Last year, fans of the newspaper comic strip Calvin and Hobbes made their voices and wallets heard when they successfully funded filmmaker Joel Schroeder’s Kickstarter project. The proposed project, a documentary entitled Dear Mr. Watterson (referring to the strip’s creator, Bill Watterson) raised over $92,000 between June 14 and July 14 of 2012.
Dear Mr. Watterson is all about the fans who fell in love with the adventures of a young boy with an overactive imagination and a his best friend, a talking tiger (who may or may not actually be a stuffed animal). The documentary also features interviews with artists that were inspired by Calvin and Hobbes including comic strip cartoonists Bill Amend and Berkley Breathed (the creators of Foxtrot and Bloom County, respectively) and Robot Chicken creator, Seth Green.
Interestingly, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “[Schroeder] didn’t choose to search for the elusive Bill Watterson, the J.D. Salinger-like mastermind behind Calvin and Hobbes who doesn’t speak or appear publicly; but instead tried to answer the question of why Watterson’s “simple” comic strip still means so much to its ever growing fan base.” The film is currently in limited release theatrically, and is also available as of today, November 15th, on its official website, OnDemand, and VHX (the digital distribution company behind documentaries like Indie Game and Sound City).
We at mxdwn Movies have covered Kickstarter funded films before, as they are becoming an increasingly common method for filmmakers (independent or otherwise) to get their artistic visions off the ground. The success of Dear Mr. Watterson and other projects should demonstrate to bigger studios that certain markets do exist – however niche they may be.