screen, return on the silver screen.

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