The Ride Along 2 star, through his Hartbeat Digital banner, has sealed a deal with the studio to launch a video-on-demand service called Laugh Out Loud that will become the exclusive hub for all of his work outside of his film roles and live standup performances. Hart will also work with Lionsgate to create and star in a social, mobile adventure game.
Laugh Out Loud will become the exclusive home for all of the comedian’s work outside of his film roles and live performances.
Hart already has a prolific film career, having starred in such projects as Get Hard, The Wedding Ringer and About Last Night, while also maintaining an audience for his comedy through standup tours and specials, including 2013’s Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain distributed under Lionsgate’s Summit banner.
Now, the comedian, who is popular on social media with more than 32 million followers on Instagram and 27 million followers on Twitter, has seen opportunity in the digital space.
“Lionsgate has always been a great partner of mine, and I’m more than excited to take our business and creative relationship to new levels,” said Hart. “I understand the direction in which the television business is headed, and I see this big new space toward which audiences are starting to gravitate. I believe that launching this venture together now puts us ahead of the pack.”
Laugh Out Loud will feature content curated by Hart alongside original series that showcase social media stars and emerging comedians. Projects are already in development for the service, including a hidden camera series in which Hart goes undercover as a Lyft driver and a series featuring Vine star Logan Paul.
On the other hand, Hart and Lionsgate have teamed with game developer Fifth Journey to conceive the mobile game, which will turn players into comedy stars who turn to Hart for mentorship as they embark on adventures that take them on a nationwide tour and have them starring in feature films and hosting awards shows.
Jeff Clanagan, who serves as CEO for Lionsgate’s Codeblack Films division and has a longstanding business partnership with Hart, has been named president of both Hartbeat Digital and Laugh Out Loud. Said Clanagan:
“The Kevin Hart brand speaks for itself, and his combination of creative brilliance and financial acumen position Laugh Out Loud and his social game to continue expanding his global fan base while introducing his comedic genius to a whole new online audience.”
Laugh Out Loud will be Lionsgate’s third over-the-top service, following Tribeca ShortList, which launched last fall through a partnership with Tribeca Enterprises, and Comic-Con HQ, which will become available this summer in affiliation with Comic-Con International.
Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said he was “proud” to kick off the partnership with Hart. “He is an incredibly versatile talent who will bring his unique comedic voice to Laugh Out Loud’s entire spectrum of original content, and his ever expanding global fan base gives both initiatives tremendous growth potential,” he continued. “Nobody understands how to continue extending Kevin’s brand better than Jeff Clanagan, and we’re pleased that he will lead the new platform’s growth.”
The deal was negotiated by Steven Barnes of Barnes Morris Klein & Yorn for Hart and Lionsgate executive vp and deputy general counsel Audrey Lee for Lionsgate. Peter Levin, president of interactive ventures and games at Lionsgate, and executive Daniel Engelhardt handled the game negotiations for the studio.