“The Goon” Kickstarter Sets New Crowdfunding Record For An Animated Project

Last Sunday, Blur Studio completed its crowdfunding effort for the proposed animated feature, The Goon, based on Eric Powell’s comic book. They exceeded their $400,000 goal, and set a new crowdfunding record for an animation project by raising $441,900 from 7,576 backers. The previous record-holder, Starburns Industries, had raised $406,237 in September for their stop motion film Anomalisa.

During The Goon campaign, I wrote a critique of the fundraising effort owing to the fact that the money wouldn’t be used to produce any animation. Instead, the money will be spent to create a story reel for a feature film, at which point Blur and film director David Fincher will shop the project around to various studios for additional funding.

Among my critiques of the campaign was that the majority of backers wouldn’t be able to view the finished story reel. Following our piece though, The Goon filmmakers revised the campaign and promised that they would hold a screening of the story reel in Los Angeles for the backers. There is, of course, still no guarantee that an animated film will result from all of this, but Blur Studio should rightfully be proud of raising a record-setting amount of money for a crowdfunded animation project. And at the very least, fans of The Goon can be assured of a slick half-million dollar story reel.


  • Chris

    On one hand it’s nice to see that they made it and I wish Blur all the best for the project.

    On the other I can’t help but think it’s not proper that a studio with capacities like Blur and big names like Fincher attached to the project asks for money on an entirely commercial project.

    If this goes ahead they will take the massive financial benefits a project like this can bring, so they should carry the risk and not use kickstarter as their safety net.

    I know they have already spent money on it. However the blur partners and Fincher could probably afford to pay 400. Or maybe chip in half to show how strong you feel about it.

    I also know this was supposed to show hollywood that there is an audience for a project like this. I don’t know if around 7.5k backers count as an audience for hollywood execs, so this might or might not have worked out.

    in any case now that you got the money good luck.

    But don’t come back asking for 40 million for the final piece if you don’t get it ;)

    • ikas

      7500 backers, spread around the globe, might not make a seizable number for hollywood to screen a film, logistically speaking.

      • Jason

        I guess that means people hate cartoons since only like 200k people on the planet visit cartoonbrew…

  • Nic

    I’m simultaneously very happy for them that they achieved their goal, and very skeptical that anything will come of it. I wish them the best and I hope that, should they see profitable results, they will find a way to give back to the community that helped them.

    On a completely unrelated note: The cover photo for this story is pretty disturbing.

  • http://oneeyedrobot.com Yoram Benz

    I guess this is good. People have the choice to invest in whatever project they want, however they did have a huge edge using the “cachet” of Blur and Fincher. It’s a win win for them, if the project is not green lit they don’t owe the money back to the investors. I feel like using crowdfunding for project of this caliber can draw attention away to smaller projects which only have crowdfunding as an option to fund their projects.

  • Oslaf

    Awesome! This may finally be the end of that silly business of actually getting stuff done at all, for anything, ever, in order to actually make people to give you money. Welcome to the 21st century!

    Soon: your furniture on the cloud!

  • Clutch

    So what you’re saying Chris is, congratulations Blur but you shouldn’t have a kickstarter in the first place? Because if you were “serious” at all, you should have ponied up the half million of your own money, y’know the money you have lying around after running an animation studio with a staff of about 200 employees, in the most expensive place in the US? Because Blur probably has the bankroll say Dreamworks has? Also, Fincher should pitch in the 40 mil too, right? He’s got that lying around too, cause all movie directors make the same money as the actors do on these big films, right? Also, 7500 backers, that’s pitiful, right? By that logic, nobody should bankroll any new ideas for films, just films people recognize the characters in. Greenlight movies like Yogi Bear, not the Goon. People have to know the Goon, before it gets made, right? Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    • Chris

      No that is not what I was saying. It does not sound like you have read or understood my post…

      Let me try to explain what I said again just for you

      1. nobody talks about half a million anywhere -it’s 400k

      2. Putting in that money -or even 200k would show how serious they are. And it would not look like they want to go safe in case things don’t work out.

      3. They don’t have the bankroll dreamworks have but they have money that is a fact. And since they will cash in if the project is financially viable they should bear some risk as well no?

      4. I did not say anywhere Fincher should come up with 40 million. Where the hell did you read that?

      5. I never said 7500 backers are pitiful. I said that I don’t know whether this number is large enough to make a difference to hollywood.

      6. I did not say anywhere only films with known characters should get made.

      Next time try not to misinterprete and exaggerate what you read.

      thanks

      • Clutch

        1.I was referring to the last line in Amid’s article.
        2. Blur and Fincher have spent a lot of their own money already, they have said so in interviews for the kickstarter. Paying for concept art, several test animations, proof of concept animations AND paying for voice talent…all that not ENOUGH proof for you of how serious they are? They have spent more than this kickstarter raised on their own already. Sheesh.
        3. How do you know what a small studio like blur has in their bank accounts? Do you know how tough it is for a small animation studio to survive in today’s economic world? Look at how many small boutique FX houses have closed the past couple years. Blur survives on commericial and game cinematic work, etc. It’s not an easy market, come on!
        4. My bad, I was projecting. You didn’t say that per se, but I have read other comments elsewhere where people have assumed that Fincher has billions to finance his movies.

        Bottomline? At least they are TRYING something. But don’t say they haven’t taken a chance already with the money they’ve spent before they did a kickstarter.

  • Zac

    I’m really not that bothered by this scenario. I say kudos to Blur for taking the initiative to try and see this project through. Animated PG-13 movies are almost unheard of, in general. The ones that do exist mostly suck. So to see The Goon in theaters, with such a quality studio producing it, with a great director, and great voice actors.. I don’t care how they get the money to make it happen.

    Like I said with the first, highly editorial article CB posted, if you feel so strongly against crowd funding a studio’s story reel because you imagine they’ll just be laughing all the way to the bank with the $400,000, then just don’t fund it. But try and count how many really good animated movies you’ve seen come out in the last 5 years. Now take out the sequels, re-makes, and re-tellings of old fairy tales.

    • Mike

      There have been plenty of quality original animated films over the last few years: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline, ParaNorman, Pirates, The Illusionist, How to Train Your Dragon, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Rango, Arrietty…and those are just the ones off the top of my head. My point is, it’s not an absolute necessity to turn to methods like this for quality animated features–though there’s obviously a lot more big-budget fluff to sort through these days, you can find good films in all styles if you keep a look out and have a discerning eye.

      That said, I’m also excited for the possibilities Kickstarter provides for indie animation funding. But I don’t think the mainstream animated feature landscape is quite as barren as you seem to.

      • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto González

        The key word is “adult” animated film. Most of the ones that hit theatres are anime, french movies or indie american movies.

        David Fincher is not Spielberg and his movies are not blockbusters, but I would like to see an adult animated films that’s not for the ‘indie’ crowd-not that indie is bad, but I’d like to see something oriented for a wider audience. This looks like it’d be a really funny adult animated movie. That’s not very usual, except for Bill Plympton. Most of the adult animated movies are dramas with some little comedy. The Goon looks action-packed too.

        • Mike

          I would contend that any animated film that is enjoyable for adults is an adult animated film. Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Incredibles, even to an extent films like Rango–all these will be enjoyable to children due to the animation but are hard to fully appreciate unless viewed as an adult. Animation is but a means to an end of telling a story, and to suggest that it has to be violent, racy or whatever to be ‘adult’ does it a disservice.

          • http://elblogderg.blogspot.com Roberto González

            I agree with you to some extent. Then again, I also enjoy racy and adult to some extent. And if you look at the movies most of the life action ‘adult’ films have violence or swearing or sex. So maybe that would take some audience that don’t watch other animated movies to the theatres.

            Personally I used to think like you, and I agree most of the good ones are enjoyable for adults (I’d say Rango and Fantastic Mr. Fox are the most enjoyable for adults of your list). But I’m kinda sick of ‘family’. I wish there would be more movies in the vein of Looney Tunes or Asterix comic books. Even The Smurfs comic book. Those tell stories that are funny and interesting but they don’t feel the need to mention ‘family’ every five minutes or have a very obvious moral (Smurfs comic book actually have morals, but they are not the usual ones we see in a Pixar or Disney movies).

            Even something like Dexter’s Lab I think it says something about family, there are these two brothers that are very different and kind of complementary (Dee Dee is dumb but she’s more ‘street-smart’ than Dexter and helps him at times), but that doesn’t stop the show from being funny or introducing some forced moral. Hotel Transylvania was funnier than most animated films but it had the usual feature-family pathos.

            I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can have a family film without reminding you it’s a family film every five minutes. I haven’t seen ParaNorman yet, but I think Laika gets it right.

  • Joseph

    Yeah I really don’t see this changing studio execs minds. I think they need to do this film on an indie budget. You can’t become Pixar overnight.

  • shmeh

    Although i understand that this was their last resort, because all their previous tries have failed, i do think that if your movie is just too damn expensive to make for studios to back you up, then maybe you should try and lower your costs a little.

    Instead of famous actors for voices, whom, lets be honest, apart from the name don’t really make a large difference to the quality of a film that say, a quality voice actor (and there are plenty) without an acting name could achieve, use that money to fund your animatic.

    And also, 400k for an animatic? I dont think people would be bothered if they were asking 30k… but come on. Do you need that much money for an animatic? Cant you maybe make it less costly? Cant you maybe not pay for expensive musical scores made for the film until you got studio backing? Does the animatic need to have Giamatti’s voice? Why not use the actor youre currently using?

    • Dutchie

      But Giamatti IS the actor they’re currently using, it’s his voice in all the animation tests.

      250k of the raised money goes to the storyboarders and 20k to VO recording/sound mixing. No mention of music. I do agree it sounds expensive for an animatic, but it doesn’t seem to be for the reasons you mentioned. They must be hiring some really expensive artists or want very detailed boards.

  • Drew

    David Fincher is worth all of us combined.

    • http://oneeyedrobot.com Yoram Benz

      True! And he shouldn’t need crowd funding to get any of his projects of the ground…

  • Lib

    This is a necessary movie for Western feature animation.

  • T.D.

    Sad facts: blur got money from the only people in the world who care whether or not this film is ever made.

    • Dutchie

      Nah, I love the Goon comics and I love the teaser – I would totally love this movie. But I didn’t throw money their way. I didn’t like the idea of paying for something when there is a good chance I will never see anything come out of it. Has a studio ever picked up a movie based on a full length story reel? Will they even sit down and watch the whole thing? I hope they do, but I imagine they’d already have a pretty good idea of what the movie is after the pitch + that 2,5 minute animated piece.

      Also, the rewards were pretty lousy unless you were willing to pay big $.

      Plus, I have already backed 2 other animation related projects recently. That was enough for me for a while.

  • Trevor

    I still wonder what a story reel will do to convince a studio to pick this up that the animation test piece didn’t.

    • Zac

      That’s definitely a great point. That proof of concept they did a couple of years ago is a lot more telling than a story reel would ever be. The problem they’re having is selling a PG-13 movie.

      The biggest thing this kickstarter did, besides fund the next step in this feature, is bring it back to the front of discussion. I think a lot of people didn’t know Blur did that piece, and after two years, I assumed the whole “making it a full movie” thing was scrapped. If anything will convince execs of this project’s potential it’s proof that it will sell. And if history has shown us anything it’s that a movie doesn’t have to be good to sell.

      • Roberto González

        I don’t really think the story reel would show the potential of the movie a lot more than the already awesome scene they entirely animated , which is very well done technically and really funny in its content. But the Kickstarter thing at least serves to show there’s some audience that will be interested to watch the movie and that could help the project more than the story reel. Or not, cause the number of backers in the kickstarter campaign maybe is not enough for the audience expectations of big animated features.

  • Matt Mitchell

    I think it’s important for people to know that fans of the goon pressurised Eric Powell to consider a kickstarter project when they heard the film was having a hard time getting funded.