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'Veronica Mars' opens to $2 million; conversation about future plans and a possible sequel could happen soon

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The Marshmallows turned out in droves this weekend to check out the theatrical debut of Veronica Mars. The Kickstarter-funded, cult TV show adaptation opened to a cool $2 million from 291 theaters (265 in the U.S.), earning the pic a spot on the top 10 according, to initial estimates.

The PG-13 pic was also released simultaneously on VOD — free for Kickstarter backers who’d contributed $35 or more to the record-breaking campaign, but also available for purchase or rental through digital download services such as iTunes or Amazon. The industry has not gotten into a mode where they share VOD earnings, but the multi-platform availability clearly did not dissuade fans from making the trek to the theaters.

But, is it a success?

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'Veronica Mars' and Kickstarter: Is this the future of movie financing?

Now that the big-screen version of Veronica Mars has finally come out, and has turned out to be a breezy, pulpy, enjoyable, disposable entertainment (Veronica attempts to solve the murder of a famous rock star in Amy Winehouse makeup…whom she happened to go to high school with! Look, it’s Dax Shepard dancing!). And now that the film has proved, for the first time, that a movie funded by crowdsourcing (in this case, via Kickstarter) can readily make its money back — and perhaps even do better than that — one could, I suppose, choose to be cynical by viewing the entire phemonenon of the Veronica Mars movie, from the very concept of making it to the let-a-thousand-handouts-bloom financing to the opening weekend, as the triumph of a closed, hermetic fan-based system. You could see it as the ultimate (trivial) example of a movie that exists solely to reflect the adoration of its fans right back at them. READ FULL STORY

'Veronica Mars' backers experience technical difficulties with digital downloads; Warner Bros. and Rob Thomas respond

The same passion that drove Veronica Mars fans to contribute over $5.7 million to help a movie version of the beloved television show come to life fed some vitriol after a number of Kickstarter backers were unable to download the film digitally. Backers who contributed $35 or more to the campaign were promised “a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movie’s theatrical debut.”

But, as of Friday night, some were experiencing difficulties downloading the film via Flixster/Ultraviolet. One backer wrote: “Tried to get the movie streamed/downloaded on several devices and ended up wasting 5 hours and still didn’t get to watch the movie on release day. This has really tainted what had been until now a really positive experience.”

Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas responded to his backers immediately, offering a step by step process to get help. “I genuinely want today to be perfect for all of you…I want you to be able to watch it on whatever platform or device works best for your needs,” Thomas wrote. “Please know that Warner Bros. have given Customer Support a lot of freedom to help make things right, so if you’re having issues, please let them know: they’ll do their best to either help get Flixster working to your satisfaction, or, if you prefer, to provide an alternate solution.”

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'Veronica Mars': Read the movie's EW cover story on Bonnie DeVille for clues -- EXCLUSIVE

In the Veronica Mars movie, in theaters now, Veronica (Kristen Bell) is drawn back to Neptune after her former flame Logan (Jason Dohring) is accused of murdering his rock-star girlfriend, former classmate Bonnie DeVille (Andrea Estella). The film shows Veronica reading an ominous Entertainment Weekly cover story titled “The Downward Spiral of Bonnie DeVille.” Now, you can read the actual (fictional) article below.

“One of the things we didn’t have time to do in the movie is create this whole back story persona for Bonnie DeVille, who’s a key player in the movie but dead the moment you hear about her,” creator/director Rob Thomas says. “The Entertainment Weekly story will fill in a lot of those blanks: how this character who might have felt more party-girl Katy Perry in her original incarnation in the series has sort of drifted off towards more of a Lana Del Rey or Amy Winehouse sort of character as she’s spun out of control and seems to be heading for disaster even before she’s killed.”

Penned by Bob Dearden, Thomas’ assistant, the piece includes more than a couple of fun callbacks for people who watched the TV show. “If any Veronica Mars fans want the play-at-home game, there are a couple clues as to why she was murdered buried in that story that I wanted in there,” Thomas says. “It tells you a little bit more about her state of mind. Why she was going over a cliff in that story is a key clue in the movie…” READ FULL STORY

'Veronica Mars' premiere, On the Scene: Who's your favorite character? -- POLL

On March 13, 2013, Kristen Bell and Rob Thomas asked Veronica Mars fans if they’d like to see the gone-too-soon TV series hit the big screen. Just one day shy of a year later, that film became a reality at Wednesday night’s Hollywood premiere of Veronica Mars at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

While the path from cult TV show to Kickstarter-backed film might have seemed far-fetched, Bell never had any doubt that the movie, in theaters Friday, would be made. “I felt in my bones that there would be some incarnation of her,” Bell said on the red carpet of her teenage private eye. “I certainly didn’t know that it would be like this, [that it] would go as smoothly as it has, that was certainly a surprise. But I’ve learned: Don’t ever underestimate a Veronica Mars fan. It’s not in your best interest.”

One of the things Marshmallows (the über-generous and gooey-sweet fans of Veronica Mars) have always loved about the franchise is the blurred line between where Kristen ends and Veronica begins. “This is the most effortless character I’ve ever played,” Bell said. “I’m 100 percent present when I play Veronica, and sometimes [in other roles] I’m 5 percent actor, understandably. But Veronica is very similar to who I am. I’m not as outwardly snarky, but I’m often thinking it.”

But Veronica is just one of the series’ beloved characters, so we asked the cast (and creator Rob Thomas) to name their favorite character outside of their own. (Spoiler: Dick is a cast favorite.) READ FULL STORY

'Veronica Mars' returns: Rob Thomas, Kristen Bell on reshoots and the future of the franchise

When Veronica Mars opens on March 14, the fans that gave $5.7 million to fund the Kickstarter-financed big screen revival of the cult TV fave starring Kristen Bell will see every dollar on screen. They’ll also see a few pennies donated by the studio that owns the property and will be releasing the movie, too.

Last October, following a test screening, Warner Bros. (which is releasing Veronica Mars via its digital distribution division) agreed to pay for an additional day of shooting. Some people at the screening were confused by a subplot involving Veronica’s private investigator father Keith Mars (Enrico Calantoni) and its connection to the film’s central mystery, which concerns the murder of a pop star.

In December, Thomas shot two scenes with Bell and Calantoni to clarify the plot. These new moments allowed Thomas to fulfill a couple other desires, too, like depicting Veronica’s hometown of Neptune as a place marked by social injustice, stark class division, and corruption, which were key themes of the series. One of the new scenes involves Veronica and Keith witnessing Neptune cops executing a dubious stop-and-frisk. “For a town that didn’t have much of a middle class in the TV series, there was a lot of middle class in the movie, and I wanted to correct that,” says Thomas. “I wanted people to understand there was a dark side of Neptune, and I felt like we never saw any of that.” READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Keira Knightley heads to 1920s New York; Plus, Elizabeth Banks joins Beach Boys biopic, Martin Starr meets 'Veronica Mars,' more

• Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina) is attached to produce and star in an adaptation of Suzanne Rindell’s The Other Typist for Fox Searchlight. Set in 1923, the story follows Rose, a typist for the New York City Police Department. She’s old-fashioned and set in her ways till she befriends the new woman in the office, Odalie, who is glamorous and modern and loves to have fun at speakeasies. But Rose gets a little obsessed, hence the comparisons to The Talented Mr. Ripley. There’s no director attached yet. Knightley will be appearing next alongside Chris Pine in Kenneth Branagh’s Jack Ryan (in theaters December 25), and with Mark Ruffalo and Adam Levine in Can a Song Save Your Life. [THR]
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'Veronica Mars' movie releases director's cut of Kickstarter launch clip -- VIDEO

With the April 12 end date for the Veronica Mars Kickstarter project looming, a director’s cut of its launch video featuring 42 seconds of additional footage was released Sunday to goose the project to an ambitious new goal.

With $4.8 million raised from 73,202 backers, the project has already far exceeded its initial goal of $2 million, the amount that Warner Bros. said it would need to greenlight and distribute the film. But now it has a new one in mind: to become the most-supported Kickstarter ever. To do that it needs to best Double Fine Adventure, which netted 87,142 backers last year.

Veronica Mars series creator Rob Thomas announced last week the addition of a $1 pledge level to help bolster the campaign to its new goal. On Friday, Thomas revealed that he had finished a first draft.

Check out the Veronica Mars Project: Director’s Cut video below.

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Rob Thomas: 10 Things You Need to Know About the 'Veronica Mars' movie

After Rob Thomas launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance the Veronica Mars movie, the Internet went crazy. The $2 million goal was reached in less than a day, more incentives were added for new backers, and the fund continues to grow. EW’s Jeff Jensen — who also broke the news — sat down with Thomas, the creator of the cult TV show, to discuss the movie, the implications of using Kickstarter and much more about the Mars universe. Here are 10 things we learned:

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