EXCLUSIVE: Yoram Globus, half the team that generated 300 pictures through Cannon Films, has returned to finance Rebel Way Entertainment, a company that gets underway with Deported, a film that will try an intriguing way to reconnect web-crazy young audiences with the theatrical experience. The idea is to take talent that has built huge viral followings through YouTube, Vine, Facebook and other web portals and package them into features surrounded by more experienced actors.
Whitmer Thomas, Megan Park and Mickey Gooch Jr will star in Deported, which first-time helmer Tyler Spindel will helm based loosely on his relationship with an ex when she was deported back to Canada. Eric Roberts, Andy Dick, Fortune Feimster, Conchata Ferrel, Steven Bauer and Jonathan Kite also star. The cast also includes notable digital media fixtures that include Amanda Cerny, Brittany Furlan and Redfoo, a musical artist who’s part of LMFAO. Shooting just got underway in Los Angeles on a script by Spindel and Dean Ward (After Lately, Chelsea).
Globus, who with his late cousin Menahem Golan were known as the Go Go Boys who in the 1980s used inventive pre-sales methods to make all those pictures and propel the careers of Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris and others, will be executive producer on Deported and other Rebel Way pictures. Maurice Fadida will head development and production. Ori Globus is CEO and will produce Deported with Fadida, and James Lejsek is associate producer.
The business plan is to create a built-in fan base for each completed project before distributors are approached. The Rebel Way principals said they’ve signed multi-picture deals with viral stars including Mariano Di Vaio, Alexis Ren, Jay Alvarrez, Curtis Lepore, Sara McDaniel, Alex Hayes and Jessey Stevens. Globus and Fadida say those people have a combined social media following that exceeds 100 million.
I ask Globus the obvious: Why, if people get access to this talent for free, would they compelled to follow them to the movie theater? The Israeli producer inferred that what I asked isn’t that different from questions that were raised back when he and Golan harnessed their original formula.
“We believe the Internet will build stars the same as Menaham and myself believed in video when many doubted its potential,” Globus told Deadline from his home base in Israel. “We believe the Internet is the new media that is going to capture talent and will fly in features. These people have such a strong built-in following, and we are sure we can give put them in good stories, like this good comedy we are doing, and it will roll.”
Fadida said they’ve seen the demand of this young talent with different videos and brand deals. “There is evidence that people will pay for content they’re in,” he said. “You see now how a traditional P&A spend will include $30,000 for a billboard on Sunset Boulevard,” he said. “How many people see that? We get visual billboards that can reach millions, in one shot and we believe young audiences want to see this talent, more and more. They want to cross over to traditional media and if they are in a feature and it’s good, it will take the world by storm. There is a relate-ability to their Internet work; everybody thinks they can be that person and they grow to love these stars.”
While I’ve got Globus on the phone, I ask him how he looks back on movie properties like Spider-Man and Captain America. There was a time he and his cousin controlled the movie rights to both, but never got them off the ground. Marvel, Sony and Disney have watched them gross billions of dollars, each.
“We made Superman, and we had the instincts to acquire Spider-Man and Captain America, so we were moving in the right direction,” he said. “It came down to a lot of arguments between myself and my late partner and my feeling was we shouldn’t do too many movies. I have not a lot more to say about that now, but I will sit down and talk about it sometime.” I will take him up on that one, as Cannon was one of the truly colorful indie companies of its era.