David Fincher Turns to Kickstarter to Fund His Animated 'The Goon'
We've been talking about an animated film adaptation of Eric Powell's comic series The Goon since 2009, and with a heavy hitter like David Fincher on board as a producer, we figured we would have seen the finished product by now. But despite a presence at Comic-Con 2010 and a quick teaser showing off an early look at the animation style, they haven't been able to get funding from a studio to get this off the ground. So now Fincher, VFX whiz Tim Miller, and Blur Studios director Jeff Fowler are turning to Kickstarter (via Indiewire) to try to raise $400,000 from excited fans to create a full story reel for the movie. More below!
Here's the pitch video for The Goon from Fincher and Blur Studios via their Kickstarter page:
Looks pretty rad to me. Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption) and Paul Giamatti are voicing the main characters, and they fit in really well with Powell's dank, grungy universe. They also have some of the coolest rewards that I've ever seen offered in a Kickstarter movie campaign, with everything from access to their production blog to keep an eye on the project's progress to a meet and greet with David Fincher himself and the rest of the production team after touring Blur Studios in Los Angeles.
But here's the heart of the debate. As the writer of FS.net's weekly Kickstart This column, I have read a lot of complaints in the comments about how established filmmakers shouldn't be using Kickstarter to raise money for their projects. There seems to be a school of thought out there that Kickstarter is only for the little guys, people who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford to create their artwork without the help of a community pledging their support. I'm torn on the subject, because I see why people would think that. It's the whole "why would millionaires turn to Kickstarter to raise money?" And "why wouldn't they fund it themselves?" argument. But allow me to offer a quick defense on their behalf.
From what I've seen, these established filmmakers have only been turning to Kickstarter to make things that otherwise couldn't or wouldn't be made outside of the studio system. They've tried the normal channels and because of Hollywood's one-track way of thinking, they've been shut down in various ways, or they know from the start that their work would be too much for the suits to process. Charlie Kaufman's stop-motion Anomalisa is a good example of one of these projects trying to get off the ground.
Who are we to say that these filmmakers use crowdfunding to allow these passion projects to exist? If Len Wiseman was on Kickstarter begging for money for his upcoming adaptation of The Mummy, that would be a different story entirely. But in the case of The Goon, we have a foul-mouthed, violent animated character that no studio would touch without a great presentation of exactly what it will look like and why it will work, and I don't blame Fincher and his team for trying to drum up some grassroots support for the project along the way. That way, you can quantify something for the suits during the presentation and say, "Look, we had this many people donate," or "this many people check out the page" as a way to prove audience interest.
We'll toss it to you: Should prominent filmmakers use Kickstarter to fund their films? Sound off!
Reader Feedback - 19 Comments
I really hope this gets the money.
Nielsen700 on Oct 12, 2012
Kickstarter really is a game changer and every time I hear it mentioned I just think to myself "why didn't I think of that."
Matt Peloquin on Oct 12, 2012
In my honest, repectful opinion, I feel that Fincher and the gang shouldn't have to resort to this, ESPECIALLY in this day and age. Everyone from this website to geektyrant, I see up and coming guys make shorts left and right, and they get all kinds of critical acclaim from the online community, which leads to studio attention! If they are going to raise that much for Goon, don't shoot a reel, shoot a short! That way, the ball will at least be back in their court, because then the project would have an audience!
Big Boss on Oct 12, 2012
Completely agree with this.
bat0u on Oct 12, 2012
I don't care how they get the money, I just want this to happen. I love Clancy Brown, and this just looks like it'll be damn enjoyable!
grimjob on Oct 12, 2012
I really don't know why this isn't being made, the comics are great, the animation already looks good, just strange. Liked the video!
Carpola on Oct 12, 2012
I suspect it falls too much in between genres. It's a cartoon but it's got a good amount of adult content. In Hollywood, animation is for kids and Pixar, shooting machine guns from a car is for adults and live action. Honestly, purely in economic terms, it probably would be risky for a studio to invest in this; you're going to have parent groups bitching about it, if nothing else.
Wafffles on Oct 16, 2012
True Waffles, but I actually thought it could have good mass appeal, it has a lot going on in every scene of the comic book and the relationship between the characters is good too. But yep, boobs n bombs wins every time it seems, more just bombs these days.
Carpola on Oct 16, 2012
The studio behind Ghost in the Shell also has a Kickstarter. Go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/production-ig/masaaki-yuasas-kick-heart for details.
Daniel Zelter on Oct 12, 2012
So, this is going to fund just a story reel, right? What makes them think that having a story reel will put them any closer to actually finishing/releasing "The Goon" than they already are?
brijazz012 on Oct 13, 2012
I remember seeing a trailer for this a year or two ago. I think it was posted on this site too.
Chris Amaya on Oct 13, 2012
Wait...you're telling me Fincher can't come up with 400,000.00? As much as people bash Lucas, at least he puts his money where his mouth is an funds his films out of pocket.
Greedy on Oct 13, 2012
So did Mel Gibson with "Passion of the Christ". He flipped his own $30M into the film and it made Matrix money. That's how it should be done, especially on Fincher's level.
Big Boss on Oct 13, 2012
I understand that, especially over the last couple of years, getting original content greenlit and onto the big screen is a battle. Saying that I don't think that people such as Fincher should be allowed to use crowd funding to produce a film. Surely once you've become successfull in Hollywood you have enough cash and contacts to help a smaller studio get one of your dream productions off the ground!?! Am I wrong in thinking that the beauty of Kickstarter is helping unknowns reach their potential? How long before the new studio plan is to get the target audience to fund the project AND pay to see the outcome? Personally I say leave Kickstarter to those who really need the help crafting their dream and don't put the added obsticle of established artists asking for the cash that could go their way... If that makes sense. In other news, I'd watch The Goon and I'm sure a lot more would, studios take note.
MR Lee on Oct 13, 2012
I get Ben's point about big shots using Kickstarter, but to me Kickstarter is a great place to give creative awesomeness a chance to exist that either wouldn't have a chance or would be destroyed by corporate greed. The Goon is a perfect fit for Kickstarter in my opinion, because it doesn't seem to be a mainstream project with broad appeal. Most CG animated movies out there are targeted for families. Its about time people use CG Animation more for older generation entertainment. Its a whole new market. I never understood why this project didn't get of the ground. It looks great. With the talent attached... You might almost think something is wrong with the story... But I have good hopes so lets get it made!
Rick on Oct 14, 2012
Not familiar with Kickstart, but if people are funding the film and the film makes huge dollars, do they get a cut of the profit? Or does all the profits go to the studio that will eventually pick it up? Or am I completely off here?
phantomrockcity on Oct 15, 2012
No share of the profits, each level of 'investment' (really a donation) comes with a predefined reward. I haven't looked at it yet, but for example, they could say you get a copy of the movie for a $25 donation, an autographed copy for $100, and visit to the production studio for $1000.
Wafffles on Oct 16, 2012
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