Exclusive: Over the past year, director and VFX artist Ken Parsons has taken his YouTube following into the stratosphere with the viral success of his mystery short, “The Backrooms (Found Footage).” It’s the first in a series of found-footage horror videos that have so far garnered nearly 100 million views and will now be adapted for the big screen by A24, Atomic Monster, Chernin Entertainment and 21 Laps.
Parsons – who is just 17 – will direct from a script by Roberto Patino (DMZ) He just has to wait until his summer vacation.
Details about the plot of the sci-fi horror feature are under wraps. But in the original ’90s short set (which you can watch below), a young filmmaker’s fall into another dimension finds him wandering through an unsettlingly yellow, empty and labyrinthine office space, which may or may not be home to otherworldly creatures. . The film’s title and setting draw inspiration from a creepypasta (or Internet urban legend) image published on the website 4chan in 2019.
Deadline heard that A24 was one of several suitors back room Pitch the features, though it’s unclear what was off their price point. 21 Laps’ Lucas Ford and Atomic Monster’s Chris White brought the project to their respective companies, with Chernin Entertainment and A24 to co-finance.
Sean Levy, Dan Cohen and Dan Levine will produce for 21 laps with James Wan and Michael Clear for Atomic Monster and Patino. Judson Scott and White will handle production for Atomic Monster, with Alayna Glasthal overseeing the project for the company.
Parsons has managed 16 entries so far back room YouTube series — with its most recent entry, “Backroom – Damage Control” uploaded just a few days ago. Little is known about the NorCal-based filmmaker, although he has previously created several animated videos inspired by manga, Attack on Titan. He launched his YouTube channel in 2015 called Ken Pixel.
Patino is a two-time Emmy nominee best known as creator and showrunner DMX — a limited series, based on the dystopian comic book by Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli, that bowed on HBO Max last March. He produced the show starring Rosario Dawson and Benjamin Bratt alongside Ava DuVernay. The writer, under an overall deal with Netflix, created and wrote the first two seasons for HBO Westworld and was previously a writer-producer for FX Son of anarchy.
Aquaman And The Conjuring Filmmaker James Wan founded the leading genre-focused production company Atomic Monster in 2014. The banner recently released Horror Smash M3GAN, which grossed nearly $150MM worldwide and spawned a sequel in less than a month. Other upcoming projects for the company include: Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, which Wan directed and produced; An adaptation of Stephen King’s Lot of Salem, starring Lewis Pullman, Alfre Woodard and Bill Camp; New line The Nun 2, starring Taissa Farmiga and Storm Reid; and the untitled Ian McCulloch Project, a series for Peacock, which it will produce.
Among the upcoming films from Chernin Entertainment — producer Peter Chernin’s esteemed banner — is a Netflix sequel to the Idris Elba series. Luthertitle Luther: Fallen sunwhich will hit limited theaters on February 24 before bowing on streamers on March 10. Also in the works is a feature adaptation of the popular DC comic, Our man. Recent releases include Netflix’s Fantasy Slumberland Starring Jason Momoa, and the third season of the Apple series see And Truth be told.
Stranger Things EP Shawn Levy’s company 21 Laps will release an adaptation of Stephen King’s short story “The Boogeyman” on June 2nd. Although the 20th film was initially set for a Hulu streaming release, it tested well enough to make the pivot to theaters. The company will see a second season of its Netflix series Shadows and bones Released on March 16. Additional upcoming projects include the film the hole And a reboot of it Alexander and the terrible, no good very bad day For Disney+; fear motherland For Lionsgate; Levy-directed Netflix limited series We cannot see all light, based on the Pulitzer-winning, worldwide bestseller; And recently announced the genomeBased on the breakout horror short by Dutch filmmakers Richard Raaforst and Ruan Hegelman.
Indie studio A24 is coming off an important year with Daniels’ daring martial arts metaverse picture In Everything Everywhere All At Evening, which last spring established itself as A24’s highest-grossing film and crossed the first $100MM milestone at the worldwide box office. The Michelle Yeoh and Kay Hui Kwan-led film also recently received 11 Oscar nominations — the most contentious of any film — pushing the studio to the top of the list with 18 overall for the first time.
Includes films coming up for release by A24 Hereditary Helmer Ari Aster Beau is scared, starring Joaquin Phoenix; Celine Song’s acclaimed directorial debut past life, which had its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival; and documentaries Stephen Curry: Underrated, which also debuted at the Park City, UT festival. The company’s upcoming TV projects include Park Chan-wook’s film starring Robert Downey Jr. empathetic For HBO and Lee Sung JinbeefStarring Steven Yeun and Ali Wong for Netflix.
Parsons is repped by 3 Arts Entertainment and Geoffrey Brittenham. Patino is with WME, 3 Arts and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman.