Legendary Digital Studios, YouTube Premium and Entertainment One (eOne) announced a “surprise drop” of the sequel to the 2016 thriller, though any surprise was spoiled last night by Paul, who posted a trailer on his YouTube channel.
The YouTube Original movie starring the controversial Paul arrives after a nearly year-long punitive shelving. The Thinning: New World Order, a sequel to the The Thinning, launched today on YouTube Premium after a literally winking Paul posted the trailer and a message to his 18.6 million subscribers last night.
YouTube had shelved the sequel in January after Paul stirred up a global controversy by uploading a video of a dead man hanging from a tree in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, the so-called suicide forest. Paul was removed from YouTube’s Google Preferred lineup, and his channels remain ineligible for that top-tier status.
A YouTube spokesman said today: “The entire cast and crew worked extremely hard to complete this film last year. In fairness to all of them and the fans who have been asking for the sequel, we decided to release The Thinning: New World Order.”
Ads on Paul’s channel were suspended entirely earlier this year but are currently running again. He is considered “in good standing” with YouTube policies, though the Thinning sequel is not a Paul solo project. His own channel, Logan Paul Vlogs, has 18.6 million subscribers.
The trailer sets up the movie’s plot: In an overpopulated world, students must take a test and those who fail are executed. Paul’s character fails, isn’t executed and apparently becomes a cage-fighting rebel of some sort. Peyton List also stars.
Immediately following the trailer, Logan directly addresses viewers. “Oh snap what up guys, it’s your boy LP otherwise known as Blake Redding from The Thinning: New World Order coming soon, very very soon, wink wink, to YouTube Premium…I hope you guys enjoy the film, it’s kick ass.”
The movie’s official logline: Laina Michaels (List) becomes a target of Governor Dean Redding’s Machiavellian presidential campaign after risking her life to expose the corruption of the thinning test, an aptitude exam administered to students in an attempt to control over-population in a dying world. Blake Redding (Paul), trapped and enslaved in a secret underground work camp, must fight to reconnect with the love of his life and do what no failed student has done before: escape.
According to the producers, Paul and List’s social media following, combined with those of co-stars Lia Marie Johnson, Calum Worthy, Charles Melton and director Michael Gallagher “give the film’s talent a combined social footprint of more than 91 million followers.” Paul has more than 64 million combined followers across social media and 23 million subscribers on YouTube. List, best known for the Disney Channel television series Jessie, has more than 18 million followers across her social platforms. She recently appeared in the Hulu Original Series Light as a Feather.
Like the 2016 original, the sequel is directed by Gallagher with a script by him and Steve Greene. Gallagher, alongside his Cinemand partners Jana Winternitz and Michael Wormser, produced New World Order with EOne’s Greg Siegel.