Screaming 14-year-old boys and girls provided the soundtrack to the world premiere of “Smosh: The Movie,” as Team Internet showed up in force to support Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox (aka Smosh) for the duo’s Hollywood debut on Wednesday.
The premiere, held at the Westwood Village Theater in Los Angeles, hosted some of YouTube’s biggest talent, include the Smosh guys themselves, Jenna Marbles, Grace Helbig, Joey Graceffa, Rebecca Black, Epic Meal Time’s Harley Morenstein and more, attracting a crowd of teenage YouTube lovers to flank the edges of the carpet.
The amount of digital talent was fitting, given the YouTube-centric plot: Padilla and Hecox, playing exaggerated versions of themselves, have to jump into YouTube to remove an embarrassing video of Padilla from the Internet as their high school reunion fast approaches. For the two, having a plot so focused on the Internet was a key element in making the film.
“It’s just something that’s part of our life,” said Padilla of YouTube. “For the past ten years, YouTube is the reason we do anything. It just made so much sense to us.”
Making a feature film, as opposed to Web sketch videos, was certainly a new experience for the duo, but they didn’t want the movie to feel too different for fans.
“We wanted to make sure that our viewers felt a sense of familiarity with the concept,” Hecox said. “But also, we wanted to make a movie, not just a prolonged sketch. So it’ll definitely feel like a Smosh movie.”
“The biggest change was the MPAA,” Padilla laughed. “They put the hammer down on some of the stuff that we thought was PG-13, but apparently not.”
When asked if they would do another movie, the YouTubers didn’t hesitate to say yes.
“If this movie does well, then we could hopefully get a bigger budget, etc., and make something even crazier next time,” said Padilla.
“Smosh: The Movie’s” director, Alex Winter, perhaps best known for “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” knew of Padilla and Hecox before taking on the film — he has three kids, so he said he was living in “Smoshland” — and also wanted to highlight the digital aspect of the movie.
“The whole point of doing this is to lampoon the weird point of history that we’re in right now, where old paradigms are totally confused,” Winter said. “New paradigms are taking over, but they’re equally confused. Everything’s a mess. Nobody knows what the hell is going on. And I really wanted the film to have that tonality… I wanted to have fun with the paradigm shift.”
For Winter, a challenge was grounding the comedy and keeping it within 90 minutes. But he says the duo was aware of the shift they had to make: “They worked their butts off” to make it work, Winter said.
For the many YouTubers in attendance, Smosh’s success had them thinking about taking on films for themselves.
“I think that’s one of my biggest goals right now is to create my own movie and make that happen,” said Graceffa. His dream cast? YouTubers Zoella, Alfie Deyes and Marbles.
Morenstein, who appears in “Smosh: The Movie” as an angry mailman, said if Epic Meal Time were to go the feature route, the pic would be called “Food: The Movie — Featuring Cooking.”
Marbles, who also appears in the movie as herself, wasn’t so keen on the idea of breaking into film.
“I’m going to say probably not,” she said of the idea of a Marbles movie. “But I will not close up any of my options. Keep all my options open.”
If, however, she would want to take that route, she credited Smosh for trailblazing for the digital community.
“I feel like there’s been a lot of people on the Internet that take themselves very seriously and they act professionally, in order for — like, me, I was the newer YouTuber for a long time — to get taken seriously as well,” she said. “Because there’s people that sort of pave this path for us on the Internet. So now, Smosh are those people. They’ve paved this path for us by being themselves, and creating real businesses and real movies and real things for themselves. So they’ve really helped everyone.”
Unsurprisingly, a huge topic of the night continued to be the intersection of the Internet and Hollywood — but Winter argued that there’s really not much of a separation between the two worlds at all.
“There is no Hollywood the way we knew Hollywood anymore,” he said. “So I think we have to get past defining it as old vs. new. The world has changed. That ship’s sailed and it’s sailed, frankly, a very long time ago. It’s sailed in music, it’s sailed in the movies, it’s sailed in TV. This media shift is over. It’s happened already.”
“Smosh: The Movie” will be available online Friday.