In the famous film 1984-the karate kid, Sensei Daniel Larusso, Mr. Miyagi, tells his protégé, “man who catch fly with chopsticks, to achieve something”. Well, except that except to convince Ralph Macchio, who played Larusso in three karate kid films, or William Zabka, who portrayed his Nemesis johnny Lawrence in two films to return to the franchise. “I’ve always been very protective of this franchise and this role. I said 30 years, because it’s always been easier, let the legacy stand as what was, rather than trying to go back to the well and denied,” says Macchio. Or as Zabka put it: “there is a danger that you tip your hat too much in the wrong direction, and there is no way to get out of it. I always joke that my career would end that day I was flying sidekick on the chips in the screen saver as a commercial. It was the thing I feared the most”.
But now, 34 years later, Macchio and Zabka reunited for the new series of the Cobra Kai, a modern revival of the karate kid franchise, which spawned two sequels, in 1994 the reconstruction (with Hilary swank stepping in Macchio) and the 2010 reboot starring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. But even more surprising than the return of the platform that the new dramedy broadcast. After interest from streaming heavyweights such as Netflix and hulu and linear networks such as TBS about the airing of the series, all 10 episodes of the Cobra Kai the first season will stream on YouTube, red—YouTube subscription video on demand (svod) service starting Wednesday, may 2nd.
Axel Dupeux for Adweek
The Cobra Kai will provide a bright spotlight, but for red on YouTube, which was launched in the fall of 2015. For $10 a month, the Service offers ad-free access to YouTube videos, YouTube Red originals and audio platforms YouTube music and Google Play music. “I want YouTube Red which will be the subscription service You can’t live without,” says Susanne Daniels, global head of YouTube original content, and she thinks the Cobra Kai could show what happened.
The series premieres in one day to YouTube’s annual Brandcast extravaganza on Thursday, part of this year’s NewFronts, during which the company will try to put their brand security for her and dazzle buyers with a new promotion around a TV, Seating area and original show programs. The move into original content—the Cobra Kai is one of 30 new movies, TV shows and much more Daniels Department will release this year is a “natural progression” on YouTube, says Michael Venables, Executive Director, Digital, hearts & Sciences, which noted that, just like Netflix, the company started as a “service provider and then evolved into the creation of Content.”
The Cobra Kai, which picks up three decades after the events of the first film, finds Zabka johnny is down on his luck, trying to make ends meet as a handyman, and reminded that every step of his school enemy, Daniel, who is now successfully developing a network of local showrooms. A series of failures, including with the participation of their school-age children, tell johnny to resume his old Cobra Kai karate, to the dismay of Daniel.
“It’s the ultimate fanfiction: for us, that’s what J. J. [Abrams] is busy with Star Wars,” says Hayden Schlossberg, who acts as the Creator and showrunner of the Cobra Kai together old friends Jon Hurwitz and Josh Heald. “But these are completely different things at the same time. Going in with the antagonist of the original film, as our protagonist, at least for the first episode, he was more original, although it is a sequel.”
1984 movie, where macchio’s Daniel learning karate, Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) and defeats johnny in the Under-18 all-valley karate tournament, was a stumbling block for many 80s kids, but perhaps none more than Horowitz, Heald and Schlossberg. Then “there were no Pixar films. You have back to the future, E. T. and the karate kid and the first big story sucked,” says Schlossberg. And the film’s themes of fatherhood and bullying “was not made in such a way that it was ridiculous and stupid; they really liked,” adds Hilda.
Video: John Tejada; Editor: Breana Mallamaci
Co-creators, who often review the film went through a special DVD-edition of “the karate kid” during their early years working in Los Angeles and was drawn to an interview with Zabka in which he explained that in his mind, johnny was not a villain, but the protagonist of their own story.
“He’s so far from who I really am, so when I approached him, I had to find his righteousness in order to treat me. I didn’t see the games just mean-spirited person to beat somebody,” said Zabka, who based this approach on johnny the first line in the script: “I am a former geek … I have one year to make it work,” and last, “are you all right, sure. A good match”. He adds, “for me it was the heart of johnny. I always saw him as a more three-dimensional character than just a villain.”
The trio talked about the fact that karate kid movie from this point of view, but the ability to “never felt particularly realistic,” says Horowitz, especially after the 2010 remake. Years later, caused by the recent explosion in streaming Content“ where you will be able to explore different properties in a whole new way,” says Horowitz, the trio took another blow in trying to get right, this time swiping his idea in the series. They met with will Smith, Overbrook entertainment, who had the right karate kid and called their idea.
Then they came for Sony, which released all five of the films the karate kid. In the Studio were talking about possible sequels or TV revival, but it “was a whole new look we haven’t heard before. It was something that we could not pass up,” says Jeff frost, President, Sony pictures television, which insists that there was no corporate mandate to revive the franchise. “It was the creativity that drove it.”
All that remains is to convince the actors to finally say Yes, after decades of noes. Heald knew Zabka, writing a cameo for him in the 2010 Film the time Machine in the Jacuzzi, while Hurwitz and Schlossberg had previously talked to the actor about a cameo in one of his movies Harold and Kumar. “I had no idea it would be so, not in a million years,” says Zabka from “instantly attractive” step for lunch. “I walked out of the restaurant, shell-shocked, almost like a girl came and said, ‘I want to give him another chance.’” He was also delighted with the opportunity to test himself as an actor and to portray a new side of johnny. “I clearly gave it to understand that I don’t want to double down on the biggest jerk of all time,” he says.
Macchio, who unlike Zabka was previously involved with the trio, was also received during a four-hour meeting on their passion for the first film—“the karate kid is Star wars, and they treat it accordingly,” says the actor—and their “fresh eyes” on a story that will resonate with the audience. “They smashed the pilot, first season and beyond,” says Macchio. “I had a million questions, but I also felt that the time and platforms we have now that we didn’t have 10 years ago, lends itself to this feeling to me, as now is the time.”
Both actors, who were also on Board as co-Executive producers, were on hand as the show was offered a variety of channels, including Amazon, Netflix and hulu and TBS. But, in the end, the most enthusiastic Publisher was like Daniel in the first movie, scrappy outsider: red on YouTube. “They could not Express more excitement and enthusiasm,” says frost. “We felt that it was a house that was actually going to build their platform around this project. And it doesn’t hurt that they were ready to take him straight in the Series And on the field.” Adds Horowitz: “they talked about the show and their house is the kind of show that is shown throughout the city, and the audience, the types of things they could do. There was something really exciting about that to us: our show to be a big fish in a small pond and a small pond happens to be Google.”
YouTube Daniels, longtime karate kid fan, from all-in. “I don’t care,” she says of the field, and saw the Cobra Kai as a great opportunity to help expand the YouTube Red beyond its initial slate of Content, which starred established YouTube stars (“allowing fish where the fish are”) and to extend the service core demo 18-34 (“heavy YouTube users”) in 18-49. While it continues to produce software with YouTube stars as Liza Koshy and Jenn McAllister (jennxpenn), Daniels is more and more tending to a series with an established IP (intellectual property), which resonates with YouTube’s as wide as a drama series step ahead: high water (based on the film franchise), which debuted in January, and now the Cobra Kai.
While Daniels isn’t revealing figures Red subscribers on YouTube (but “we are significantly increasing,” she insists), she is also the cultivation of AD-supported original programming (AVOD) beyond the Red YouTube paywall. These programs always have the message “Pro-social,” she says, as Kevin HART fitness series that match. Programming on YouTube Red, meanwhile, has “sharp, anything goes” feel.
However, in the coming year is to experiment more with Windows on its AVOD and SVOD originals. “This is a unique opportunity: we have billions of unique viewers on the platform of the LABOR party. Exposing the episodes with them and then move them behind paid access is that we will try a little more this year,” says Daniels, who will offer two Cobra Kai episodes for free in the quest hook for YouTube visitors—the site has more than 1.5 billion monthly to register with YouTube viewers and to persuade them to join red to watch the remaining eight episodes.
YouTube have partnered with fathom events to show the first two Cobra Kai episodes in more than 600 cinemas.Axel Dupeux for Adweek
Buyers starved for more AD-Supported premium features video, saying that they would like to have a crack on red on YouTube showing how the Cobra Kai. “This is the type of premium content that has mass appeal, and can be suitable for a range of target audiences,” says Venables. But Daniels said in the original YouTube films are more likely to be part of her AVODAH experiment than the series, as it was last year demi Lovato documentary harder, which was organized Ulta beauty, before go to YouTube Red.
As it mounts its biggest marketing campaign on YouTube is the original, drawing heavily on data gleaned from its own platform, teasers, play karate kid nostalgia and Digital activations around the Cobra Kai start“ that use what we know about what works, in terms of virality in YouTube,” says Angela Courtin, head of YouTube, TV and original marketing. It also used show, theatrical roots with two big events last week: the series premiere at the new York Tribeca film festival, and YouTube in conjunction with fathom events to screen the karate kid and the first two Cobra Kai episodes in more than 600 cinemas. “When you connect to serialize the changes back to feature on IP, is there a way to merge these two worlds,” says Courtine.
Daniels says, tracing the Cobra Kai was a “very strong” on the eve of the premiere—“on Wednesday we have a really good feeling about this”and she will “absolutely” to quickly order a second season, if in response to a series of matches its pre-launch excitement.
If the update comes, the creators say they are ready, having finished the season with 1 an unexpected turn, “was in our original,” says heald. “We always knew the season is coming to an end, when that happens, and we always had an idea of where it goes after that. We are not just leaping into the Great unknown”.
Some were looking forward to the moment that is still in their back pocket now: Daniel-johnny’s revenge. “Everyone is asking when are they going to fight?’ We called Ross and Rachel of our shows,” says Macchio, referring to on-again, off-again couple friends. “You have to keep it there, but You can’t have them too early in the war. Or it could be a short series!”
Click for more from this issue this story first appeared in the April 30, 2018, issue of the magazine Adweek. Click here to sign up.