Finnish cult film Iron Sky expands into sci-fi saga
Would you like to own a part of a movie franchise? Finnish Iron Sky Universe is making it possible. The media company wants to build a science fiction saga that spreads across all media and is produced with the audience.
In 2012, cult sci-fi film Iron Sky told the story of Nazis living on the moon who came back to Earth. In 2016, sequel Iron Sky: The Coming Race hits cinemas and finds lizard people in the centre of the Earth. But if you ask the films’ creators Tero Kaukomaa, Timo Vuorensola and Jarmo Puskala, this is only the start. Their aim is to build a full-blown franchise covering movies, a TV series, games and merchandise.
“We made one movie that proved we have a global audience and our collaborative way of making movies works. Next step was starting a company to build a franchise around it,” says Kaukomaa, head of business at Iron Sky Universe which was founded in early 2014.
Iron Sky, seen by over 10 million people to date, was a unique project in the movie industry. It was created in collaboration with its fans who participated in all aspects of movie, from funding to image production.
The same collaborative thinking continues with Iron Sky Universe.
In May the company sold shares through Finnish equity-based crowdfunding platform Invesdor. In just over a week the company raised 265 000 euros – 500 per cent times its original goal. Now it has 430 shareholders from over 30 countries and another funding round is planned for 2015.
“We feel this kind of approach fits the world of Iron Sky and is a natural way to build the owner base of the company,” Kaukomaa explains.
“We have always expanded our skills through the fan base and it has been vital for us. It`s the same idea again. We are not only looking for money and owners, it could even be that through this call we find advisors or members of our board.”
Power to the audiences
Iron Sky Universe has an ambitious plan, but is taking one step at a time. Filming of the sequel will start next spring for a 2016 global release. A third movie is planned for a few years after that. The company is also looking for partners to create Iron Sky inspired games and merchandise from pinball machines to comics.
In the meantime a TV series is under development. It will be a prequel to the movies and takes place in the cold war era of the 60s and 70s. The concept is ready for five seasons in total, but finding distribution partners will come later.
“We call it a TV series but it could also be an Internet series. The industry is changing and we want to keep our options open so we can ensure the widest possible distribution for the series when that time comes.”
Kaukomaa believes that film and TV distribution needs to change and serve its customers’ needs better, and listening to its audience is something Iron Sky Universe knows well.
“Consumers should be able to access the content they want when they want. There is still a lot of resistance to this and old structures that are kept alive, but slowly the traditions will change.”
“There are already many successful cases in the US where films have been released simultaneously on VOD and in the cinemas.”
The story of Iron Sky is only starting. It has taken the first steps, but it appears there is much more to come.
Text: Eeva Haaramo