Kickstarter is primarily associated with hardware projects like Ouya and the Pebble watch — but now the team behind Veronica Mars have turned to the crowdfunding site to get a feature film version of the cult hit show off the ground. In a post on the project's Kickstarter page, creator Rob Thomas explains that he has wanted to create a big-screen adaptation of the show since it finished in 2007, but support from major studios had been scarce. The Kickstarter project, with an established goal of $2 million, is a way for star Kristen Bell and many of the show's cast members to return.

A theatrical release in 2014

Warner Bros. still owns rights to the show, but has sanctioned the project, agreeing to help distribute the film should it meet its funding goal (as of this writing, the project has already crossed $600,000). There are a number of different contribution levels, with awards including a PDF of the shooting script, on-set visits, and personalized outgoing voicemail messages recorded by members of the cast. A digital version of the film is also part of many of the packages, which will be available through Flixster — likely taking advantage of UltraViolet — though the production is considering other digital storefronts as well. The goal is to shoot the film this summer, with an eye on releasing the film theatrically in early 2014 — though some packages even include individual screenings.

Digital services like Netflix have recently allowed once-cancelled shows like Arrested Development to come back to life, but this project establishes a new arena for Kickstarter. While funding films has happened before — in fact, Inocente became the first Kickstarter-funded film to win an Oscar earlier this year — funding a film at this level with such high-level talent attached is something else entirely. With the show's fans awaiting the film for years at this point, it's almost a foregone conclusion that it will hit its goal, but in the Kickstarter video the cast encourages fans to keep contributing even after the goal has been reached — promising that additional money will result directly in a higher budget for the film.

Thanks, Eddie Fu!

Update: Kickstarter has announced on Twitter that the project has set a new record for hitting the $1 million mark: less the four and a half hours.

Update 2: Well that didn't take long at all. The Veronica Mars movie project has met its $2 million goal in less than twelve hours. The project will be accepting pledges until April 12th, however — so the final tally could be much higher.