Lionsgate has bought distribution rights for “Natural Born Pranksters,” a movie starring top YouTube prank artists VitalyzdTV, Roman Atwood and Dennis Roady, in another bet by the studio on the power of digital celebs.
The film will be released day-and-date in theaters, on electronic sell-through and via VOD in early 2016. Collective Digital Studio financed and produced the film, which features the trio — who together have more than 25 million YouTube subscribers — perpetrating their most epic pranks and bad-ass stunts.
“Natural Born Pranksters” joins Lionsgate’s growing roster of projects with YouTube stars. Those include comedy “Dirty Thirty” starring YouTube phenoms Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart and Hannah Hart, a film featuring YouTube prank superstars The Janoskians, and Freddie Wong’s original RocketJump series for Hulu.
The YouTube channels of Vitaly “VitalyzdTV” Zdorovetskiy, Atwood and Roady are part of CDS’s multichannel network. CDS claims VitalyzdTV is the No. 1 prank channel on the site with 8.7 million subscribers, while Atwood’s vlogs generate over 100 million monthly views.
“Vitaly, Roman and Dennis have built a massive YouTube following, and this is a great opportunity to bring their trademark stunts and humor to an even bigger audience,” said Jim Packer, Lionsgate president of worldwide television and digital distribution.
“Natural Born Pranksters” features the crew descending on Hollywood and turning it into Prankwood. The film’s marketing campaign began last year, when Vitaly rushed the field during the 2014 Men’s World Cup Finals with the words “Natural Born Pranksters” scrawled across his chest before being dragged off by security guards.
The film features cameos by social-media personalities including Jenna Marbles, Furious Pete, Jukka Hilden, KC James, Kevin Brueck, Tom Mabe and Peter Vass. Radio DJ Big Boy and Dave England are also featured.
“We’re excited to bring the kings of prank to a wide audience, and Lionsgate is the perfect partner,” said Gary Binkow, chief content officer of CDS.
“Natural Born Pranksters” is executive produced by Vitaly, Atwood and Roady, and directed by Atwood and Ben Pluimer. Binkow and John Fitzpatrick are producers.
This summer CDS, founded by Michael Green, Reza Izad, Gary Binkow and Dan Weinstein, merged with ProSiebenSat.1’s Studio 71 to create Collective Studio 71. L.A.-based CDS is best known for popular web series “Video Game High School” from RocketJump as well as TV shows for Epic Meal Time and Fred (the YouTube character created by Lucas Cruikshank).