Morgan Spurlock’s ‘Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!’ Is Headed to YouTube
It isn’t very often that a documentary becomes a hit with mainstream audiences, but that’s exactly what happened with Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me back in 2004. The documentary followed Spurlock on a month-long experiment in unhealthy diets, with the filmmaker eating exclusively at McDonald’s for weeks on end. The result was a smash hit: Super-Size Me grossed $11.9 million dollars — good for 25th all-time among documentaries — and even garnered an Academy Award nomination. The movie also had a huge effect on the fast food industry, with publications like Refinery29 saying years later that Spurlock’s film likely helped companies “increase consumer awareness of size, as well as ingredients and nutrition.”
And since all successful movies get sequels, Spurlock has flipped the script for Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!, his follow-up premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this month. This film follows Spurlock’s efforts to start his own fast food company from scratch; it’s also found a surprise distributor in advance of its world premiere. As noted in Deadline (via /Film), Spurlock’s latest documentary seems destined to hit YouTube Red, the new-ish premium video service slowly increasing its presence as a destination for original programming and film distribution. Deadline reports that Spurlock and company are in “advanced negotiations” for a YouTube Red deal estimated at $3.5 million dollars,
Of course, this potential acquisition raises a slew of interesting questions about YouTube as a distributor. How will Google approach the theatrical distribution of Super Size Me 2 to ensure that Spurlock’s film is eligible for award-season consideration? Will Google follow in the footsteps of Netflix and find itself a movie theater chain — in that case, iPic — to exclusively partner with for releases? How will Google leverage its new acquisition to help encourage people to sign up for yet-another premium streaming service? So many questions that don’t have anything to do with the film itself; welcome to the new era of technology and film criticism, I suppose.