Will ‘Veronica Mars’ VOD Release Kickstart New Trend in Hollywood?

The major studios may have shuttered their independent film banners, but studio digital divisions are starting to borrow some of the release strategies used to roll out smaller-budgeted movies.

Warner Bros. Digital Distribution promised Rob Thomas a limited theatrical release for a “Veronica Mars” movie if he was able to raise the financing to produce the film.

After turning to Kickstarter to successfully raise over $5.7 million from more than 91,000 people for a feature-length adaptation of the WB-CW TV show, the studio has kept its promise, renting 270 theaters to show the film starting March 14. Most of those are operated by AMC, while 10 are independently-run screens.

But with a small but rabid fanbase, known as Marshmallows, for “Veronica Mars,” Warner Bros. and Thomas know they will make most of their money by renting and selling the film on video-on-demand and online platforms at the same time as the film plays in theaters.

Sources at Warner Bros. say the “Veronica Mars” strategy is a rare exception — a one-off release that isn’t meant to change the way the studio plans to release its films in the future.

The studio stressed that the theatrical release is essentially a make-good to the Kickstarter campaign. It also serves as a way to eventize and promote the mostly direct-to-homevid release, help get it reviewed by critics, and fulfill certain rule requirements come awards season in which films must play in theaters to be considered for some nominations. A spin-off web series for the show is also being produced, while books are being published to keep the franchise alive through other formats…

Check out the rest of Will ‘Veronica Mars’ VOD Release Kickstart New Trend in Hollywood?, originally found on Variety.