Collective Digital Studio (CDS), the multichannel network branch of Beverly Hills, Calif., management firm The Collective, has acquired the exclusive online rights to adapt the young adult fantasy series Maximum Ride.
The web series will be executive produced by author James Patterson, Gary Binkow, Leopoldo Gout and Bill Robinson. Binkow confirmed that they are talking to "many" YouTube content creators to star in the series.
"We want to make the next Walking Dead happen on YouTube and create event style programming that embraces the digital platform," Binkow said. "Millennials who are cutting cords are still consuming content at record pace—it's logical that CDS is going to continue to commit to financing and producing premium content with our creator talent."
The nine-book series, which has sold more than 30 million copies, centers around bird-human hybrid Maximum "Max" Ride and his friends after they escape from a laboratory facility. Its success has led to a manga adaptation by Yen Press. An upcoming movie based on the books was in the works, but has been delayed after film director Catherine Hardwicke left the project in 2012 and screenwriter Don Payne passed away last year.
"It's a fantastic story with a strong female character who kicks butt," Binkow explained. "It's a great visual opportunity to showcase our ability to produce premium content for a manageable budget."
CDS has had success in the past with original web series like Annoying Orange and Video Game High School, and seems to be shifting its focus towards creating more prime shows. Binkow said that Maximum Ride is only one example of CDS' commitment towards bringing popular content to the web in a TV-style format.
(In other Patterson news, CBS also will be adapting the author's Zoo for an upcoming 2015 series.)
Binkow hopes to utilize talent that natively creates content for online platforms. "Ten years ago this talent would have to navigate a byzantine and antiquated studio system to have opportunity like this," he said. "Today, YouTube has afforded them direct access to audience. If Mike Judge was starting today, he would be on this platform. Same with Trey and Matt from South Park. Michael Bay would be doing short-form videos similar to Freddie W and Corridor Digital. These are the next-gen filmmakers and talent and we're excited to be bringing premium stories to this audience."