Some 30 miles from Hollywood, a small "black carpet" premiere in Anaheim drew 100-plus fans, mostly teenage girls, to the Ultraluxe Cinema for the premiere of thriller The Chosen.
YouTuber Kian Lawley, the star of the film, was the main attraction at the premiere, which occurred in the midst of online video convention VidCon. He was joined by Jc Caylen, Ricky Dillon and Trevor Moran, members of the now-defunct YouTube collaboration channel Our Second Life, and they spent more than 20 minutes going down the barricades and taking selfies with their young, screaming fans.
While Lawley might not yet be a household name, the event quickly proved that he can draw a crowd. The 300-person fan screening in Anaheim sold out, as did screenings in Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia.
The Chosen, a low-budget thriller produced by Supergravity Pictures and Sunrise Pictures' Terror Films, brings Lawley to the big screen as 19-year-old Cameron, who must save his niece (Mykayla Sohn) from a child-stealing demon. Former Extra host Dayna Devon and The L Word’sElizabeth Keener also star in the film.
Lawley is just one of several social media stars making the jump to the big screen. Lauren Elizabeth Luthringshausen and Jenn McAllister recently starred in Bad Night, a comedy that also features Molly Ringwald and Adam Pally that premiered July 21 in Hollywood. Meanwhile, Smosh: The Movie, starring YouTube comedy duo Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, made its debut at the Regency Village Theatre in the Westwood on July 22.
“I’m really excited to have done my first feature film and carry that over into my next projects,” says Luthringshausen, who walked the black carpet at the Chosen premiere.
The Chosen will not be Lawley's last film project. “I’m for sure doing more movies,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m still learning.” In the meantime, he will continue to post videos on his YouTube channel, Superkian13, which has racked up 2.8 million subscribers. As for other talent looking to change platforms, Lawley advises: "I know it’s probably terrifying, but go for it. It’s fun."