News Briefs: The Veronica Mars Movie Earned Two Million Bucks in Its Opening Weekend

... The crowd-funded Veronica Mars movie debuted this weekend in just 291 theaters, raking in $2 million in its opening days. That's not terrible, but also not great. And according to Buzzfeed, the movie would need to make about $12 million to make a profit, meaning Kickstarter-funded movie projects probably won't become the next big thing anytime soon. But even though the movie didn't go gangbusters at the box office, fans of the series (including our own Kaitlin Thomas, who reviewed the film right here) seemed pretty happy with the result. [Buzzfeed]


BUSINESS TIME

... Esquire Network has ordered 10 episodes of the reality series Lucky Bastards, a bro-fest that follows six rich and privileged dudes in New York City as they, I dunno, make real-estate deals and drink fancy cocktails and date trashy women, I guess. It's being described as a male version of the Real Housewives franchise, and the cast includes former Bachelor star Lorenzo Borghese. Congratulations to Esquire, for finding the most Esquirey show it could! [The Wrap]

... Super hilarious blue-collar and redneck comedian Bill Engvall will be the subject of his own reality series because this guy clearly sold his soul for fame. The project is only in development at the moment and hasn't yet been attached to a network, so let's all cross our fingers and pray it stays that way. (News flash: I do not care for Bill Engvall!) [THR]

... Nick at Nite has canceled its original series See Dad Run, which starred Scott Baio as an actor who becomes a stay-at-home dad while his actress wife tries to make it big. If you need help to get you through this troubling time, I recommend doing literally anything other than watching See Dad Run. [Deadline Hollywood]

... Glee star Chris Colfer will prove to fans that in addition to singing and acting he can also write, by penning an episode of the current season because creator Ryan Murphy said, "Yo Chris, wanna write an episode of Glee?" It shouldn't be too hard for the talented kid, he's already written an indie feature and is the author of a series of children's books. [TV Line]

... As if your childhood nostalgia hasn't already been destroyed by TV remakes, the HUB Network is launching a new series based on those lovable foldable robots The Transformers. The computer-animated series will take place years after the big Autobot and Decepticon battle in Transformers Prime and follow Bumblebee as he leads a new team of Autobots. [HUB Network via press release] 


CASTING NEWS

... Katharine McPhee (Smash, American Idol) is easy on the eyes. In other news, she's landed a starring role in the CBS drama pilot Scorpion. The potential series follows an eccentric genius who uses a team of international super smarties to help defend the world against new threats. Don't worry, McPhee will not be playing a genius! She'll play a friendly waitress who helps care for the team. Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie) is also joining the series as a behaviorist and member of Team Genius. [THR / Deadline Hollywood]

... Jason Jones of The Daily Show will star opposite Leslie Bibb in NBC's romantic comedy pilot Love Is Relative. He'll play one half of a couple that reexamines their relationship when the wife's recently divorced brother moves in with them. And just in case you needed a reason to root against an NBC romantic comedy, if this show gets picked up to series, Jason Jones would leave The Daily Show and we can't let that happen. [THR]

... CBS's Criminal Minds is finding one of its upcoming killers in Scrantonicity! Brian Baumgartner (The Office's Kevin) will guest-star as the sicko of the week in the 22nd episode of this season. [TV Line]

... Former Spice Girl and America's Got Talent judge Mel B. (Scary Spice) has joined the NBC tennis comedy pilot The Pro, from Rob Lowe. Since this news was announced via Rob Lowe's Twitter (which is apparently a thing now because he did it last week, too), I have no details on what role she'll be playing. But I'm guessing she'll play a woman. [Rob Lowe's Twitter]


SAD NEWS

... On Saturday, comedian David Brenner passed away at the age of 78 due to complications from cancer. Brenner made more than 150 appearances on The Tonight Show during Johnny Carson's reign and even filled in as substitute host on multiple occasions. [SF Gate]


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Mar 18, 2014
New Transformers series following Bumblebee and a bunch of new characters? Not where I would have taken the series, but I guess it could be good. As long as it isn't aimed at a really young demographic.
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Mar 18, 2014
Scorpion is starting to sound a lot like Threshold.
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Mar 18, 2014
Sounds like Kevin has taken a dark turn since he was fired from Scranton...
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Mar 18, 2014
It's killing me to not be able to see the Veronica Mars movie in theaters, but they're not playing it remotely close... but good news: the Blu-ray's out May 6th then I'll watch it whenever I please.
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Mar 18, 2014
I want to see the VM movie but it's not showing in my state.
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Mar 18, 2014
Sad news about David Brenner's passing, he was one of those folks who seemed like they wouldn't be funny but was actually really sharp.
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Mar 18, 2014
Are we sure that $2 million at so few theaters isn't at pace with their expectations? They couldn't have expected it to perform much better than that on so few screens, could they? It's per theater average was $6,833, well above any other movie that weekend besides Gran Budapest Hotel.

I really hope this does in fact lead to more V-Mars in our future. The movie was an expert-level film adaptation and continuation of a show that I thought would have trouble getting back into its groove. Awesome work by everyone involved.
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Mar 18, 2014
Exactly, they made more per screen than most other movies, they could not reasonably have been expecting much more than that with a release that was limited to 1 theater company and competing with the VOD release (for which we don't have any number).
I'm sure they consider it a success and I think they may do a sequel, but also low-budget.
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Mar 18, 2014
I would love to see netflix bring the series back.
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Mar 18, 2014
The limited number of theatre was a problem. I live in Tennessee and the nearest theater was in Atlanta,GA. I know I could have watched on demand. But I would have rather seen it at the movies. Does the $ amount include how much it made on "on demand and iTunes"
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Mar 18, 2014
It does not. And we're likely to never know what those numbers are because they don't make a habit of releasing them.
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Mar 18, 2014
The movie was great but I don't think that many shows can repeat that even if they get enough money.
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Mar 18, 2014
I loved the movie! Now I'm sad because there will never be new VM material to look forward to...It really is like a friend died (No, I'm not a drama queen. Well, usually)
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Mar 18, 2014
Apart from the two books Thomas is writing he has confirmed a deal for a comedy web series of CW Seed and this is verbatim what he shared via kickstarter:
  • We have reached a deal to produce a comedy web series for CW Seed, which both is and isn't a spin-off of Veronica Mars. It's more of a spin-off about a spin-off.
  • The basic idea is that Ryan Hansen will play a version of himself, as he tries to put together a Dick Casablancas-centric television spin-off, calling on his pals fromVeronica Mars, Party Down and beyond to help him get the show off the ground. For the most part, I would expect that these friends will also be playing versions of themselves.
  • We're not talking about a full-length series, here. We still need to figure out the specifics, but we're probably looking at 8 or so webisodes, lasting 5-10 minutes each.
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Mar 18, 2014
Loved the VM movie! I bought it from iTunes. If I was only ever going to buy one movie from iTunes, it was always going to be VM.
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Mar 18, 2014
That Buzz article is not a great, balanced or accurate assessment of the VM Movie release. The average per screen & per cinema on this very limited release (under 300 screens over the whole of the US) were comparatively positive (vs. other releases on the same weekend) and a 2MM opening weekend in this context (where the movie is also immediately available online and on DVD a few days later) is a fairly good result by most people's opinions... Thomas himself said at Paleyfest he'd be happy if the movie got 1MM box office in the first weekend... http://www.deadline.com/2014/03/paleyfest-veronica-mars-kristen-bell/
The VM Movie is not a typical (nor particularly good) feature film and is unlikely to win any awards or get a big theatrical income but that was never the point. If it had been, it wouldn't have taken 7/8 years to make and needed funds from fans & production/acting team involved.
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Mar 18, 2014
$2 million dollars from 291 screens actually IS great.
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Mar 18, 2014
What about the On Demand Money! I bet that amount should equal or surpass the Theater Intake!!
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Mar 18, 2014
Tim, that's a per-screen average of $6,833, which is very healthy and quite high for a movie bringing in over a million. Also, that $2 million box office does not include VOD numbers.
It's highly likely the movie will make back its $5.7 million production budget and with a careful expansion of theaters and marketing, the it could turn a respectable profit over time.
Either way, it's already a significant success for everyone involved.
Don't know if it will usher in an era of crowdfunded movies but it certainly proves that there exists loyal fans willing to combine both social media activism and their own cash to back a project they care about.
As pilot programs go, this is as successful a test run as anyone could hope for.

I personally have never watched an episode of Veronica Mars but just imagine if crowdfunding had been a thing at the end of Buffy, Firefly, or TSCC; the people would have demanded showrunners launched a crowdfunding project.
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Mar 18, 2014
Didn't David Brenner also play the Man from Glad at one point? Nice to see Criminal Minds getting back to what it does best: casting has-beens against type as serial killers. That's what's been missing the last couple of seasons. And while I'm loathe to pre-judge things on a preliminary description, Scorpions sounds awful, like a cross between Whiz Kids, The Wizard, and The Trouble with Normal, or (shudder) maybe even The Big Bang Theory recast as a crime drama.

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Mar 18, 2014
I don't want disregard the Veronica Mars fans all over the world. It was a great tv show and really good film, but I don't think this should stand as a voting criteria as to weather the kickstarter campaigns for tv made into film should become a thing or not. I like the idea that the people get to choose if they want to see their favourite tv show on the big screen. #CharmedMovie
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Mar 18, 2014
Yes, it's not the biggest box-office haul, but, given the limited screens it was playing it, and the total lack of publicity it got from Warner in general, Veronica Mars actually did better business than expected. Per screen, it made more money than any other movies which played last week, except for The Grand Budapest Hotel - not bad. Plus, we all kinda expected it to get its money back on DVD, so, all and all... sound like a success to me.

And let's make sure that awful sounding NBC sitcom tanked BIG TIME - love Jason Jones, and only want the best for his career... but I'm a selfish man, so I want him on The Daily Show, and nowhere else.
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Mar 18, 2014
I dont think that buzzfeed article is completely right, it mentions the cinemas getting half the profits, which I dont think they do. WB had to rent the cinemas rather than the cinema buying the movie, which would mean WB get the profits and paid a flat rate to rent the screens for the showings.
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Mar 18, 2014
Word is there will not be 2nd film regardless of how well this does or doesn't do. Rob Thomas it appears has already been asked a million times when a sequel will be filmed & his response was negative.

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Mar 18, 2014
The figure quoted is just theater revenue but what about the online revenue from Google Play & iTunes. I paid my $4 & rented it, I hate paying for overpriced soda / popcorn.
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Mar 18, 2014
VERONICA!
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Mar 18, 2014
It was hard to see it in theaters because it was so limited with the number of theaters it was playing in
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Mar 18, 2014
So does this figure count in the digital downloads? I didn't go see it in theaters, but I did buy the digital copy. Seems unfair if they just count one source of income but not the other since both were available on the same day.
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Mar 18, 2014
I think it is just theatres. Plus it is only 291 theatres so that is a fairly limited release. I think they are still adding up the digital side.
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Mar 18, 2014
Bill Engvall doesn't appeal to everyone... having said that, I love his comedy. His short runned tv series was actually pretty good, but I don't want more reality tv... Bill, stick to comedy acts.

Transformers cartoon has been done and redone over and over, I have seen a few, but nothing tops the orginal series.

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Mar 18, 2014
Veronica Rocks! I hope she makes it to 12 million dollars and beyond.
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Mar 18, 2014
Box office opening numbers aren't really relevant for the Veronica Mars movie considering its a limited release with only VoD options for 90% of cities. Most people had to rent it online or whatever. I used Amazon. A couple friends of mine used some sort of weird Flixster/Vudu combination. A couple other friends were confused by where to see it. A couple others are waiting for it to show on more screens.
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Mar 18, 2014
If it's legal where they live, they can download it through torrent.
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Mar 18, 2014
but we want it to make money so we can get another one.
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Mar 18, 2014
I agree , Sami, but it is not played in the Middle East.
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Mar 18, 2014
i loved Veronica Mars, I bought the movie on itunes as soon as it was available because I didnt check to seeif a cinema near me was playing it.
Quick trivia question, anyone in south west Sydney (Australia) know where the nearest cinema was that played it?
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Mar 18, 2014
they had it on for one night only
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Mar 18, 2014
The only reason why the show did not do better, and it did not do bad, is because of the fact that it is a SHOW adapted to the big screen. The people who are going to see it will be limited to the die-hard fans that made it happen, and maybe a few others. I don't know the story of the movie, but I doubt it can stand on its own as a feature flick for those who don't have the background and the love.
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Mar 18, 2014
Rob Thomas said he'd like to do a few more VM movies but that there was some 'magic number' that this one needed to make to convince Warner's. Better hope those mystery on demand payments and then dvd/bluray sales punch it home chaps and chapettes.
I can see there being a lot of booth clean ups if the nerds get too close to Katharine McPhee in Scorpion.
I'm still trying to erase the image of Jason Jones tightly packed crotch in leather and rubber bondage gear in the bit with Al Masdrigal as his bitch on The Daily Show - I've never seen Al look so scared!
Mel B might actually work as a comedy foil, at least, as she was on various Leigh Francis projects - as herself on the, at times, very funny Bo' Selecta.
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Mar 18, 2014
Veronica Mars did over $6800 per screen, which was better than everything else but The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was only on 66 screens. I'd say that's pretty darn good. I'm wondering if they wouldn't have been better off doing a wider release for it instead of day-and-date VOD, which is unprecedented for a major studio film.
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Mar 18, 2014
Tim, you act like this is the first new Transformer cartoon since G1. You are aware they've been making them off and on for the past 25 years, right? Some of them are pretty good too; you should check 'em out.
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Mar 18, 2014
Not to mention he referenced a previous HUB shoe based on the Transformers. Tim need to really do his homework here. It's remarkably irresponsible for a TV columnist.
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Mar 18, 2014
"I have no details on what role [Mel B] will be playing. But I'm guessing she'll play a woman."
Unless she is playing a character based on one of the Williams' sisters, in which case, the specifics of her gender will be ambiguous and up for "hilarious" speculation.

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Mar 18, 2014
Any word on how much it made on downloads?
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Staff
Mar 18, 2014
Unfortuantely, they don't release those numbers. And probably never will.
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Mar 18, 2014
For crying out loud.

That was the only way I could watch it. WHY FOR IT NOT COUNT???
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Mar 18, 2014
no other choice, me too! It is time they get something to replace Nielsen which actually covers ALL the forms of watching an episode or a series.
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Mar 19, 2014
Okay.But I still saw it through other means than theater and my watching should count. Not for my sake, but that of the producers and money men.
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Mar 18, 2014
I don't think Nielsen's apply to movies. Given the limited release, I would assume the VOD numbers will be comparable to, or better than, the theatre numbers (even excluding all the Kickstarter backers who go the VOD as part of their rewards).

If these numbers hold up and there is some modest additional growth that would suggest the movie would break even at the $6M or so it took to make, but not at the $12M I've send bandied about.

That may not support another movie but it could be enough for some sort of limited event series - particularly on a platform like Netflix or Amazon. Or that could just be wishful thinking...
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Mar 18, 2014
Well, I would have gone and seen the movie, but since it is not showing anywhere near where I live, it proved impossible. Probably for the best, though, as I still haven't completed all the episodes of the series yet. Maybe a lot of people are doing the same before jumping straight to the movie.
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Mar 18, 2014
Hopefully Baumgartner will be a serial killer that strangles his victims via Scranton Strangler
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Mar 18, 2014
I always thought he had it in him :-)
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Mar 18, 2014
I oppose the idea of any show involving Bill Engvall because it's perpetuates the stereotype that Bill Engvall is funny.
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Mar 18, 2014
I saw what you did there.

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Mar 18, 2014
hear, hear. especially that Tim Allen is doing this redneck stuff already on LMS, which I hate anyway. We don't need any other Tshit than certain crazy politicians are feeding us already.
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Mar 18, 2014
Tim Allen has really changed his routine lately. I don't remember Home Improvement including tirades about conservative politics
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Mar 19, 2014
Thank you for mentioning it, I didn't dare.
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Mar 18, 2014

Glad to see that Scott Baio isn't dead. "Starring in Nick at Nite sitcom" Oh wait... I guess he pretty much is.
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Mar 18, 2014
Bob Loblaw!
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Mar 18, 2014
Bob Loblaw drops law bomb on Bob Loblaw's law blog!
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Mar 18, 2014
I wonder if a Bob Loblaw spinoff would be any good? Any material there?
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Mar 19, 2014
I suspect not. Seems like a classic case of a peripheral character who is entertaining as a foil in small doses but not as a full on series.
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Mar 18, 2014
surprised theres nothing about how the kickstarter ppl are getting refunds from the WB b.c a large portion of them couldn't get access/weren't happy with the digital links to the Veronica Mars movie
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Mar 18, 2014
Don't think you'll need to root against Jason's Jones' pilot. It's on NBC. Like finding water in the Sahara.
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Mar 18, 2014
True...but anything that keeps him from leaving the daily show....
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