When YouTube star Fred made his first feature film, it ended up getting picked up by Nickelodeon rather than receiving a theatrical release. But for another team of YouTube filmmakers, hitting movie screens may be a real possibility.
High School Sucks The Musical, written and directed by Pedro D. Flores (known on YouTube as PeeDeeFlow) with music by Tim Chantarangsu (known on YouTube as TimothyDeLaGhetto), is currently close to completing production, thanks to an investor providing the less than $300,000 budget.
Earlier this month, the distribution rights were acquired by Lakeshore Records, the transmedia division of Lakeshore Entertainment (which produced Oscar-winner Million Dollar Baby and non-Oscar-winner Crank 2: High Voltage). The film will run between 90 and 110 minutes, Flores recently told MovieWeb, and will include 12 musical numbers (the Disney-produced High School Musical, just for the record, only has nine).
In a video message on YouTube, Flores and Chantarangsu promise that the film will eventually will make it to DVD, but what happens between now and then has yet to be decided.
But according to Lakeshore Records’s Brian McNelis, Lakeshore’s plans include festival submissions and screenings, as well as special engagement screenings and a limited theatrical release.
How it does on the festival circuit remains to be seen, but there’s some tangible demand — both Flores and Chantarangsu are popular YouTubers (Chantarangsu, in fact, was a close finalist for our recent YouTuber Week series) and they’ve created a great deal of interest around the project. The first scene from the film, which includes the full intro theme song, has gotten 1.8 million views on YouTube since being uploaded on June 1.
And in addition, the song from said opening is available on iTunes — and the song was #31 on the Top Downloads chart during its first week online, thanks solely to promotion on YouTube.
So with some audience guaranteed and (based on the first scene, anyway) feature film-quality production value, High School Sucks may stand a chance of making it. It certainly doesn’t help that there aren’t many out there who would disagree with the title.
Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required): New Use For Web Stats: Finding Hot Markets, Offline