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'Veronica Mars' Campaign Rattles Movie Industry

By JAKE COYLE

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ After years of hope, stalled efforts and studio frustration, "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas watched a long-held dream come to fruition in a sudden digital rush.

"There were a few minutes of nothing happening," he says. "Then in an hour, watching that ticker go was mesmerizing. I had an attention span of, like, four seconds because everything on my computer screen I wanted to look at at the same time. The Twitter feed was going crazy, the emails were going crazy and then watching that Kickstarter total go up."

Thomas last week launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a movie of his cult TV show, which was canceled after three seasons in 2007. It met its stated goal of raising $2 million in less than 11 hours, meaning it would be greenlit to begin shooting this summer. It's surpassed $3.7 million with more than two weeks still to go.

The resounding, immediate success of the crowd-funding campaign sent shockwaves through the movie business. Films had found much-needed financial support on Kickstarter before, but "Veronica Mars" is different. It's a studio project, owned by Warner Bros., which produced the show.

The money given by the fervent fans of "Veronica Mars," which starred Kristen Bell as a teenage private eye, will go not to a filmmaker operating on his own, but one with the distribution and marketing muscle of a very large corporation â¿¿ just one that hadn't previously been convinced to bankroll a "Veronica Mars" film.

Were donating fans spurring a goliath to action, or its unwitting pawns?

The wide majority of "Veronica Mars" fans couldn't care less. They will get the movie they craved, as well as the proud feeling of having played an essential role in the show's resurrection. Maryland fan Matt Clipp typified the eager contributors, writing: "I am MORE than happy to donate $100 to this project. This movie has been a dream of mine ever since the series ended back in 2007. ... LET'S GET THIS THING MADE, 'VERONICA MARS' FANS!"

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