"Veronica Mars" release was marred with backlash from its Kickstarter backers. It was initially promised that anyone who donated $35 or more would be given a "digital copy" of the crowd-funded film for free on its release date, March 14, but many of them have difficulties downloading the flick.
Two issues were raised by fans regarding the promised reward. First, the giveaway was only available at social film website, Flixster, although other more-popular platforms like Amazon and iTunes where many backers actually already had accounts also carried the movie. The second complaint was they receive a standard definition, while others who were not Kickstarter supporters could get an HD version on other platforms.
Director Rob Thomas quickly addressed the matter on the movie's Kickstarter page. "I genuinely want today to be perfect for all of you," he wrote. "It's March 14. Today, your movie came out worldwide, and I want you to be able to watch it on whatever platform or device works best for your needs."
"We've always planned to include Flixster as a digital distribution platform. But I also know that many of you use iTunes, Amazon or other platforms, and would prefer to claim your digital copies on your favourite service, so we hoped we'd also be able to arrange for more options. Unfortunately, it just wasn't possible. In the end, Flixster was the best option for getting the digital movie reward out to all of you, worldwide, at the same time."
"We understand that some of you prefer other platforms or services for watching digital content. If you contact our Customer Support team, they can help," he added. "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."
"Please know that Warner Bros have given Customer Support a lot of freedom to help make things right, so if you're having issues, please let them know: they'll do their best to either help get Flixster working to your satisfaction, or, if you prefer, to provide an alternate solution."
The movie's distributor, Warner Bros., offered to refund the fans who bought the movie elsewhere if they contacted the support team. "The vast majority of 'Veronica Mars' backers who attempted to redeem their code had a successful experience," the studio said. "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."
"Backers who had technical issues were assisted directly by the 'Veronica Mars' customer support team while those who expressed a preference to have the film on a different format received the communication below offering to reimburse them for the cost of purchasing the film in that format. We are, of course, working diligently to ensure that all the 'Veronica Mars' backers have a great experience."
An adaptation of neo-noir mystery drama series of the same name, "Veronica Mars" is one of the most successful Kickstarter projects with $5.7 million collected from the online fundraising. It brought back the original cast including Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, and Ryan Hansen. It opened at No. 10 with $2 million, posting a $6,945 per-location average.
"Veronica Mars" is not the only Kickstarter project which had problem with its backers. Early this year, Zach Braff was facing criticisms over the late delivery of rewards to the supporters. "It just would be nice to get a message saying, 'Hey, the rewards are coming in the mail' or whatever," one named Matt Haughey slammed.
In response, Braff wrote, "Sorry to hear we haven't been in enough communication. I've made a point to be in more communication with my backers than any single other leader of a project of the many I've back personally on Kickstarter."
"Trashing us in the media is unfair, Matt," he added. "I know I'm an easy target, and I'll take my hits from people who haven't been following all the video blogs and updates and emails I've sent to my amazing backers."