With a $3.3 million dollar yield so far, the movie is no blockbuster, but with such a small budget it might not be a flop either. Does this film mark the beginning of a new age of crowd-funded films? Well, probably not.
With the movie almost a month into its release, and the majority of its box office intake still coming from the opening weekend, it’s a real possibility this movie may not make back its budget of $5.7 million ($6 million total with distribution-costs factored in). While a movie with a budget this small doesn’t have to make Iron Man levels of cash to be considered a financial success, it does need to justify and exceed its budget; so far it’s not doing that.
For comparison, the 2012 film Safety Not Guaranteed, an indie success, made $4 million, roughly on par with what Veronica Mars will probably do. But the budget was only $750,000. With that taken into account the film is suddenly vastly more successful. And though Safety Not Guaranteed had no stars quite as big as Kristen Bell in the cast, it did include Aubrey Plaza, a celebrity in her own right.
Safety Not Guaranteed was released in 182 theaters, compared with Veronica Mars’s 347, with the average opening weekend intake for Veronica Mars at $6,833, while Safety Not Guaranteed brought in $10,862 average per weekend.
But none of this is to say Veronica Mars had less of an audience clamoring to see it, the crucial detail may be that, those who contributed more than $35 to the kickstarer campaign were given a free digital copy of the movie. While some of those people surely went to see the movie in theaters, it’s a reasonable guess that plenty of them didn’t, cutting into the already modest fan-base.
We weren’t able to track down official numbers for how many contributors were over the thirty five dollar line, so it’s unclear exactly what the impact was. But based off the Kickstarter total ($5.7 million) vs. the box office numbers ($4 million so far), there’s a major discrepancy there.
Something else to consider is that Veronica Mars may have been light on casual fans. Blockbuster comic book movies would be much less successful if it was only the comic book geeks going to see the movie, the casual movie-goer accounts for a lot of money. Think of box office totals like elections, you need the independents to sway the outcome.
Veronica Mars was a movie made for the fans and partially by the fans as well. With everyone seeming to like the movie, this is a happy ending for a too-soon canceled show. While the now-infamous Kickstarter campaign won’t spawn a new era filmmaking, it might pave the way for a few more success stories, but by and large there’s too much inherent conflict there; if we’re financing a movie we don’t want to then pay to see it, and if we’re paying to see it, we don’t want to finance it.
This could still be the first baby-step towards a revamped way to finance movies, but as it stands Kickstarter will remain primarily a source of crowd-funding for smaller indie projects.
Source: Box Office Mojo