Can social media creators make movies? This local startup is banking on it

Jonathan Shambroom, left, and Benjamin Grubbs are co-founders of Creator+.
Creator+ co-founders Jonathan Shambroom, left, and Benjamin Grubbs.
(Wendy Yalom)

Popular social media creators are well-versed in popping a 15-second video on TikTok, but what if they were given the opportunity to make feature-length movies?

A new local startup, Creator+, aims to tap into that potential, offering to finance and distribute movies produced, directed or starring promising video creators, including those who are active on video platforms such as YouTube.

The company, which is based in Culver City and San Francisco, plans to greenlight more than six films this year and release them on its platform in early 2022, with budgets in the low seven figures. Downstream revenue generated from the films will be split with creators 50-50, the company said.


“We’re placing a bet on creators, like we have this really deep belief in their creative ability, and to go well beyond short form,” said Jonathan Shambroom, the chief executive and a co-founder of Creator+. “They have found a point of view and a voice and art that resonates with audiences ... amassed organically, not with big marketing spend, but just themselves authentically growing these huge audiences to staggering heights.”

Consumers who wish to see the films will go to the Creator+ platform and pay to see each movie. The company did not reveal pricing and said it would be in line with what a movie ticket costs. Creator+ also is looking at working with creators on other kinds of audience interaction through merchandise, consumer products or other types of digital goods and experiences.

The company will probably shy away from big-budget action films but is open to other genres, including adult romantic comedies or dramas, Shambroom said.

“We just see creators are in the driver’s seat,” he said.

Creator+ co-founder Benjamin Grubbs said existing social media platforms could restrict or constrain the types of stories creators wanted to tell due to time limitation or what’s economically possible on an ad-supported platform.

“We saw a desire, and I think most creators actually want to tell certain stories in that long-form feature length,” Grubbs said in an interview. Movies will be about 90 minutes.

Creator+ was founded this year by Shambroom, a former general manager of Crackle, and Grubbs, who previously was head of top creator partnerships at YouTube.


The company has 10 employees and operates a studio in Culver City.

Creator+ has raised $12 million in funding led by Malaysian-based Petra Group and venture capital firm Freestyle Capital as well as other investors.