The Indiegogo campaign for Super Troopers 2 has reached nearly $2.6 million in funding, easily passing the $2 million goal with 29 more days to go. The film is going to happen.
That may seems like a tiny budget though, and the campaign admits that $2 million would be the minimum amount to make the kind of film they'd like to. Any extra cash brought in will make the film better and larger in scope, and allow them to hire some fun guest stars, but it's worth pointing out that the sequel has already doubled the budget of the first movie.
"In the summer of 2000, four college friends and I grew mustaches, bought highway patrol uniforms and shot a $1.2 million budgeted independent film called Super Troopers," director Jay Chandrasekhar wrote in a column at the Huffington Post. "In January, 2001, at the Egyptian Theater in Park City, Utah, we screened the film for a packed, drunk and stoned, midnight crowd and sold the film to Fox Searchlight for $3.25 million. And we celebrated."
The rest of the budgeting gets a bit more complicated.
"Fox would spend an estimated $10 million to release a film with no bankable stars in it. The film was released on 1,800 screens, and would go on to gross roughly 19 million dollars in the U.S.," Chandrasekhar stated.
"But the real success story for the film was DVD. Over the next few years, Super Troopers would go on to gross somewhere between 65 million - 80 million dollars on DVD and video to become one of the most successful independent films of all time."
The home video market isn't nearly as strong these days, but by raising the budget through the fans and making the campaign itself news, the extensive marketing budget Fox blew on the theatrical release doesn't have to exist.
The team is free to sell the film directly to viewers on video on demand services and negotiate a good price on streaming services like Netflix. And of course, without taking studio money they don't have to listen to the studio when it comes to writing, shooting or editing the film. This is their movie, through and through.
The Super Troopers 2 business is in good hands, and it's likely the creative teams behind other cult hits is paying attention. It's not like this is the first big success in this area, or even the second.