Fans of the Veronica Mars detective series at one point were elated that the Kickstarter project for a movie that concluded the series was fully funded back in mid-2013. Fast forward to now, and backers are demanding for refunds from Warner Bros., which the film studio will give.
Why? Apparently they’re not getting what they were promised after funding the film, according to Wired — a free digital copy of the film. As per the terms, if a fan donated US$35 or more, they were promised a copy of the film on March 14, which was the release date. About 50,000 people backed enough to get that copy. However, they have to register for region-locked streaming sites Flixster and UltraViolet, which require an additional app to watch the film. You can thank Warner Bros. for making that decision.
Furthermore, the copy of the film is restricted to a standard definition in a world where 720p is the minimum requirement for a crystal-clear video-watching experience. To be fair, the Flixster deal was made apparent on the Kickstarter page F.A.Q. Despite this, many fans of Veronica Mars made their voices heard on Twitter.
Veronica Mars film “digital copy” only available via Flixster’s proprietary service. Resent the bait-and-switch and regret that pledge tier — Michael (@nightvespers) March 14, 2014
I had never heard of Flixster before the Veronica Mars download-thing. I now understand why I had never heard of it. #notgood — Christopher Whitaker (@CivicWhitaker) March 15, 2014
Director Rob Thomas placed a note on the Kickstarter page and said that, “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.”
A Warner Bros. spokeperson said on L.A. Times that the refunds were done as part of the studio’s work “to ensure that all the Veronica Mars backers have a great experience”. The company will also compensate fans who talked to customer support after acquiring the film through other means, legal or otherwise.
This is a clear-cut case of communication failure and damage control from that error. Though what has transpired may blow over soon, the film had a very positive rating aggregate on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed over US$1,988,351 in just 291 theaters during the weekend. Not too shabby for a community-driven effort.
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