We already know about movie blockbusters and even TV blockbusters, but is there such a thing as an online blockbuster? Tom Hanks and Jerry Seinfeld are about to find out.
The animated sci-fi video series Electric City, created and voiced by Hanks, makes its debut today on Yahoo Screen. Seinfeld's online series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, makes its debut Thursday on Crackle.com.
Hanks' 90-minute, 20-episode series, which is airing over three nights, is being touted as a "first-of-its-kind, 360-degree online interaction of digital, social, mobile and gaming media."
"It's the first project in what we call online digital blockbusters," says Erin McPherson, vice president and head of video for Yahoo. "This is new for Yahoo and new for the Internet — this is maiden territory."
But it is looking like the future. "TV and movies are not going away, but we believe passionately that this is a key part of the future, which is filled with a lot more choices and a lot more mechanisms to watch," she says. "As it becomes more crowded, the unique, exclusive things (like Electric City) will stand out."
In Seinfeld's series, the Emmy-winning expert on extracting comic gold from nothing cruises around in vintage cars with his funny chums —Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Alec Baldwin, Michael Richards— on the way to getting coffee and getting laughs.
Seinfeld says through a spokesman that he wants the content to speak for itself.
According to tweets he sent Friday, he doesn't know how many episodes there will be, nor how long they will be. "Not sure. Shot a bunch but we'll see how everyone likes it," he tweeted. Crackle.com is a free site to view content, owned by Sony Entertainment.
McPherson describes Electric City as Lost for the digital age, aimed at 18-to-30-year-olds.
In the series, the world has ended and the Electric City stands as a symbol of peace and security in the rubble. But underneath the veneer of order there are secrets, back-alley dealings, daring chases and murder.
"It's adult, evocative and raises big, heady questions about what kind of society we should be living in," McPherson says. "But it doesn't pander — it embraces ambiguity. It requires the audience to work to figure it out."
Each episode is just a few minutes long; the first 10 will premiere the first night, and the remaining episodes will be released over the next two nights.