New and Old Media Bet on Sports-Horror Genre
What happens when you combine sports and horror — you get Sporror, the brainchild of Mandalay Sports Media Executive Vice President, Jon Weinbach, and the start of a new genre being built in partnership with Gunpowder & Sky. And to kick off the partnership, the two companies have announced a first project “Lucky Number,” a thriller about a pro basketball player who transforms into a cold-blooded killer at the hand of a deal he’d previously made with the devil.
“Digital audiences are devouring horror films and sports entertainment so it only seemed natural to create content that caters to both passions, at the same time,” said Van Toffler, CEO and co-founder of Gunpowder & Sky.
And as Weinbach explained to VideoInk in a phone interview, the sports and horror categories play well for a new kind of genre that would integrate well-known athletes into classically scary films.
“From a business opportunity, [horror] is a form of entertainment that is stubbornly resistant to trends…and a lot of athletes are horror fans. There’s a lot of overlap between sports fans and horror fans,” he said. “So why can’t we combine both worlds and still make a great scary suspenseful horror movie starring people from the world of sports.”
And the deal came together when former Funny or Die CEO and current chief of Mandalay Sports Media Dick Glover pitched the idea to Gunpowder & Sky President Van Toffler. “Mike Tollin and I go back to 1999 when we made “Varsity Blues” together so I’m happy to be working with him again — not to mention Dick Glover, maestro of all great things at Funny Or Die — this is going to be both fun and dangerous.”
Gunpowder & Sky is re-imagining the structure of a modern day studio. Sporror marks the company’s latest attempt at innovating around fresh brands that speak to the next generation of entertainment consumers. The company has started to build vertical brands including Weatherfrom, a comedy weather themed channel, and DUST, a sci-fi, horror-focused destination. Through its slate development, self-distributed brands, internal marketing and in-house international distribution, Gunpowder & Sky is setting sights on becoming a comprehensive producer and distributor of premium content.
Mandalay Sports Media has been an early adopter of alternative distribution and has had deals with various digital streamers including Yahoo and Xbox. According to Weinbach, digital presents a unique opportunity for sports and horror both separately and together. With Gunpowder & Sky, he noted that “being able to go to a full blooded digital studio is a great partnership” and the right place to “make cool stuff happen.”