Famously, E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey was born as fan fiction of the Twilight series, which turned into a best-selling series of books and a money-making series of films. And if fan fiction site Wattpad has its way, even more fanfic will be turned into media sensations.
According to Variety, Wattpad has recently partnered with entertainment distribution company Entertainment One to develop “original TV, feature film and virtual-reality projects” based on its fan-generated content. Entertainment One distributes The Walking Dead and manages musicians like The Lumineers.
Last year, the Toronto-based Wattpad created its own Wattpad Studios and hired Eric Lehrman as the head of content development. (Lehrman is the former VP of original scripted programming at USA Network.)
Over the years, Wattpad hasn't just accumulated millions of stories. It also has raised $70 million in funding. Obviously, investors want their money put to good use. Back in June, Wattpad created 10 short films based on fan fiction—starring the writers themselves—and placed them on Fullscreen, a subscription service, where it received minimal attention.
With a distributor like Entertainment One, it appears Wattpad is stepping up its development game.
Fan fiction has always been a fan’s go-to for content when the show or film hadn’t been enough to slake our particular thirsts. It’s exciting to know that writers who share our tastes will be getting amplification.
We’ll leave our concerns about ownership of the stories and the rights of the authors—both the fan fiction author and the author of the original content—for another article.