Now here’s an interesting thing to note if you saw (or heard about) two recent documentaries, one called Snervous Tyler Oakley, the other called A Trip to Unicorn Island, starring Lily Singh. Who are Tyler Oakley and Lily Singh, you might ask if you’re over 25? They’re just two of a new generation of self-made megastars known to millennials everywhere thanks to their YouTube channels.
For all Tyler and Lily’s success online, both movies seemed to come and go with little fanfare or notice – probably as expected given how few kids are said to go to cinemas nowadays. But they still marked a turning point.
Look at the most successful (if number of followers is really a measure of success) social media stars today like Kim Kardashian, Kevin Smith or Justin Bieber. What do they all have in common? They’re all old media stars, from the worlds of TV, film and music respectively.
Social media has given them all platforms to espouse their worldviews and opinions (no matter how dubious), but without the old media structures of film studios, TV networks and music publishing they’d be nothing.
Tyler, Lily and their contemporaries are hardly nothing, but they have as much in common with corporate-owned media as you or me. Now there’s a movie about a couple of them, doesn’t that mean the balance is tipping at least a little bit?
Instead of traditional media celebrities bringing the clout of their popularity to online media, now it’s happening the other way around. No matter how much or little money Tyler or Lily’s movies made, it’s something to think about.
What’s more, the studios agree, as this story reports. Before you laugh off the feeble attempts of Snervous or Unicorn Island to knock Captain America: Civil War or The Conjuring 2 off the top spots, the takeover of Hollywood by VOD stars might not be at the multiplex, but their natural home.
As reported, the studios are giving money (chump change by Hollywood standards but a fortune worth dreaming about to YouTube stars) to make short, fast videos the likes of which their fans already love and follow them for.
New or coming up on VOD now, Clown. Produced by grindhouse king Eli Roth and directed by Jon Watts (Cop Car), it’s one of your oldest nightmares given life as a loving Dad puts on a clown suit for his son’s birthday, finds he can’t take it off and starts to turn evil…
Also out is the extended cut of Ridley Scott’s ace The Martian. Putting Scott back on the map after the bungled Exodus: Gods and Kings, Matt Damon plays a stranded astronaut in a tale that’s surprisingly funny and uplifting.
Also out is the absurdist No Stranger Than Love. Starring Alison Brie and Colin Hanks, it shows Lucy declaring her love for Clint, whereupon he falls into a hole that suddenly opens up in her living room floor.
But the most fun you’ll have on VOD might be the gleefully wacky Terrordactyl. In the glorious tradition of Sharknado or Lavalantula, a meteor shower rains down outside Los Angeles and two friends head out to find a meteor and strike it rich, instead coming up against the ultimate in fear; terrordactyls.