Why would anyone spend 50 hours buried alive just to make a YouTube video? Jimmy Donaldson – aka MrBeast – had 54 million reasons last year. The world’s top-earning creator is already worth $500 million — and thinks he can double that.
In the hypercompetitive, occasionally nasty world of social media, MrBeast is a collaborator. In November, to celebrate becoming the top YouTuber, he enticed 11 YouTuber friends including LazarBeam (20.2 million subscribers), GeorgeNotFound (10.5 million) and Callux (4 million) to compete for a $2.5 million private jet. (It was an endurance contest à la Hands on a Hardbody: Whoever kept their hand touching the plane the longest won.) Donaldson once gave his buddy Ludwig, a video game streamer with 3.7 million subscribers, a video that cost him $1 million to make . . . for free. It just wasn’t right for MrBeast. Donaldson’s videos, typically made on budgets of $1.5 million to $3 million, are famous for silly stunts (MrBeast counts to 100,000; MrBeast is buried alive for 50 hours in a coffin) and for giving out large sums of money ($10,000 to $1 million) for doing things like stealing a diamond in a warehouse guarded by laser alarms, or staying inside a circle painted in his field for 100 days. That’s a lot of money going out the door. But much more is coming in thanks to YouTube, Facebook and TikTok.