The first quarter of the year is typically the dumping ground for movies. It’s the cinematic equivalent to cleaning out the fridge. At least that is how it has been for the last few decades. Summer movie season is starting earlier and earlier, so the big blockbusters that would normally get released around Memorial Day are finding new life before beach weather hits. Recent examples include the first Hunger Games and Fast Five– the first Fast & Furious movie to star The Rock. Captain America: Winter Soldier– which could potentially be the movie of the summer- is getting released in April.
With my entire calendar of must see movies now coinciding with post-Oscar hangover purification process, this week’s box office is a real toss up. Opening this week is Need for Speed– a video game adaptation that uses all real stunts as opposed to CGI and stars Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and Tyler Perry’s latest effort The Single Mom’s Club. Both movies are poised to make a lot of money and further screw with with norms of when movies that make money hit theaters, but I think we’re going a different way.
Also opening this week is the movie adaptation of Veronica Mars. Veronica Mars was a show that ran on UPN and then the CW back in the the 00’s. It only ran for three seasons and was a marginal hit for the fledgling networks, but somehow gained a cult like following very similar to the way Buffy The Vampire Slayer did only a few years before.
The series was cancelled at the end of its third season in 2007 and almost immediately their fanbase started demanding a movie. Granted this was just general foot stomping, but 2007 was also when the internet started to actually gain some credibility. Due not only to the internet starting to BOOM and giving a voice to virtually anyone, the rallying cry for the return of Veronica Mars continued to echo in the canyon that is the world wide internets. With services like Netflix and streaming solutions like Hulu and Amazon Instant Video, this show that could barely get people to watch it was now getting the audience it so sorely needed during its initial run.
With seven years passing and the star of the series Kristen Bell becoming a well respected actress (her show House of Lies is a new staple for Showtime and she was the voice of Elsa in Frozen), the internet did something to replay the heiress to the Buffy throne. They got her a Veronica Mars movie.
The script for the Veronica Mars movie has been completed and tinkered with by it’s creators for years, but their studio, Warner Bros., never saw it making any money. In 2013, they put out a statement saying if Bell and company could raise half the production cost, they would produce and distribute the project. Through digital fundraising source Kickstarter, the Veronica Mars project quickly raised over $5M and the internet got their wish. Veronica Mars opens tomorrow.
This is huge because if this movie is even a marginal hit- like if it makes even $15M at the box office- this is going to be a new way for midrange movies to get made. It’s exploitative for sure, but hey! There’s a chance your favorite show isn’t quite dead yet. Like in two years when Joel McHale and Danny Pudi are tap dancing all up on these internet streets to get the Community movie made, it will be Veronica Mars they should thank.
– The conclusion of a story seven years in the making.
– A fanbase made this happen. Not a studio paying homage to a fanbase and making a money grab (i.e. the Star Wars sequels/prequels), an outpouring of support and actual action being taken by fans made this happen.
– This movie makes no sense to anyone who has never heard of a show that next to nobody watched.
– Will this movie now find struggle in distribution? This this an experiment that could eventually hurt “passion project” movies?
– High percentage that this is just going to be a 2 hour long episode of a TV show I can watch for free on the internet.
It’s the conclusion to a story that many people, including myself, have been waiting for for seven years. Even if it’s only marginally good, it’s validation of fandom. The bar is set medium with expectations being super duper high.
SHOULD YOU SEE IT?
Yes, you should. If for no other reason than because this is probably the coolest thing to happen to Hollywood since Marvel pulled a Babe Ruth and called their shot with the Avengers announcement at the end of Iron Man.
JUDGE FOR YOURSELF: