"The Chronicles of Rick Roll" To Put Viral Stars On Theater Screens, Fail

The Chronicles of Rick Roll To Put Viral Stars On Theater Screens, Fail

Movie trailers have always been one of the more reliable content varieties for online video. Trailers for even the most average-looking films typically score high view-counts. But the latest trailer making the viral rounds sticks out from the rest like a sore thumb, and that's because it stars a bunch of people who are only famous because of their involvement in a previous popular viral video.

The Details: The Chronicles of Rick Roll

Called "The Chronicles of Rick Roll," the trailer boasts an impressive cast of web-video stars, including Antoine Dodson (of Bed Intruder fame), the Double Rainbow Guy (who is making a nice career out of playing off his accidental fame), and even the Numa Numa guy.

Before we go any further in discussing this project, let's just take a look at the trailer, shall we?

[Video removed from YouTube]

The film comes from Nurv, a marketing and creative agency in Colorado. And, before you ask... yes, this is apparently a real movie. Not just a fake trailer created to grab some viral views. There's a Facebook page to keep track of the film's latest news and progress. These viral stars are all making a salary as cast members, and the movie aims for an honest-to-goodness theatrical release. They even have a script, though there's no word on what the actual storyline might be.

It's too bad, really, because it sounds like a fun project.

Why It Will Fail

The Chronicles of Rick Roll To Put Viral Stars On Theater Screens, FailBut a theatrical release is pretty misguided, and I'll be happy to tell you why: because the public still doesn't view online video as something akin to Hollywood films. The two entities are not on the same level in the eyes of the audience. They will not respect these viral stars as actors, or the movie as a legitimate film. They'll see it as an Internet trend trying to grab extra time in the spotlight.

Want proof that I'm right? Look at Never Say Never, the Justin Bieber movie. Bieber is the king of YouTube. His music video for the song Baby, which features Ludacris, has over 474 million views. If you add up the view-counts for the original videos these Chronicles of RickRoll stars (Numa Numa, Freak Out Kid, Boom Goes The Dynamite, Bed Intruder, Double Rainbow, & Leroy Jenkins), you get 182 million... just about 1/3 of Bieber's "Baby."

The Chronicles of Rick Roll To Put Viral Stars On Theater Screens, FailAnd yet when he's the focus of a feature film... despite all his global fame, screaming fans, magazine covers, and entertainment value... the movie couldn't even take the weekend--it ended up as the #2 film of the week on its opening weekend, behind a new Adam Sandler comedy. That's not to call the film a failure--it's grossed over $62 Million so far--but if the single biggest star in the history of YouTube can't do better than "average box office success," what makes Nurv think these viral stars will put butts in the seats?

When the public is ready to see online video and its stars as equals to Hollywood--which I'm not sure will ever happen--then maybe a project like this makes sense. Right now though, it's only going to prove how far online video has to go to legitimize itself in the eyes of the consumer. In fact, I could make an argument that most viewers don't even necessarily respect these viral stars--that there's maybe an The Chronicles of Rick Roll To Put Viral Stars On Theater Screens, Failelement of mockery to the fame the world gives them.

People love YouTube videos and viral clips, and will watch them all the time. But that doesn't necessarily mean the respect the stars. They simply see YouTube and the local multiplex as two completely different worlds. This is the same reason people like Sean Penn who are vocal about politics don't actually run for office--they know the public has a clear line of demarcation between entertainers and presidents (with Reagan & the Governator as the exceptions that prove the rule, I guess).

In addition, online video has an infinite shelf life, and seems to work best in short bursts of only a few minutes or less. Asking audiences to go spend two hours in theaters with the stars of popular viral videos is just misguided.

Conclusion

I don't hate the idea of taking previous viral stars and casting them in a new piece of video content--even though I could argue that it's far from a novel concept, as Weezer can tell you. But make something viral like a fake trailer. Or make a web-only film. Don't try and make viral video a pipeline for Hollywood. It won't happen anytime soon, and I'm not sure I would want it to.

So while you might have expected me to champion this thing like I do with all the other harebrained ideas people come up with on the Internet... you'd be wrong. I wish Nurv had simply made this trailer alone... and launched it as a spoof trailer with the goal of going viral. That I could get behind. But thinking the world is anxiously awaiting the jump of Antoine Dodson from an auto-tune song to the movies is erroneous. They're not. You'll be lucky if they even notice.


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About the Author -
Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • Will Flesher

    I think this analysis is slightly erroneous because you're somehow assuming that the stars of viral videos HAVE TO BE akin to Hollywood stars for this to work. You'd be perfectly correct in saying that the world isn't waiting for them to burst onto the big screen, because it simply isn't. However I'd hope to think I can relate much more to a normal person who made something amusing than a crack-snorting Hollywood megastar cracking easy, cheap jokes. And possibly this is how the public will see it.
    Okay, perhaps the cinematic drama won't be breathtaking like a big-budget movie, but you're forgetting something else. There's such a thing called 'small-budget movies', and they often manage to make a good return, on a number of topics.
    And another thing: do you think the story of a sell-out website creator would sell millions?

    Sorry if I'm misguided in my arguments, I'd just like to see if any comments are added.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WPH6FCB2J62OYKOIKLY4V5YARU K

    The thing about comparing these viral videos to a Justin Bieber song is that music videos are often played more than once, and people usually put them on repeat, thus driving up the views. Viral videos are viewed maybe once or twice and then posted on social media sites for others to see. If you count the unique viewers for the videos, I think the numbers will be closer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002494923176 Barry Thorgrim

    LOL why u no like meme movie?

  • Danny Cannavo

    I can't disagree more, people like these videos because of the spontaneous acts in them, they don't care if they have to go to a theater to see them or not, they still will see them. people like them have just as many rights as justin bieber, and once he actually hits puberty, his music won't be successful anyway, so why not give these youtube legends a chance at the big screen?

  • Kevy Ferreira

    I couldn't disagree anymore than I do now.
    As Danny under me said, " people like these videos because of the spontaneous acts in them, they don't care if they have to go to a theater to see them or not, they still will see them."
    The trailer itself has gotten over 2 billion views already. More than that Justin Bieber video you mentioned about(which by the way that Justin Bieber phase has been over for a bit now, so using that as an example is null and void).

    But to also clarify, there not doing this to get this"respect" you keep speaking of. "They will not respect these viral stars as actors, or the movie as a legitimate film. They'll see it as an Internet trend trying to grab extra time in the spotlight."

    There doing this for fun, and to break that barrier of the close-minded like yourself that internet sensations can make something like this more publicized.
    And there are quite a few big producers who really want in on this, to make this goal of theirs happen.
    So I apologize that some famous internet stars want to get to together to make a theatrical film, because apparently it's wrong to have that sort of common goal.

    I mean it's either that, or your just the type of writer that tries to find any reason to be against something that has some kind of potential to be successful and popular. Either way, the opinionated article wasn't terribly written.
    I'll give it up to you though for replacing "you" with "people" which many writers tend to fail in when writing an article like this.
    Anyways, good observation on the situation, and hope to see a follow up on this subject in the near future!