The Veronica Mars movie is continuing the digital shake up of Hollywood as it will be released theatrically and on demand making it the latest in the evolving digital distribution market.
Set in the fictional town of Neptune, CA, Veronica Mars told the story of the titular character who learned the art of investigation from her father, a former sheriff. The first two seasons saw Veronica solving a primary case that spanned the length of the season and smaller story arc episodes during the final third season. Dealing with darker themes of family, abuse and murder, the noir detective series garnered a great deal of critical acclaim, but never achieved the success in ratings it needed to stay on the air.
A 4th season was teased in a trailer on the season 3 DVD release, but the series was canned by Warner Bros. A pitch for a movie was made by creator and producer, Rob Thomas, but was ultimately rejected by the studio unless Thomas provided his own funding. Series star Kristen Bell and Thomas took the idea to the fans in order to raise the $2 million they needed in funding to make the dream a reality. They received the $2 million within 10 hours of launching the Kickstarter campaign and ended the push with $5.7 million.
The film is slated to release on March 14th, one year after the Kickstarter campaign launched. Warner Bros. is renting 270 screens to show the film in AMC theaters, the 2nd largest movie theater chain in the US. However, the biggest money generator for the film will be on the cable & satellite video-on-demand platform and digital rentals through providers such as Amazon and Apple.
Movie theater chains have long resisted digital day and date releases with theatrical releases citing a loss of revenue from people who would rather not go to the move theater. The movie theater chain believe that if given a choice, most people would rather watch the latest release at home rather than with expensive popcorn and pop in their hands.
The Veronica Mars movie is not the first film to release digital day and date with the theater. Smaller studios like IFC and Magnolia have used the same release strategy to great effect. Larger studios have not been as successful such as Universal which met with stiff resistance from theater chains in 2011 when they attempted to release Tower Heist digitally only three weeks after is theatrical release.
The following for Veronica Mars is strong, almost cult like following similar to other shows like the ill-fated Firefly from Joss Whedon. Even if the Veronica Mars movie does not change the face of Hollywood distribution, it gives the fans of the series multiple ways to watch their favorite sleuth solve one more case.
A list of movie theaters that are showing the Veronica Mars movie can be see on AMC’s website.