Matt Kaplan, the former SVP Development and Production at Lionsgate and most recently producer of such pics as The Lazarus Effect and 6 Miranda Drive, has been hired as president of Awesomeness Films. He will work with AwesomenessTV founder Brian Robbins and be responsible for building out the company’s film division.
Awesomeness Films is slated to release 12-15 films for theatrical and digital film distribution focused on YA material and is in production on several including the recently announced Shovel Buddies starring Bella Thorne. Awesomeness Films will look to produce and acquire elevated young adult material, bringing together traditional and digital talent across all budget ranges for both wide and limited releases.
Kaplan founded Chapter One Films in 2013 and signed a first-look deal with Blumhouse Productions. His other producer credits in that stretch included Akiva Goldsman’s Stephanie and Viral directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman. He also produced Syfy’s miniseries Ascension. Two members of Kaplan’s team at Chapter One — Robyn Marshall and Max Siemers — are moving with him to the new outfit.
At Lionsgate his projects included David Wain’s They Came Together starring Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler. He was also a Director of Digital Development at CBS, where he produced more than 125 episodes of multiplatform content including the Web series Clark & Michael starring Michael Cera and Clark Duke.
“AwesomenessTV has made a major commitment to film production and we are looking to Matt with his strong track record in independent film to help us deliver on our very ambitious slate of films,” said Robbins. “Major Hollywood studios have largely ignored Generation Z. As we demonstrated with Expelled, which premiered in December and immediately shot to No. 1 on iTunes, there is an enormous appetite for movies that speak to this audience.”
In December, DreamWorks Animation sold a quarter of its stake in the YouTube multi-channel network to Hearst Corp. for $81.25 million.