Lionsgate Entertainment

By Simon Staples-Vangel

-Courtesy of Destructoid

BREIF HISTORY

Lionsgate Films is a film production and distribution company and is a division of the Lionsgate Entertainment Corporation. Originally known as Cinépix Film Properties, the name was changed to Lionsgate Films in 1998. The founder, Frank Guistra, stepped down two years later in 2000 and was replaced by Jon Feltheimer, formerly of Sony Pictures, who remains the Chief Executive Officer today. Lionsgate’s first film to be successful at the box office was American Psychoin 2000. For a long time their biggest success was Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11which was recently surpassed by the company’s lucrative franchise, The Hunger Games[1] [2]

KEY EXECUTIVES

-Courtesy of Lionsgate

-Courtesy of Lionsgate

Jon Feltheimer — CEO

-Courtesy of Lionsgate

-Courtesy of Lionsgate

Michael Burns — Vice Chairman

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-Courtesy of Lionsgate

Steve Beeks — Co-Chief Operating Officer – President, Motion Picture Group [4]

FINANCIALS

Lionsgate reported their 2013 (although actually fiscal 2014) second quarter revenue to be $498.7 million, with an adjusted net income of $25.4 million, a pure profit of $500,000 and $84.9 million in free cash flow.  This is a drop from the previous year, as the same quarter in 2012 saw Lionsgate’s revenue hit $707 million. However, last year’s second quarter saw the release of The Hunger Games on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, as well as three wide feature film releases. This year saw only two wide film releases, as the next installment in the Hunger Games series, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is coming this November, and the rest of the films will follow that pattern for the next few years. Thus, many would say that Lionsgate’s 2013 second quarter earnings were actually better than expected. They were able to make a profit without their major releases and thus are in a position to be very successful during the third quarter and the holiday film season. [5] [6] [7]

RECENT FILMS

Instructions Not Included

-Courtesy of IMDB

Lionsgate released Instructions Not Included on August 30th, 2013. The film is a Spanish language film, directed and starred in by Mexican television and occasional film actor, Eugenio Derbez. It is a comedy/drama about a single dad whose life becomes complicated by the resurfacing of his daughter’s birth mother. It became the highest grossing Spanish language film ever released in the U.S. Made only for $5 million, the film grossed a total of over $85 million worldwide. The film made $44 million in the U.S. and $41 million internationally. It’s limited opening weekend, August 30th, grossed over $7 million, while it’s  wide release on September 6th earned over $8 million. The film was able to stay on the box office charts for several weeks. Although critical reviews have been mixed, the film has clearly found success in Spanish language audiences, both in the U.S. and internationally, making it a big box office win for Lionsgate. [8] [9] [10] [11]

Ender’s Game

Courtesy of Collider

Ender’s Gamewhich was released by Lionsgate in the U.S. on November 1st, 2013. The film, based on the novel of the same name, is a science fiction and action film about a child who enrolls in a military school because he is widely believed to be the last chance for mankind to defend themselves from the inevitable alien invasion. The film stars well known child actor Asa Butterfield in the title role and the even more well known Harrison Ford as the lead support. The film was able to rake in $27 million domestically on opening weekend, however it quickly lost steam. Reviews have been mixed, with still many very positive, and while Ender’s Game has been able to gross a total over $63 million overall, it’s budget of $110 million means that it really lost quite a bit of money. Fortunately for Lionsgate, not all is lost, as the coming months will see the release of the company’s most lucrative franchise right in time for the holiday season… [12] [13] [14]

 THE MAJOR UPCOMING RELEASE!

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

-Courtesy of Latino Review

Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fireis the sequal to the previous The Hunger Games, released last year, and is also based on the acclaimed novel series. Due to be released on November 22nd, 2013, in the U.S., the film stars last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Actress (albeit not for The Hunger Games), Jennifer Lawrence, alongside the well known Chris Hemsworth, who previously had a small role in the Lionsgate film, The Expendables 2The film is expecting to be very successful, with some estimating it to gross nearly $400 million worldwide. This would surpass the $325 million earned by the original and would put Lionsgate in position to be one of, if not the biggest winners, of the winter holiday film season. The film benefits from the existing audience from the original novel series, as well as the significant star power of the cast. This isn’t limited to Lawrence and Hemsworth, as Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, and Stanley Tucci, among others, help round out the cast.

-Courtesy of The Washington Post

Furthermore, Lionsgate’s effective marketing campaign for the film consists of the multifaceted website, The Hunger Games ExplorerThe site combines many elements of marketing, including social media posts about the film, a reward based competition, traditional fan forums, and official releases such as new trailers or clips. The site can even be used to buy tickets to the film, as it links to ticketing websites such as Fandango. The all encompassing site is an effective design to engage fans of the film and novel series, and even to spark interests from those who are only casually interested. While Lionsgate has also gone for traditional ways of promoting the film, the website shows a forward-thinking marketing strategy, as it allows the company to group together all of its content and social media buzz in one place, while still allowing for traditional fan interactions in fan forums and discussion boards that science-fiction and action fans have typically been drawn to online. The site is the first result if you search “The Hunger Games” on multiple search engines, including Google. [15] [16] [17] [18]

OTHER FUTURE RELEASES

Obviously, The Hunger Games franchise isn’t over yet, as Lionsgate plans for each film to keep its annual November release date, up until The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 in 2015. Furthermore, Lionsgate has purchased the U.S. distribution rights for Hercules: The Legend Beginswhich they plan to release in 2014 before and in competition with Paramount’s Hercules, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. A risky move, but it shows that the company has a plan beyond its annual Hunger Games releases and they are clearly continuing to make a profit, becoming arguably the most successful “mini-major” studio to date. [19] [20]

SOURCES

[1] — Lionsgate Corporate

[2] — Funding Universe: Lionsgate Company History

[3] — Forbes: The Smart Money Behind The Hunger Games 

[4] — Lionsgate Corporate Management Page

[5] — Lionsgate Press Release

[6] — Hollywood Reporter: Lionsgate Quarterly Earnings

[7] — Deadline: Hunger Games DVD/Blu-ray Sales

[8] — Lionsgate Films: Instructions Not Included

[9] — Deadline: Instructions Not Included Box Office

[10] — IMDB: Instructions Not Included

[11] — Box Office Mojo: Instructions Not Included

[12] — Fool.com Box Office Weekend: THOR, Ender’s Game

[13] — Box Office Mojo: Ender’s Game

[14] — IMDB: Ender’s Game

[15] — IMDB: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

[16] — Digital Spy: Hunger Games: Catching Fire Predicted Gross

[17] — The Hunger Games Explorer Website

[18] — Digital Spy: Hunger Games Explorer

[19] — Variety: Lionsgate To Compete With Paramount’s Hercules

[20] — LA Times: Hunger Games Release Dates

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