First Film Property Featuring Digital Superstars Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox of Comedy Brand SMOSH
VANCOUVER and SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Expanding its presence in the creation and delivery of branded digital content, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a premier next generation global content leader, today announced the acquisition of distribution rights to The SMOSH Movie, starring the web-based comedy duo of Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, best known to their legions of YouTube fans as SMOSH. The production was jointly financed by AwesomenessTV, founded and run by Brian Robbins (Varsity Blues, Smallville, Lionsgate's upcoming The Royals), and DEFY Media, a leading independent creator and distributor of digital content, in which Lionsgate has an equity interest.
SMOSH, one of DEFY Media's most iconic properties and an online fixture since 2005, is currently the largest content brand for 13-17 year olds. With over 30 million combined YouTube subscribers, 19 million social followers, and 12 million monthly unique website visitors, SMOSH has one of the strongest digital footprints of any media brand in existence today. Based on the strength of these audiences, SMOSH has also seen multiple chart-topping musical endeavors, record-setting channel spinoffs and top-selling mobile and game apps, with more than one million downloads to date.
In addition to Padilla and Hecox, The SMOSH Movie features YouTube stars Jenna Marbles, Grace Helbig, Harley Morenstein, Shane Dawson, Mark Fischback (Markiplier) and Dominic "D-Trix" Sandoval (with over 32 million combined subscribers),as well as Jillian Nelson, Brittany Ross, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Michael Ian Black.
"The SMOSH Movie brings to life a YouTube comedy franchise beloved by fans around the world and reflects our commitment to extend storytelling in exciting new directions that reach today's digital audience," said Lionsgate President of Acquisitions & Co-Productions Jason Constantine. "We're delighted to extend our relationship with the versatile and incredibly talented Brian Robbins, with whom we're partnered on a range of film, television and digital properties, as well as to add one of DEFY Media's great digital properties to our roster."
"We've had a great partnership with Lionsgate and this is the perfect way to extend it," said Robbins. "SMOSH is one of the most treasured brands on YouTube, and Ian and Anthony are big time comedic talents. Once we read Eric Falconer's script, we knew we had something different and exciting."
"SMOSH has demonstrated an incredible ability to engage an enormous, worldwide audience with their unique brand of comedy, and to extend that brand to create a world of SMOSH channels, brands, programs and products," said DEFY Media CEO Matt Diamond. "Our production marks a major next step in super-serving our audience of millions and an opportunity to entertain millions more. We're thrilled to collaborate with Brian Robbins and the team at Lionsgate in fulfilling SMOSH's creative vision."
A high-concept Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure for 2014, The SMOSH Movie revolves around an embarrassing video of Anthony that resurfaces online right before his fifth high school reunion, leading the SMOSH duo into a headlong race to remove the clip before it ruins Anthony's chances of reconnecting with high school crush Anna. Anthony and Ian leap through a portal onto YouTube, and what follows is the adventure of a lifetime as SMOSH encounters one YouTube celebrity after another in their quest to alter a video and hopefully change their lives.
Eric Falconer (Blue Mountain State, How I Met Your Mother) wrote the script directed by Alex Winter (Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Freaked). The executive producers are Brett Bouttier, Joe Davola, Barry Blumberg, Shauna Phelan, Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox. Brian Robbins serves as producer. He is also producing Lionsgate's comedy The Royals which premieres as E!'s first scripted drama next year.
The SMOSH Movie was partially shot at YouTube Space LA.
The deal was negotiated for Lionsgate by Constantine, Senior Vice President of Acquisitions Eda Kowan and Executive Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs for Acquisitions and Co-Productions Wendy Jaffe. AwesomenessTV was represented by United Talent Agency.
Lionsgate also recently announced a first-look partnership with YouTube sensation Freddy Wong and Rocket Jump Studios to create original longform content for online audiences. They also have another deal with AwesomenessTV and YouTube pranksters The Janoskians for a film project.
Lionsgate is a premier next generation global content leader with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms, international distribution and sales and video games. Lionsgate currently has more than 30 television shows on 20 networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, the comedy Anger Management, the broadcast network series Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show and the critically-acclaimed hit series Orange is the New Black.
Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as the blockbuster first and second installments of The Hunger Games franchise, the first installment of the recently-launched Divergent franchise, Now You See Me, Warm Bodies, The Possession, Roadside Attractions' A Most Wanted Man and Pantelion Films' breakout hit Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.
Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.
About DEFY Media
DEFY Media is the definitive media company for the digital generation, formed by the 2013 merger of Alloy Digital and Break Media. The merger united two companies with strong legacies and expertise in creating influential and culturally significant entertainment properties for 13-34 year old consumers. DEFY Media creates some of the most popular content in digital under its leading portfolio of brands, including Break, Clevver, Made Man, SMOSH, Screen Junkies, GameTrailers,The Gloss, and The Escapist, together reaching over 155 million consumers monthly through owned web, YouTube, mobile, social, and emerging OTT platforms. The world's top brands partner with DEFY to build immersive advertising solutions that deliver unparalleled access to this influential audience. With uniquely integrated capabilities in content development, studio production, distribution and promotion, DEFY Media is built for content delivery in the digital age. Please visit us at www.DEFYMedia.com.
AwesomenessTV, a disruptive media company serving the global teen and millennial audience and one of the most subscribed to teen destinations on YouTube, is a wholly owned subsidiary of DreamWorks Animation (Nasdaq: DWA). Included under the AwesomenessTV banner are AwesomenessTV, a channel featuring scripted and reality series including Daily Report, IMO, Cheerleaders, Takeover, Side Effects and Runaways; the ATV Network, a community based MCN focused on discovering and supporting the next generation of YouTube stars, Awesomeness Music, Big Frame and DreamWorksTV. Beyond the YouTube platform AwesomenessTV produced and distributed the feature film Mindless Behavior:All Around the World and the AwesomenessTV series and Terry the Tomboy movie on Nickelodeon. AwesomenessTV is headed by Brian Robbins (Smallville, Varsity Blues, All That) and Joe Davola (One Tree Hill, Smallville, MTV Networks).
For further information, please contact:
Peter D. Wilkes