By Lynn Elber Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — “Veronica Mars” fans just bought themselves a big-screen version of the cult favorite TV series.
A crowd-sourcing campaign on the Kickstarter website to raise $2 million for the project hit its goal in less than a day.
“Veronica Mars,” which starred Kristen Bell as a young sleuth, ended its three-season run in 2007. With Bell’s help, series creator Rob Thomas started the effort Wednesday to make a big-screen version.
More than 33,000 contributors had pledged $2.1 million as of Wednesday evening, and the total was still growing.
In his online pitch, Thomas promised, “The more money we raise, the cooler movie we can make.”
The movie is the fastest project yet to reach $1 million on Kickstarter, hitting the mark in 4 hours, 24 minutes. It’s also the most-funded film or video project to date, according to a spokesman for the site. Previous top movie fundraisers are the planned “The Goon” ($442,000) and “Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa” ($406,000), both animated.
Thomas said “Veronica Mars” owner Warner Bros. has given the project its blessing, and Bell and other cast members are ready to begin production this summer for a 2014 release. A studio spokesman said a limited release, meaning it may not be on thousands of screens or in every city, is likely at this point.
The fundraising campaign, which was confirmed by Thomas’ representative at United Talent Agency, ends April 12.
“You have banded together like the sassy little honey badgers you are and made this possibility happen,” Bell said in an online message, promising the “sleuthiest, snarkiest” movie possible.
Bell is back on TV in “House of Lies,” the Showtime series starring Don Cheadle.
She and several “Veronica Mars” cast members appear in a lighthearted video on Kickstarter in which they mull the prospect of reuniting.
The series averaged between 2.2 million and 2.5 million viewers in its two-year run on the now-defunct UPN and final season on the CW network. Those modest numbers are overshadowed by the intense fan devotion that has kept dreams of a movie alive.
Backers are eligible for various goodies, ranging from a PDF copy of the script to be sent on the day the film is released (for a $10 pledge) to naming rights to a character (for $8,000). An appearance in the movie, available to one $10,000 contributor, was snapped up.
Crowdsourcing has given filmmakers a new way to get always-elusive funding. At last month’s Academy Awards, the short documentary “Inocente” became the first Kickstarter-funded film to win an Oscar. It received $52,000 from 300 contributors.