Some Kickstarter backers of the Veronica Mars movie hoping to watch it online experienced problems Friday when attempting to view the title via Flixster/UltraViolet, the distribution service chosen by the filmmakers.
Meanwhile, those who didn’t support the film were able to easily download it using services like Amazon or iTunes, or simply catch the premiere at a local movie theater.
The unexpected digital format hurdles — some reported problems setting up the Flixster software and logging into UltraViolet — prompted some Kickstarter backers unable to view the film online to voice their frustrations on Twitter.
Spent half an hour trying to get my legitimate copy of Veronica Mars to play on the TV with Flixster. Only takes 7 minutes to “steal” it.
— Bob Ippolito (@etrepum) March 15, 2014
I’ve enjoyed every part of being a Veronica Mars Movie backer until the UltraViolet/Flixster part. I was hoping to never use UV. Ever.
— Jimmy Bouma-Holtrop (@JamesLightning) March 15, 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
I 100% agree with the conspiracy theory that Veronica Mars is on Flixster to force Kickstarter backers to buy it again on iTunes/Amazon.
— Justin Coleman (@jcoleman) March 14, 2014
Acquired by Warner Bros. Pictures in 2011, Flixster allows users to watch films online using a multi-platform digital rights management and storage system called UltraViolet.
“The vast majority of Veronica Mars backers who attempted to redeem their code had a successful experience,” a Warner Bros. Pictures spokesperson told Mashable. “A communication was sent to all backers yesterday from Rob Thomas telling them to get in touch with Veronica Mars technical support if they were experiencing problems.”
The message from Thomas went up Friday on Kickstarter, giving any disgruntled fans reassurance that the project’s producers were indeed listening to their concerns in real-time. However, that did little to quell the frustration from backers who hadn’t checked the original Kickstarter update page.
“We are, of course, working diligently to ensure that all the Veronica Mars backers have a great experience,” says Warner Bros. Pictures’ spokesperson.
For the backers who experienced difficulties with Flixster/UltraViolet and opted to purchase the film on another platform, the studio sent out a message offering a full refund of the price charged on another service, or a $10 refund of their Kickstarter pledge used for the digital download.
There may be a lesson here for other studios involved in such projects in the future. That lesson? Listen to your fans. Unlike most studios facing the wrath of unhappy fans, Warner Bros. Pictures issued a fairly rapid and detailed response to unhappy Kickstarter supporters. That quick response was almost certainly linked to the fact that the fans made the project possible in the first place.
Fans of the show ultimately gave the project $5.7 million on Kickstarter, well above the original $2 million sought by Thomas and his project partners. Box Office Mojo, which lists the film’s budget at $6 million, reported that the film had already earned $1 million in just its first day in 291 theaters.
By adding crowdfunding to the equation, it now appears that fans may have earned a new and much stronger voice in Hollywood.
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