Bright lights, Dog River.
Bell Media announced this week that it is partnering with Telefilm Canada to bring the hit CTV sitcom Corner Gas, which ran for 107 episodes between 2004 and 2009, to the big screen as a 90-minute feature film.
The theatrical debut will be followed by premieres on several Bell Media properties, including The Movie Network, CTV and The Comedy Network. A DVD edition of the movie will also be released prior to the holidays.
As with the TV property, which featured brand integrations for products ranging from Cheez Whiz to the Sears Canada catalogue, the movie will also be open to marketers, said Bell Media representatives.
“Sponsorship of Corner Gas: The Movie is available and Bell Media is actively looking to collaborate with clients to create innovative cross-platform sponsorship opportunities,” said Laird White, Bell Media’s director of brand partnerships.
The new production is being supported by a new website, CornerGasTheMovie.com, which also encourages visitors to contribute to a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign has already surpassed its fundraising goal of $100,000, with 823 backers raising more than $120,000 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Kickstarter contributors receive varying levels of recognition depending on how much they donate. A $25 donation gets their name in the credits, while a $35 donation also gets them a script with director’s notes and an “I’m pumped” bumper sticker.
Kickstarter has proven to be a powerful funding mechanism for these types of projects. Earlier this year, more than 91,000 people raised US$5.7 million—nearly triple the original fundraising objective of $2 million—to help fund a theatrical resurrection of the cult UPN/The CW show Veronica Mars. It was the fastest project to reach both $1 million and $2 million in funding, and the all-time highest-funded project in the film category.
In addition to Bell Media and Telefilm, Cineplex, the Canada Media Fund, Tourism Saskatchewan, Creative Saskatchewan and The Ontario Film Tax Credit Program have also provided additional financial support for the Corner Gas film.
Each member of the original cast is returning for the movie, which is written by star Brent Butt along with Andrew Carr and Andrew Wreggitt. The movie is being directed by David Storey, who served as a key director on the TV series.
The movie is set five years after the series finale, which drew 3.02 million viewers and remains a record audience for a Canadian scripted series.