Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, the number one streamer in the world, told The Hollywood Reporter recently that he’s looking to expand his career, and could soon be swapping streaming for the silver screen. As one of the biggest names in videogames, it shouldn’t be too surprising that he’s looking to grow his brand further.
Ninja has taken some baby steps outside of the streaming bubble previously. He featured in The Masked Singer last year, performing Old Town Road while dressed as an ice cream, but ended up going home on the first night. He has also landed a small part in upcoming movie Free Guy, which stars Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer, although this is just a cameo where he plays a version of himself.
He has yet to really make his mark outside of gaming, but within the crowded world of streamers, he’s arguably one of the biggest streamers in the world, and it’s no surprise that he’s looking to cash in on that any way he can.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that he’s looking to expand his brand. He remains top of the Twitch subscriber charts with close to 15 million, despite having left the platform over a year ago. This departure took him to the now defunct Mixer, and allegedly made him $30 million along the way. Since Mixer’s close, he’s streamed just once, on his YouTube channel of 24 million subscribers, and is currently contemplating his future.
These are the kind of numbers Hollywood wants to tap into. Earlier this year, Ninja promoted Sam Mendes’ war movie 1917 while playing Call Of Duty: Warzone, telling viewers “The imagery, dude, this is hands-down the greatest picture movie ever.” It might genuinely have been “the greatest picture movie ever” in Ninja’s eyes, but his endorsement did not come free; Universal Studios identified the young male demographic as key to 1917’s commercial success, and enlisted Ninja’s help to promote the film.
It’s difficult to precisely measure Ninja’s impact on the movie’s marketing, but what is known is that Universal were targeting around $20-25 million on 1917’s opening weekend, but ended up raking in $37 million instead.
Streaming is an entertainment juggernaut, making exorbitant money even as it struggles for major mainstream recognition. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told his investors last year “we compete with, and lose to, Fortnite more than HBO.” He’s not kidding, either. Movie ticket sales in 2019 brought in around $1 billion less than digital games alone, before you even count physical releases.
The numbers Ninja pulls in and the audience streaming has – an audience Hollywood wants but often struggles to get – makes Ninja the ideal spokesman, and once Hollywood is back up to full speed, expect more 1917 style endorsements mid stream. If all goes to plan though, Ninja will be doing much more than that.
He told The Hollywood Reporter he was looking at “literally anything and everything Hollywood,” including “movies, voice acting, cartoons.” Don’t expect him to be joining the MCU any time soon, but a voice over role in a show aimed at the typical young male audience his 1917 endorsement was tailored to seems well within the realms of possibilities.
In the past, Ninja has been vocal about not wanting to stream with female streamers, keen to avoid rumours about his dating life. For the record, he’s married to fellow streamer Jessica Blevins, who also acts as his manager. Whether or not he’s prepared to work on these “movies, voice acting, cartoons,” with women remains to be seen.