FILE - This 2007 publicity photo supplied by the CW shows Kristen Bell, who plays the title role in "Veronica Mars" on The CW Network. “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas and stars of the TV show that aired from 2004-07 have launched an online fundraising campaign for a big-screen version. (AP Photo/CW, Michael Desmond, File)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — "Veronica Mars" fans eager for a movie based on the TV series have a chance to put their money where their hopes are.
Series creator Rob Thomas launched an online crowd-funding campaign Wednesday to make a big-screen version of the show. "Veronica Mars," which starred Kristen Bell as a young sleuth, ended its three-season run in 2007.
On the Kickstarter website, Thomas said the $2 million fundraiser represents "our one shot to see a 'Veronica Mars' movie happen." Within hours Wednesday, more than 23,000 backers had pledged $1.5 million and counting.
It's the fastest project yet to reach $1 million on Kickstarter — in 4 hours, 24 minutes — and the most-funded film or video project to date, according to a spokesman for the site. Previous top movie fundraisers are the planned "The Goon" ($442,000) and "Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa" ($406,000), both animated.
Thomas said "Veronica Mars" owner Warner Bros. has given the project its blessing, and Bell and other cast members are ready to begin production this summer for a 2014 release. A studio spokesman said a limited release, meaning it may not be on thousands of screens or in every city, is likely at this point.
The fundraising campaign, which was confirmed by Thomas' representative at United Talent Agency, ends April 12.
"You have banded together like the sassy little honey badgers you are and made this possibility happen," Bell said in an online message, promising the "sleuthiest, snarkiest" movie possible.
Bell is back on TV in "House of Lies," the Showtime series starring Don Cheadle.
She and several "Veronica Mars" cast members appear in a lighthearted video on Kickstarter in which they mull the prospect of reuniting.
The series averaged between 2.2 million and 2.5 million viewers in its two-year run on the now-defunct UPN and final season on the CW network. Those modest numbers are overshadowed by the intense fan devotion that has kept dreams of a movie alive.
Backers are eligible for various goodies, ranging from a PDF copy of the script to be sent on the day the film is released (for a $10 pledge) to naming rights to a character (for $8,000). An appearance in the movie, available to one $10,000 contributor, was snapped up.
Crowdsourcing has given filmmakers a new way to get always-elusive funding. At last month's Academy Awards, the short documentary "Inocente" became the first Kickstarter-funded film to win an Oscar. It received $52,000 from 300 contributors.
AP Business Writer Ryan Nakashima contributed to this report.