Legion M Entertainment, the first fan-owned movie studio, exploded onto the scene a year ago at the Silicon Valley Comic Con, opening the first round of funding under the JOBS Act and knocking it out of the park with $1.2 million raised. The Title III funding cap was $1 million. What the what? That many people thought that a fan-owned company was a great idea. This past March, they opened the second round of funding with a Reg A+ offering. In essence, they are funding a “mini-IPO” without being truly public. Since opening the second round of funding, there are 1,801 investors (this includes new investors and investors that invested in the first round) for a total of $1,077,360. You can find the latest numbers on Wefunder.
Since closing the round one funding and finalizing the SEC paperwork for round two, the staff of Legion M have been busy. They’ve pitched to Legendary Digital, recorded a VR series pilot, and released a little movie starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis called Colossal with NEON Distribution. They have also joined the production team for The Field Guide to Evil.
What really makes this year so special? Besides the opening of round two funding? Colossal. If you haven’t heard of it, that’s okay. Here’s a link to the website with the movie trailer. Take a moment and watch it. Or, if you’d rather see the clip Jimmy Fallon had during his interview with Anne Hathaway, it’s right here.
Why is Colossal so special? Colossal debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016 (the very same festival that featured La La Land), won Best Picture at Fantastic Fest, played at Sundance in 2017 and was a Festival Favorite at SXSW 2017. Why is this important? Not every indie movie that gets produced gets this much attention. Here’s a list of 50 of the greatest indie films of all time as ranked by Empire magazine. If you haven’t heard of all of them, that’s okay.
Colossal is backed by Voltage Pictures, Route One Entertainment, Union Investment Partners, Sayaka Producciones, Brightlight Pictures and Legion M, all indie movie production houses. Its distribution is by a new company called Neon (which is owned by Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League and Tom Quinn). Box Office Mojo puts the to-date domestic gross at just over $1,000,000. This film is written and directed by Nacho Vigalondo. (If you’re near an Alamo Drafthouse, you have a better chance of seeing this than I do.) It’s an indie feature film that’s gaining traction with A-list leads.
Legion M has also led the way in VR development by partnering with VR Playhouse for the ICONS: Face to Face project. Their first subject was the King of Cameos, Stan Lee. Stan selected Kevin Smith as his interviewer, which was what the investors had hoped for, and this project is still in-progress! I can’t even begin to eloquently discuss the technology involved in ensuring this library stands the test of time, but you can read about it over at Fast Company.
They have even held their first pitch submission! There were two forms of entry, at Stan Lee’s Los Angeles Comic Con (formerly Comikaze) and the Pitch Elevator or via online entry. There were over 400 entries, half of which were from LACC, and the judges were the members of Legion M. Pitchers were not just from within Legion M but anyone who wanted the chance to win a development deal. Round one judging has been completed and we’re waiting on the go-ahead for round two judging. Pitches ranged from good, to bad, to downright ick, but everyone who submitted gets two-thumbs up for putting themselves out there.
Legion M isn’t just another media production company. Legion M has built a community. Drop by the forums, cruise around and you’ll see that there are a vast amount of resources that are being operated by volunteers. They volunteer because Legion M is something they’ve invested in with sweat, not just money. No other company is built the way Legion M is. Everyone that’s a member or an investor is there because they’re a fan of movies and want to take part in reshaping how Hollywood interacts with fans.
Any project that comes out with Legion M as a backer, already has a fan base with free social media promotion. It’s pretty ingenious if you ask me, and we’ve seen it work. Colossal was pushed, tweeted, re-tweeted and Instagrammed by Legion M investors and members. Kaiju (The creature from “Colossal”) was out at theatres interacting with movie-goers, and also at Silicon Valley Comic Con where he posed with Bill Shatner and Nichelle Nichols. Would another studio do this? Probably not.
Legion M puts Hollywood in the hands of the fans.