Biggest Kickstarter Project Ever Surpasses $10 Million; Cuts Off Funding

from the impressive dept

We keep hearing that these new business models and platforms really can't handle "big" projects. While part of the charm and power of these platforms is that they can fund smaller "long tail" projects that might never otherwise see the light of day, there's no reason that they can't do bigger projects as well. A few weeks ago, we told you about the Kickstarter campaign for the Pebble e-watch, which was the fastest growing Kickstarter project ever, surpassing $1 million in just 28 hours, and hitting $4.5 million by the time we got our post out.

Last week, the project surpassed $10 million and still had over a week to go. However, the folks behind the project had decided to cap the total number of watches that could be pre-sold via Kickstarter at a mere 85,000. So once that number was hit, they set the Kickstarter to show all the items sold out. While I could see some folks who were waiting towards the end get a little annoyed (thankfully, I got my order in a few days earlier), projects like this should at least open some eyes to the fact that Kickstarter is not just for small stuff. While some have argued that something like Kickstarter could never fund a Martin Scorcese film, remember Kickstarter is just three years old. If Scorcese set up an interesting project with cool tiers, I wouldn't be surprised to see it funded to massive levels.


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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 3:48pm

    A $10 million fund isn't a big project?

    I didn't know the dollar was that worthless these days.

     

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    jupiterkansas (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 3:58pm

    Scorsese could easily make Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Last Waltz, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore, King of Comedy, The Last Temptation of Christ, After Hours, and Raging Bull with Kickstarter kinda money.

    Could he make a $170 million Hugo? No, but weren't his cheaper films much better anyway?

     

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    TechnoMage (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 4:46pm

    Scorsese pshh... Joss Whedon & Firefly

    Q.E.D.

    THAT project would get at least 20 million, easily.

    Especially if they put things like
    1k: first 2~3 new seasons of the show signed by every member of the cast and crew
    20k: spoken role on the show.
    40k: spoken role on the show where you die an honorable death.
    50k: spoken role on the show where you die an non-brown-coat death.
    100k: A special thank you message directed towards you personally in the credits that lasts 5 seconds.

    Or whatever price points they decides for those & others.

     

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      Killer_Tofu (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 7:56am

      Re: Scorsese pshh... Joss Whedon & Firefly

      There is nothing more in this world I want from entertainment than a second season of Firefly.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 9:35am

      Re: Scorsese pshh... Joss Whedon & Firefly

      Can there be a golden level like techdirt has where if you donate that much, you can get all the fanboys to stop crying about Firefly?

       

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        Niall (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 4:25am

        Re: Re: Scorsese pshh... Joss Whedon & Firefly

        Only if it gets more Firefly made... and then you won't have them complaining about 'no more Firefly'.

        ... wait, not 'them'... 'us'!

         

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      explicit coward (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 10:41pm

      Re: Scorsese pshh... Joss Whedon & Firefly

      Has someone informed Joss Whedon already? Get going!

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 5:07pm

    Kickstarter has reached the threshold of being able to launch the next George Lucas:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Wars_Episode_IV:_A_New_Hope

    "Produced with a budget of $11 million and released on May 25, 1977..."

    You might argue that that was quite a bit more after taking inflation into account -- but Lucas had to buy model parts and flights to location shoots in Tunisia and tons and tons of celluloid film; modern digital recording technology and CGI software makes fancy effects, big complicated spacecraft, big sweeping landscapes, and storing the results of all your filming a heck of a lot less expensive than in 1977!

     

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    Torg (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 5:08pm

    "We thought it would be nice to put our idea out there and wait to see how many people were willing to give us money for it. As it turns out, that was a mistake. This fundraising has been ridiculous. We don't need millions of dollars of donations, people. That's your money! I mean, thank you, but stop it!"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 5:08pm

    Error in title

    Should say "Biggest Kickstarter project yet."

     

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    techinabox (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 5:31pm

    Scorsese

    Imagine if one of the tiers was you could come to the set and watch for a day or two? Meet Scorsese, eat from the food table, and watch magic happen.

     

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    Nastybutler77 (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 8:10pm

    I can't wait to get my Pebble in September. At least I hope I get it...

    This is the risk of investing in Kickstarter. If the project falls apart, you lose out, just like any investment in a startup. But if the Pebble takes off and becomes the next Apple II, all I get is the watch I donated towards. I guess some day I could sell the watch as a piece of history ("One of only 85,000!"), but I wish they had an option to buy actual stock in the company.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 12:33am

      Re:

      I guess some day I could sell the watch as a piece of history ("One of only 85,000!"), but I wish they had an option to buy actual stock in the company.

      Until very recently that was illegal in the US. However, with the JOBS Act, we're moving towards allowing crowdfunding with equity. Kickstarter has said they won't take part, but other platforms will do so.

       

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      Josef Anvil (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 1:29am

      Re: Glad it was finally voiced

      "I can't wait to get my Pebble in September. At least I hope I get it...

      This is the risk of investing in Kickstarter. If the project falls apart, you lose out, just like any investment in a startup. But if the Pebble takes off and becomes the next Apple II, all I get is the watch I donated towards. I guess some day I could sell the watch as a piece of history ("One of only 85,000!"), but I wish they had an option to buy actual stock in the company."


      That comment was so beautiful that I had to repost it for any who missed. This is the actual argument AGAINST Kickstarter. It's not about the risk of losing cash, its the lack of control. It's the same argument that the web diverts cash directly to the creators. I'm guessing the full argument is: Creators deserve to get paid for their work, but ONLY when others get to latch on to their success.

      Yes Kickstarter makes VCs work harder.

      One last point that really made me laugh. "...all I get is the watch I donated toward." So can we assume that when you see a blockbuster movie that you are pissed off that you didn't get to invest in the making of the movie, since all you get is the experience of watching it?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 14th, 2012 @ 8:28pm

    so, its a watch(and ugly and huge) with a screen, that tells you things that your phone is doing.......

    why not, I dont know, look at your phone???

     

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      azuravian (profile), May 14th, 2012 @ 9:26pm

      Re:

      So your argument is "I wouldn't use it, therefore it is not a useful product." Way more than 85,000 people disagree with you.

      I'll be using mine as I work through a new exercise regiment. It'll be nice to be able to glance down at my watch to see how far I've run. I'm sure I'll come up with other uses as well.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 3:22am

      Re:

      Remember when phones started to tell you the time? Did you insult the people who had such phones and tell them, "why not, I dont know, look at your watch???"

       

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      Tim K (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 6:08am

      Re:

      Um, maybe because I'm on a Kayak in the middle of the water and my phone is tucked safely away in a waterproof box, yet I want to still be able to look at the time, or look at the runkeeper stats to see how long/far I've gone. Or say I'm riding my bike and have my phone in my backpack or pocket and want to check runkeeper, or play/pause/skip a song. There are lots of reasons where getting my phone out would be inconvenient compared to looking at/using the watch.

       

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      Shadeyone, May 15th, 2012 @ 7:01pm

      Re:

      True, it's only a convenience not a necessity, but remember there are only 4 necessities in life: Food, Water, Shelter and Good Luvin. If you can get all 4 at the exact same time, good things happen.

      But yeah, I don't have a need for this either, I've got an old phone that still works for me. But my phone doesn't work for at least 85,000 other people who see this as an improvement on their current situation.

      That's the point and that's what I think makes an inovator. It doesn't have to be something that they wanted in their life, but it's something they saw was wanted in someone elses life that would make a difference. If you want to get something out, it has to work for others, not just you.

       

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    PaulT (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 12:29am

    "While some have argued that something like Kickstarter could never fund a Martin Scorcese film"

    Thinking about it, this is utterly hilarious. Scorcese is an artist who has made some great pieces of cinema through the studio system, with the inflated budgets that suggests. But, let's take a look at his entire career and see what he's done for less than $10 million in the past (figures from Wikipedia).

    Boxcar Bertha - $600k production budget
    Mean Streets - $500k
    Alice Doesn't Live Here Any More - $2 million
    Taxi Driver - $1.3 million
    After Hours - $4.5 million
    The Last Temptation of Christ - $7 million
    No Direction Home - $2 million
    Shine A Light - $1 million

    Sure, Shutter Island and Hugo might be difficult to come up with via Kickstarter funding - at the moment, anyway. But, are we honestly meant to be concerned that the next Scorcese might "only" be able to raise enough money for the next Taxi Driver or Mean Streets? Hardly a compelling argument, and I'm sure there's enough people out there willing to fund a decent piece of cinema like that.

    My advice is to stop thinking of Kickstarter and other business models as replacement for the current studio/label/whatever system. Think of it as a replacement for the underground indie scenes and Roger Corman's production mills where Scorcese (among many other big names) made their marks.

     

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      jupiterkansas (profile), May 15th, 2012 @ 9:13am

      Re:

      Someone once asked Roger Corman what he'd do if they gave him a budget of $100 million. He said he'd make 10 movies. I'll take a dozen Taxi Drivers over one Shutter Island any day.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2012 @ 1:04am

    Manufacturing companies should look hard at Kickstarter and pay attention, what Kickstarter is doing is basically pre-selling things, companies could instead of relying on a board for green-lighting anything, hoping somebody buys it, they could just put up a webpage with all their projects and let people buy it, the ones that get funded are the ones that will be manufactured, it takes all the guess work out of the equation, there is no more "what do they want?" questions, put the projects online and let people go ape on what they want to see manufactured.

    This is a way to keep inventory low, you only sell what you can produce and have customers for, it takes out a great part of the cost of manufacturing, it reduces the uncertainty and the costs associated with trying to predict what others want.

    People who say otherwise probably never manufactured anything, because really this is huge, the costs reduction are enormous.

    Is like a lighthouse in the fog.

    Kickstarter could become the next Sony with tones of factories lining up to make part of it

     

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    Howard (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:47pm

    Kickstarter?

    From what I understand, Kickstarter also offers help in coming up with tiered donor incentives. And of course they also bring a certain amount of trust - they're a trusted third party with a good record of performing their donation escrow service. I have seen numbers that suggest that if you consider every indy comic published via Kickstarter campaigns, it is the #5 comics publisher in the US. They're doing something right. But then again I am one of those lefty third-wayer artists who thinks Occupy is a good thing.

     

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    KickStarter Fan (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:05pm

    KS is good

    Kickstarter is good, no one else was able to fund such great projects before...

     

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    Karan Sardana, Feb 4th, 2013 @ 4:07am

    revolutionary movies are at the gates it seems

    I came across a crowd-funding campaign, that aims to make a feature length English film which appears very unique and interesting.
    http://www.indiegogo.com/project103

    And I think this only a start and we are about to witness some incredible cinema that is funded and presented through this upcoming channel.

     

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