One of the many crowdfunding projects I’ve overlooked for our Fund This Film series, Lazer Team still managed to not only reach its goal but exceed it tremendously. Austin-based production company Rooster Teeth aimed to raise $650k. They took in $2.5m in pledges. That’s a whopping 382% success story, the third-highest crowdfunding total for a movie (behind Veronica Mars and Zach Braff’s Wish I Was Here) and the record holder over at their host site, Indiegogo.
What’s been particularly notable about the campaign’s achievement is that Lazer Team is not based on any preexisting property (unlike Veronica Mars) or the latest effort from a famous filmmaker (like Zach Braff or Spike Lee, who raised half as much with his campaign for his latest). Rooster Teeth are well-known enough on the Internet, however, thanks to their popular Red vs. Blue web series. Still, I never would have imagined they have the kind of fanbase that would result in something this huge.
As you can see in the teaser up above, this barely even looks like an indie movie. Outside of its lack of major stars, Lazer Team could easily be placed beside Evolution, The Watch and the upcoming Pixels, all mainstream releases similarly about a quartet of guys fighting aliens. Some of it does feel a little less promising on the directorial front (this is Matt Hullum’s feature debut), but this is a very brief preview. The full trailer will premiere next month at SXSW and then the movie itself is set to arrive later this year.
Here’s the official synopsis for the movie:
Lazer Team begins decades ago when the Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence project received a onetime signal from outer space, which was never decoded. Or so we were told. Unbeknownst to the general public, the secretly translated signal said two things: One, we are not alone, and two, the galaxy is a dangerous place. Working in total secrecy, the US government has been training a single Champion of Earth – a warrior of incredible skill to don a suit of unimaginable power designed by new alien allies in preparation for Earth’s battle for survival against an evil race of aliens. Unfortunately, the suit never made it all the way to its intended destination. Instead of a lone savior, four hapless idiots find the suit and are thrust into the role of heroes as the titular Lazer Team.
Lazer Team is a sci-fi comedy directed by Matt Hullum from a story by Burnie Burns, and script by Hullum, Burns, Josh Flanagan, and Chris Demarais. It features a principal cast including: Alan Ritchson (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) as Adam, also known as the Champion of Earth. The four bumbling members of Lazer Team will be portrayed by Colton Dunn (Parks and Recreation) as Herman, and our very own Gavin Free as Woody, Michael Jones as Zach, and Burnie Burns as Hagan. Alexandria Deberry (A.N.T. Farm) plays Hagan’s daughter Mindy.