YouTube is turning to the bottomless well of commerce that is the Christmas movie – and it’s wheeling out the big guns to do it. Yes, Mariah Carey has been signed up by the video site to star in its new holiday special, The Keys of Christmas.
The film will feature the singing legend alongside a host of musical stars, including DJ Khaled, Ciara, Fifth Harmony and Boyce Avenue. They will be joined by YouTube stars, such as comedian Rudy Mancuso.
The basic plot will see Carey and the others guide Mancuso, who has 1 million YouTube subscribers, on a magical adventure to discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Produced by Endemol Shine, it’s the latest in a growing line-up of increasingly high-profile originals for YouTube’s subscription service, YouTube Red. The service costs $9.99 a month in the USA, which gives users access to exclusives, but also allows them to download videos for offline streaming. In the last year, the service has stepped up its game to attract more subscribers, collaborating with talent such as The Rock, Dan Harmon, Doug Liman and, in a series based on the Step Up franchise, Channing Tatum.
The focus on music with The Keys of Christmas (Keys! Get it?) is no coincidence, as the subscription service’s offline option is largely focused on its expansive music library, including unlimited access to Google Play Music. The film is even directed by Grammy-winning music video director Dave Meyers.
“Music is wildly popular on YouTube, and we’re excited to bring together some of the biggest names in music alongside some of the biggest stars on YouTube,” Ben Relles, YouTube’s head of unscripted originals, said in a statement announcing the special.
The Keys of Christmas will premiere on YouTube Red on 19th December. YouTube Red is currently available in the US, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. It not yet available in the UK, although fans can rent and buy the originals through the site.