by Shane Hnetka
Is Kickstarter the future of film? The makers of Veronica Mars raised $3.7 million on the crowd-funding website for a feature film version of their defunct TV show. Kickstarter is usually used for independent films, video and board games and other small start ups. Using it to fund a movie based on a network television show with a fanatical cult following? That’s something new. Veronica Mars fans who donated through Kickstarter will get T-shirts, posters, DVDs and for wealthy backers, maybe even the chance to be an extra in the film
The weird thing is, Veronica Mars is a corporate property and the film will be produced, owned and distributed by Warner Brothers (which was obliged to give series creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell permission to launch their Kickstarter campaign). Will this essentially grassroots campaign’s success convince the studio that there’s money to be made by producing films based on old TV shows? Because now everybody wants to bring their beloved dead shows to the big screen — Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, My So-Called Life, stuff like that. Will Hollywood find a way to use this for even more evil purposes? Probably. I’m sure they’re already hard at work at something sinister.
TWO FOR ONE
It looks like an action movie finally made some money this year. Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen — a “Die Hard in the White House” film with Gerard Butler trying to save President Aaron Eckhart from bad guys —managed a decent opening weekend in a season when Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis and Jason Statham’s actioners all fizzled. Not sure why this film struck a chord when all the others didn’t. They’ve all had the same mediocre-to-terrible reviews, and Gerard Butler isn’t any bigger an action star than the others.
What’s really strange is there is another White House action film coming out in June from one of the worst directors of all time, Roland Emmerich (Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, 10,000 BC, 2012). White House Down — a title I can’t stop laughing at — has Channing Tatum running around the president’s building, Die Hard style (sad that there hasn’t been a better mainstream action movie in the 25 years since its release), as terrorists attack. Jamie Foxx gets to be President in this film.
Why does Hollywood continually release films with similar plots around the same time? Last year it was Snow White movies, this year it’s White House terrorism. And White House Down? Buildings aren’t planes that can be shot down. How can a building go down? It’s being invaded, not demolished. Sigh.
WITCHES STRIKES AGAIN
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters didn’t make very much money in North America but Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton might still be forced to star in a sequel. Somehow the film — which is now in second-run theatres — pulled in over $200 million worldwide, so Paramount wants another. I’m going to say Hansel and Gretel’s international success was a fluke. Perhaps Paramount could Kickstart the sequel to help offset the inevitable losses.