“Fat Kid Rules The World” Challenges Viewers And The Mainstream Film Industry

"Fat Kid Rules The World" is a movie outside the Hollywood norm, not only because it stars an overweight punk teen, but also because it's reinventing the models of distribution using social media.

Fat Kid Rules The World

We were at Rooftop Films Friday night to check out the first New York City screening of “Fat Kid Rules The World,” the film adaptation of KL Going’s YA novel of the same name and Matthew Lillard’s directorial debut. The film has been a decade in the making and well worth the wait.

The story of an overweight, depressed teenager who figures out where he belongs when he discovers punk music still resonates with this generation of young people. If anything, it’s even more poignant as many teens struggle with fitting in and music is an ever-more-important factor in their lives and forming friendships. The film, like the book, doesn’t shy away from controversial topics, from drug use to suicide to complicated friendships and family relationships.

Following the screening, Lillard explained that he got involved with the film project while recording the book on tape — he was moved by the story because, like the main character, he was a lost kid in high school until he discovered acting. He immediately contacted Going and bought the film rights. After the film took home the Audience Award at SXSW, the opportunities that Hollywood presented were “kinda crappy,” according to Lillard. The Hollywood system doesn’t see a film about a fat kid as a big money maker, so Lillard and his crew are teaming up with Tugg.com — a sort of Groupon for films — to distribute the film.

At the screening, we talked with Lillard and Rick Rosenthal, the film’s producer, about why they chose to make this story, how social media is changing the film industry, and why they turned to Kickstarter to raise funds to get the film to theaters. [They’re currently a mere $16,000 away from reaching their goal with just four days left!]

The Fat Kid Family — Rick Rosenthal, Noah Rosenthal, KL Going, Julian Gavilanes, Dylan Arnold, Jacob Wysocki, and Matthew LillardYpulse: It’s clear from the group here supporting the film and from the number of…


Want to talk to us about the article
or dive into a custom study?

The Newsfeed

"I play [games] constantly until 4 in the morning. When I’m not on my game I’m checking my phone. And the whole time I’m doing all of that my desktop is on the internet.”—Male, 22, OH

Twitch is airing every episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in celebration of the late Fred Rogers’ 90th birthday and the show’s 50th anniversary. The esports streaming service is expanding to nostalgia entertainment (which young viewers can’t get enough of), but they have a unique twist. The show will be available for co-viewing, with popular Twitch streamers chiming in from time to time. (Mashable)

Over one-third of 18-34-year-olds have stopped using a brand after hearing negative news about them, more than any other generation. Among the brands that most consumers said they gave up on were Wells Fargo, Target, Papa John’s, and Uber. However, Critical Mix and kNOW also found that young consumers are more willing to forgive a brand for bad press: While only 30% of consumers overall would use a brand again after a scandal, 41% of 25-34-year-olds would. (MediaPost)

Alamo Drafthouse is bringing back VHS—offering free rentals for Millennials that wax nostalgic for analog products. Their first store, Video Vortex, is opening in North Carolina. Not only are they “fostering a movie-loving community” with the extensive gratis collection of 75,000 titles, but they’re making money off of the added “beer, food, and merchandise.” No VHS player? No problem. They’re renting those as well. (BoingBoingEW)

Researchers were surprised to find Gen Z students were “relieved” to ditch their smartphones for a few weeks. Screen Education’s study of 62 12-16-year-olds found that 92% thought “it was beneficial” to disconnect from their smartphones while they were at camp. And even though 41% admitted they felt frustrated at times, 35% were able to cut down their use after camp and 17% convinced a friend to curb their time spent on smartphones, too. (PR Newswire)

Beauty brands love augmented reality, but an app can’t replace in-store experience. Not only did Ypulse found time and again that young consumers expect Experiencification and flock to marketing activations (like pop-ups), but brick-and-mortar locations build loyalty. People think they’re scamming Sephora when they re-do their makeup gratis, but that time-spent-in-store is really “turning the ‘scammers’ into buyers.” (Quartzy)

"I love my smart phone. It is just like my best friend [and] I just can't do without my smartphone...”—Male, 27, CA

Sign Up Now

Subscribe for premium access to our content, data, and tools.

Already a subscriber? Sign in.

Upgrade Now

Upgrade for full access to the best marketing tools for understanding the next generation.

View our Client Case Studies