Warner Bros. will have to pick up the tab for marketing and distributing "Veronica Mars," be it theatrically or digitally, if they do decide to release it once it's made.
The Kickstarter campaign was in some ways a free marketing tool for Warner Bros., as well as a way to gauge interest in the film before taking on such a risk. One could assume that in its production, Warner Bros. will have the final say Braff so desperately wants to himself. "Wish I Was Here" has no attached studio, though there were offers to take it on, but only with the promise of at least some control.
Of course thousands of lower-profile films have been made with the help of Kickstarter, usually without any studio attachment, and often because filmmakers wanted complete control. Some have found success at film festivals and have gone as far as the Academy Awards — "Innocente" being the first to win an Oscar.
Yet usually these films are being made by people the public has never heard of, and often, especially with documentaries, with a bent towards some cause or common good. Most importantly, as Indiewire points out, previous Kickstarter movies made with Braff's "say no to creative control" logic often offered advanced copies in their donation structures, and even the opportunity for some donors to weigh in on the final cut. Not so in Braff's case, who said in his Kickstarter FAQ:
I wish I could give you all everything you want. Unfortunately, giving away the movie could scare off the good distributors for movies like this, because the theater chains insist on having the "first run" of movies before they are available on DVD or digitally. I want all my fans to be able to see this movie in their hometown theaters on the big screen if they want to. I hope you like the rewards I am offering, and if there's something you don't see on the page, please comment and let me know.
Braff says if made, he would like to bring "Wish I Was Here" to Sundance – where "Garden State" was also screened and picked up by a studio – and apparently, he would not like any advanced screeners floating around that would get in the way of selling the film to "good distributors." One would assume that if he didn't plan to make money on the sale or stake out a cut of any profits, he would have made it clear in his Kickstarter pitch. He said he will be using some of his own money and that other investors have expressed interest if the Kickstarter campaign succeeds.
A number of celebrities, with varying degrees of Braff's undeniable filmmaking talent, have expressed support for his project. If Braff raises his $2 milllion, movie fans and industry types alike have to wonder who will be taking to Kickstarter next.