"From 1999 to about 2002, we were the biggest band in the world," says Brian Littrell in the new trailer for the Backstreet Boys' documentary Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of. "Then it just stopped. What do you do when you’re a full-grown man in a boy band?"
The documentary was originally conceived as a way to record the band’s reunion as they recorded their 2013 album In a World Like This, but soon became the comprehensive story of the band’s whirlwind success as part of the late ‘90s-early ‘00s boy band craze.
The group was constructed in 1993 by Orlando impresario Lou Perlman, who also managed boy bands like *NSync, LFO and Take 5.
"Lou had seen the success of Boyz II Men, New Kids on the Block, and he was like, 'Well, I can do this. I can put together a group,'" BSB member A.J. McLean says in the trailer.
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The group, which consisted of Littrell, McLean, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough and Kevin Richardson, clicked immediately, but struggled initially to break into the late '90s radio scene, which was dominated by grunge rock and gangster rap.
"At that time, the radio was playing Nirvana and Snoop Dogg," says McLean. "There was no place for boys like us."
The group struck it big in Europe first, then broke through in America with 1997’s self-titled album, which included hits like "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" and "As Long As You Love Me." They maintained chart dominance through the early 2000s, releasing three more studio albums, and selling sold over 130 million records, making the Backstreet Boys the best-selling boy band in history.
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The documentary will showcase the band’s success as well as their struggles to stay relevant in the current pop scene. Once Richardson rejoined the group in 2012, the Backstreet Boys traveled to the UK to live together and record another album.
"I had this idea to go to London, just the five of us, and record an album," explains Carter in the trailer. "No families, no girlfriends, just us."
The cameras follow the Boys across the pond as they recorded their first album since reuniting and breaking free from their Jive Records label. In a World Like This was released in 2013, on the band’s own K-BAHN record label. The documentary also follows the Boys on their latest world tour to promote the album.
"Twenty years is a long time for anybody," McLean reflects at the end of the trailer. "Let alone a bunch of dorks jumping around on stage, singin' and dancin'."
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