Two-time Oscar-nominated director David Fincher (The Social Network, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) has turned to Kickstarter to help get his next film off the ground. Fincher has been working with visual effects house Blur Studio, who also created the title sequence for Fincher’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, to develop comic book adaption The Goon. But after becoming frustrated with their search for backing, Fincher and team have decided to take to the crowd funding website to ask for money to develop their animated take on the film. They’re not asking for the millions it would take to fund the whole project, but they are asking for $400,000 to develop what animators call a “story reel” to help sell the feature film. (A story reel is essentially a storyboard in motion: here’s a story reel for Toy Story.)
On their Kickstarter page, the Goon team joke that they want to make an adaptation that’s “LOUD, VIOLENT, and OFFENSIVE TO YOUR GRANDMA,” in the spirit of the paranormal comics—but that’s also the problem they face in funding the film. Sure, they have an Oscar-nominated actor on board in Paul Giamatti, but they say that the biggest problem they face is selling an animated film with a PG-13 rating. Hollywood decision-makers will inevitably look at past projects that have attempted the same and disappointed at the box office—say Bebe’s Kids, Cool World, or Titan A.E.—and worry that any new mature animated film will do the same.
But to me the idea of a PG-13 animated hit doesn’t seem so far-fetched in the days when Pixar has made millions of adults into fans of animation as passionate as any child. In fact, recent entries like 9 and The Simpsons Movie have made back their budget and more. On the other hand, from the project’s proof-of-concept trailer—which in under three minutes manages to cram in drinking games, profanity, bouncy CGI cleavage, a character insulting another as a “retard,” and an exploding head—it’s clear that Goon isn’t quite the same as those movies either.
You can watch their Kickstarter pitch above. It’s not exactly Fincher’s best work, but he and Blur’s Jeff Fowler and Tim Miller have some fun making fun of Hollywood’s way of pandering to key demographics. (It’s clear that Fincher knows Brow Beat’s “fans of movie trailers” and “fans of popular music” demographics particularly well.) As usual, Kickstarters who pledge their hard-earned dollars will also get their own goodie-bag-style souvenirs, which in this case includes items spanning from original art to t-shirts to access to the film’s production blog.
Fincher isn’t the first high-profile filmmaker to turn to Kickstarter. Back in July, writer-director Charlie Kaufman turned to Kickstarter to fund his animated debut Anomalisa, raising a record-breaking $400,000 toward an original $200,000 goal. And it’s not surprising to see Fincher, who has long kept himself on the cutting edge when it comes to filmmaking technology and innovations, being among the first major filmmakers to use the website. Fincher is also launching pioneering Netflix series House of Cards with star Kevin Spacey on Feb. 1.
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