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Why Hollywood Is Cozying Up To a YouTube Filmmaker

By Kim Peterson
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(L-R) Matt Arnold & Freddie Wong (credit: Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images)

(L-R) Matt Arnold & Freddie Wong (credit: Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images)

(CBS NEWS) – Never heard of the blockbuster film “Video Game High School”? You’re forgiven. The 2012 movie drew more than 40 million views in its first three months, but it didn’t play in theaters.

Instead, the film became a sensation on YouTube, where it was shown in nine chunks, each between 10 and 20 minutes long. And while that chopped-up approach may appall traditional filmmakers, it’s exactly how you launch and promote an online movie in a world where young people, eyes glued to their phones, would rather watch YouTube than almost anything on TV.

Hollywood has taken notice. Lions Gate (LGF) announced Monday that it’s partnering with RocketJump, the company behind “Video Game High School,” to create videos for film, TV and online viewing. Financial terms of the partnership were not released.

The news was a triumph for RocketJump’s founders, most notably Freddie Wong, who creates and stars in many of the company’s online shorts. It’s also one more sign of YouTube’s growing influence within the entertainment industry, which is panicked at the thought of blowing millions on big-budget flops like “After Earth” while an upstart online flick about video gaming becomes a hit with the kids.

RocketJump’s avid fans are exactly the market Lions Gate wants, too. This is the studio behind “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent” franchises, and “stood out as the one studio that really gets our brand,” Wong said in a release announcing the partnership.

Read more at CBSNews.com

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