When Zach Braff launched the Kickstarter for his next movie, Wish I Was Here, he stated that the crowdfunding effort was happening to avoid traditional financing restrictions. Braff explained that he could have gotten a traditional funding deal but it would come with the usual strings - denial of final cut, casting decisions made by financiers, etc. So he turned to the people to raise the two million dollars he wanted to make the movie his way.
Today he got seven or eight million more dollars from a traditional financier. You know, the kind of guys who demand final cut and who make casting decisions for the filmmaker.
I'm not even sure what to say about this. From where I stand the whole thing looks like shady, unpleasant bullshit. Like a publicity stunt, mostly. I'm sure that the success of the Kickstarter and the publicity it generated turned financier heads; it's very possible that Braff got the extra money with few to no strings attached. But if Braff wanted a budget in the ten million dollar range he was always going to need to go traditional for the majority of it.
What bugs me isn't that Braff leveraged the Kickstarter to get more traditional funding (and as non-Braff aligned producer/One Direction patsy Keith Calder mentions on Twitter, it's possible that the listed budget is inflated to get better deals when selling the film) but that the stated purpose of his Kickstarter wasn't true. This wasn't a crowd-sourced movie. This wasn't a new step forward in filmmakers taking the means of production into their own hands. This was a way to secure traditional funding but with a gimmick.
It's worth noting that if you donated to Zach Braff's Kickstarter you have eight days to get your pledge removed. Since he has the money for his movie from traditional sources and his rewards are pretty much junk, I recommend you do so. The movie's getting made with or without you. Save your money for a ticket.
UPDATE: It seems like the producers of Wish I Was Here went into immediate damage control when this hit The Hollywood Reporter and the response was so negative. They went to Variety and had the trade print a story that clarifies that the financing they received is gap financing. This is essentially a loan; Wish I Was Here is at Cannes looking to sell to foreign markets, and they're banking on making a certain amount of money to do so. Since the film starts shooting soon, they can't wait for those foreign sales to come in and thus reached out for the gap financing.
"Worldview may end up providing nothing at the end of the day beyond the gap loan depending on how we do in Cannes,” Stacy Sher had Variety print.
This is pretty interesting. Gap financing is very, very different from standard financing. The Hollywood Reporter got the exclusive - with quotes from people involved - so why wasn't that specified? Somebody did a very bad job of placing stories today.