Over the past two years, Lionsgate has worked with YouTube stars on several high-profile projects. It teamed with Freddie Wong’s RocketJump for a Hulu series, picked up Dirty Thirty from Mamrie Hart, Hannah Hart, and Grace Helbig, and gave a two-film deal to German jokester Flula Borg.

As it turns out, those projects are only the beginning. The Los Angeles Times posted an in-depth look at Lionsgate’s relationship with the online video community, and a few key stats pop out. Most notably, the Hollywood studio revealed its intention to spend $25 million per year on feature films and episodic projects led by digital media influencers.

That $25 million annual budget will reportedly be spread across eight to ten features and three to five series. The typical project will cost between $1-2 million, thus making it much cheaper — and much more likely to deliver a high return on investment — than the nine-figure blockbusters in Lionsgate’s catalog.

While most of the influencer-based projects Lionsgate will produce will be distributed through on-demand platforms like iTunes, there is a chance for more successful entries to see theatrical release. “We think we could put something out into the world that’s worthy of a wide release,” Lionsgate exec Jen Hollingsworth told The L.A. Times. “We’re taking enough shots that it could happen.”

Lionsgate won’t just create films based around popular creators — it will also give those creators roles in its bigger-budget projects. The recent holiday film Boo! A Madea Halloween, for example, features six YouTube stars among its cast, including Yousef Erakat, Liza Koshy, and Jimmy Tatro. In possibly related news, Boo! had bigger-than-expected box office returns during its opening weekend, taking in $27.6 million.

The L.A. Times piece also notes a few future projects Lionsgate has in the works. Interestingly, the studio isn’t limiting its digital-native partners to big-time stars. One of its upcoming shows is led by Brian Jordan Alvarez, creator of the low-budget-but-high-quality web series The Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo.

Will Lionsgate’s digital-friendly strategy pay off? So far, the studio has seen promising returns on some of the projects it has green lit. Dirty Thirty, The L.A. Times notes, reached the #7 spot on the iTunes movie chart.

Facebook Comments

Don't miss out on the next big story.

Get Tubefilter's Top Stories, Breaking News, and Event updates delivered straight to your inbox.

This information will never be shared with a third party