Chernin Group, AT&T Invest in Digital Film Studio Supergravity

Otter Media, the digital-video joint venture of Chernin Group and AT&T, has taken a minority equity stake in Supergravity Pictures and also cut a co-production deal with the fledgling studio for future film projects.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Supergravity plans to use the capital investment for new hires and to invest in new film projects. Previous investors in Supergravity, launched in November 2014, include Van Toffler, former president of MTV and the Viacom Media Networks Music & Logo Group, and Silicon Valley entrepreneur-investor Larry Braitman.

“We want to invest in and support innovative companies that focus on this massive opportunity, particularly those that use digital platforms and social media to more efficiently market and distribute their content,” Chernin Group president Jesse Jacobs said. “Supergravity, as a direct-to-consumer film studio, is a prime example of a company with these attributes, and we are excited to be partnering with them.”

See More: ‘Smosh: The Movie’: The Biggest Test Yet for Crossover Appeal of Digital Stars

In May, Supergravity released buddy comedy “Man Up,” starring Justin Chon and Kevin Wu, in partnership with Lakeshore Entertainment; the feature is currently available on Vimeo and Netflix. The studio is premiering its second film, horror movie “The Chosen,” featuring YouTube star Kian Lawley, at VidCon 2015 on Friday. Both films are part of an exclusive four-movie distribution deal with Vimeo.

“This investment gives us the capital to execute our vision of building a movie studio that produces, markets and sells high-quality films directly to the passionate audiences that desire them,” said Supergravity co-founder Max Benator.

Movies featuring YouTube and other digital stars is a burgeoning trend, with at least a dozen such projects already released or set to launch in 2015. One of the highest-profile is “Smosh: The Movie,” featuring the YouTube-famous comedy duo of Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, which premiered Wednesday at an event pegged to VidCon.

Supergravity was formed by Benator — who also is manager and producing partner for YouTube’s Fine Bros. — and Marc Hustvedt, co‐founder of online-video trade publication Tubefilter. Hustvedt produced feature film “Camp Takota,” starring top YouTubers Grace Helbig, Hannah Hart and Mamrie Hart, which kicked off the current spate of digital starrers.

AT&T and Chernin Group formed Otter Media in April 2014, pooling some $500 million to acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top video services. The JV’s portfolio includes a controlling stake in multichannel network company Fullscreen and its Rooster Teeth content studio, and Crunchyroll, an online subscription video-on-demand service specializing in Japanese anime and Korean content.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for

    YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for AMC Networks' Acorn TV, UMC

    Google’s YouTube TV now offers two more add-on channels to subscribers, under an expanded pact with AMC Networks: British TV service Acorn TV and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), which features a selection of black TV and film titles. Acorn TV’s add-on channel is now available via YouTube TV for $6 per month and UMC is [...]

  • homepod-white-shelf

    Apple Said to Prep Cheaper HomePod for 2020

    Apple is getting ready to introduce a cheaper version of its HomePod smart speaker in 2020, Bloomberg reported Thursday. The company is also working on a new version of its AirPod headphones for next year, according to Bloomberg. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The new version of the HomePod is said [...]

  • Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Copyright

    Eminem’s Publisher Sues Spotify, Claiming Massive Copyright Infringement

    Eminem’s publishing company Eight Mile Style filed a major copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify late Thursday, claiming that the streaming giant has no license to host about 250 of Eminem’s songs, while also taking aim at the Music Modernization Act, the federal law enacted last year to improve royalty payments for songwriters. The news was [...]

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    China’s iQIYI in Talks for Indonesia Expansion

    Chinese streaming firm iQIYI is in negotiations to expand further into Southeast Asia through a venture with Indonesia’s Media Nusantara Citra. iQIYI announced its first step outside Chinese-majority territories in June, when it revealed a linkup in Malaysia with pay-TV leader Astro. It also operates in Taiwan. In April, the company said that it planned [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content