The Guardian has a piece about a British production company, Vertigo Films, opening up financing to their fans. Basically the fan-producers would get a number of perks including DVD's of the finished film, credits, and chances to be extras. The production group has a cult following of about 1.6 million. The cost of production for an average British independent is 5 million. The math seems reasonable.
I think this is an awesome idea. It increases fan loyalty, while at the same time getting built in audience approval for material. It's not for everyone, though. Their business model works because they have very loyal fans. Not many film companies have this sort of loyalty. Perhaps View Askew could do this, or Troma (come to think about it, they get fan extras without offering them producing credits), but I can't think of many others. --Terrence Ryan