YouTube has acquired rights to “The Thinning,” a movie starring digital celeb Logan Paul and Disney Channel star Peyton List, with the post-apocalyptic teen thriller slated to debut on YouTube Red later in 2016.
“The Thinning,” from Legendary Digital Studios, is the first feature-length thriller to hit YouTube Red, the $10-per-month service launched last fall. “We know our audience will be captivated by the film’s suspenseful storytelling and brave characters as they fight for survival,” said Susanne Daniels, global head of original content for YouTube.
The movie is set in a dying world where population control is dictated by an aptitude test in high school. After two students (Paul and List) discover the test is a smokescreen covering up a larger conspiracy, they wage a battle to expose the lie and take down the system.
Paul, who rose to fame on Vine, has 26 million-plus social followers, while List (of Disney Channel’s “Jessie” and “Bunk’d”) has more than 12 million fans online. “The Thinning” co-stars Lia Marie Johnson (“Kids React”), Calum Worthy (“Austin & Ally”) and Ryan Newman (“The Thundermans”). Together with director Michael Gallagher (“Internet Famous”) the production has a total social footprint of more than 51 million followers — and YouTube and Legendary are banking on those fans turning out en masse to pay to watch the movie.
YouTube Red “gives our film an exciting opportunity to connect with a huge audience of digitally native fans eager to see their favorite performers in high-end content in a proven genre,” said Greg Siegel, senior VP of development and production for Legendary Digital Studios.
“The Thinning” is directed by Michael Gallagher, with a script written by him and Steve Greene. Gallagher, Greene and producing partner Jana Winternitz were the winners of Legendary’s “House of Horrors” short film program, an initiative launched with YouTube Spaces to find emerging creative talent with videos shot on sets inspired by Guillermo Del Toro.
Gallagher and Winternitz produced “The Thinning” alongside partner Michael Wormser through their Cinemand label in partnership with production company Kids at Play.
Legendary Digital Studios’ other projects include a pact with Square Enix on a digital series adaptation of video game “Life Is Strange”; “Electra Woman & Dyna Girl,” starring YouTube phenomenons Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart, released through Fullscreen’s SVOD service and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment; and “Dead Rising: Endgame” on Crackle, a feature-length film based on Capcom’s hit video-game series “Dead Rising.”