By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist March 17, 2014 at 9:05AM
Those eager to return to Neptune, California finally earned the chance this past weekend, as Warner Bros.’ crowd-funded “Veronica Mars” movie landed on both VOD and 291 screens. Or so they thought: the continuation of the Kristen Bell sleuth series was always going to be scrutinized because of its controversial Kickstarter origins, but following a slow theatrical weekend take and many backers left without a working digital copy, some needed reassurance has come courtesy of the show’s creator.
While earning a place in the weekend Top 10, “Veronica Mars” ended up only making $2.02 million at the box office upon its release—still a distance away from the film’s $5.7 million budget. The fact that a large section of its audience already paid for a ticket via Kickstarter—those who donated $35 or more—is a logical conclusion for those numbers. However, the increasingly vital VOD take may hold a success story in wait, and Warner Bros. already seems pleased with the response thus far.
“Our result starting with our Thursday fan events was $260K. You add that together with our weekend for a total of $2 million from 291 theaters? That’s pretty significant,” said Jeff Goldstein, VP of theatrical distribution at Warner Bros. (via EW) “We recognize going forward that there’s room in the marketplace for huge movies, medium movies, and boutique films for a very specific audience.”
Goldstein said “in a week’s time” they’ll have a better sense—not only as to the final tally for the film, but also plans for a sequel, a conversation that he and series creator Rob Thomas haven’t had just yet. “We wanted to get through this weekend and then sit down and figure out where we’re going.”
Unfortunately, goodwill among the show’s core audience dropped somewhat when it came to their much-anticipated reward. Though Warner Bros. issued digital copies of the film to Kickstarter backers via the streaming site Flixster, a host of connectivity issues and server problems with the service left many less than impressed. In response, Thomas published an open letter to fans with his wishes for the film’s release to “be perfect for all of you,” and to seek customer support if problems plagued their experience.
“If you paid for a copy of the movie a year ago, we don't want you to have less choice and freedom than people who decide to buy it today. And we definitely don't want you to end up paying twice just to see the movie on your preferred service,” he said.
Warner Bros. issued a similar statement offering to refund backers for the price of the film on a different streaming or download service—making it clear they want their positive experiment to stay that way. But for those who made an effort to catch “Veronica Mars” this past weekend: did you succeed, and in what format? Let us know in the comments below. [Engadget/HitFix]