Collective Digital Studio Brings YouTube Pranksters to Big Screen (Exclusive)
Three of YouTube's biggest pranksters are headed to the big screen.
Collective Digital Studio is producing a film starring mischief-makers Vitaly Zdorovetskiy (known by his YouTube name VitalyzdTV), Roman Atwood and Dennis Roady. The film, with the working title Natural Born Pranksters, will mark Atwood's directorial debut.
CDS chief content officer Gary Binkow tells The Hollywood Reporter that the project is inspired by prank films such as Jackass and Borat, but takes the concept to the next level. He adds that the studio sees cross-platform potential for the YouTube stars.
"We're really interested in working with creative, dynamic influencers," he says. "Roman, Vitaly and Dennis are at the pinnacle of this genre. They have a really loyal and engaged fan base. We thought (the film) was a really great opportunity to tap into that."
Atwood is best known for his online prank videos, which have garnered him more than 3 million YouTube subscribers. He became a viral hit last year after posting a video of a failed prank against his girlfriend, which currently has more than 44 million views on YouTube.
Zdorovetskiy currently boasts the No. 1 prank channel on YouTube with more than 5 million subscribers. His top video, Gold Digger, has more than 34 million views.
Atwood says he and Roady began working together on pranks about four years ago. They met Zdorovetskiy about two years later, and the group now frequently collaborates on videos.
"We are just on the same level," he says of the collaboration. "We're very competitive, but that's what keeps us motivated. We're like best friends that fight to be No. 1."
Natural Born Pranksters is currently in pre-production and is scheduled to begin production in June. CDS plans to release the film theatrically but has yet to sign a distributor.
CDS, a subsidiary of Collective Management Group, manages a YouTube multichannel network of more than 600 channels. The firm also works with YouTube talent to produce, distribute and market online video across several platforms.