Collective Digital Studio will create an online video series based on the young-adult franchise Maximum Ride from best-selling author James Patterson, the YouTube multi-channel network and production studio said today. Patterson has his hands full with non-book projects based on his novels these days, including an order last week from CBS for a straight-to-series TV adaptation of his thriller Zoo.
The Maximum Ride fantasy series centers on a group of young human-bird hybrids who escape from a lab called The School, led by the eponymous heroine Maximum “Max’ Ride. The eight Patterson books have sold more than 30 million copies, and also have inspired a Japanese manga spinoff series.
Not incidentally for CDS’ calculations, the series also has inspired countless fan creations online, including a bewildering array of fan-made “movie trailers,” for a movie that, technically speaking, doesn’t exist. That ardent fan base is what CDS is counting on to help drive interest in the online series it plans to create now that it’s secured online rights to the books. The series will be executive produced by Patterson, CDS partner and Chief Content Officer Gary Binkow, Leopoldo Gout and Bill Robinson. Casting is underway, with plans to recruit talent from among notable YouTube creators. CDS produces the online show Video Game High School and TV shows for online creators The Annoying Orange, Epic Meal Time and FЯED.
“Max is a fierce and strong female protagonist who’s desperate to protect her flock,” said Binkow in a statement. “Bringing her to life as an original fantasy web series is something her fans have been asking for, evidenced by the hundreds of fan-made videos already online. The beauty of YouTube is that fans won’t have to wait forever as we won’t be bogged down by the typical studio development process.”
Patterson said he hoped the online adaptation would introduce his books to a new audience: “CDS impressed me with their understanding of my readers and their track record for producing premium online digital series.”