Check Out Our New Look

Lionsgate Predicts Big Profit Increase, But Stock Still Falls On Earnings Miss

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 7:11am PDT
Loading video...

Lionsgate Sees Future Profit Gains

Lionsgate predicts a 25% increase in profits over the next three years and says not to worry about stock price drop. Deadline's David Lieberman reports.

Lionsgate_newlogo__130418225246-200x107__130915073826With its growing array of franchise films and TV series, Lionsgate revenue should increase by 25% over the next three years, while TV revenues increase more than 50% with a profit margin doubling to about 14% in 2017, CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts this morning. Execs have “greater confidence that we can continue to accelerate” the pace of value creation. And shareholders should benefit: “It’s our intention to increase the dividend on a yearly basis,” Feltheimer said as Lionsgate continues to repurchase shares and make profit-generating acquisitions.

Related: Lionsgate Says It Will Ramp Up Brand Extensions Including New Game And Exhibition For ‘Hunger Games’

Investors were eager to hear management’s forecast after last night, when Lionsgate released disappointing earnings for the first three months of 2014. Its share price slipped more than 11% after the market opened this morning. The new forecast offers “some suggestion of what investors can expect once the Hunger Games franchise has run its course,” Cowen & Co analyst Doug Creutz says. But Wunderlich Securities’ Matthew Harrigan notes that investors seem to be “reverting to [a] ‘show me’ mode.”

Read More »

Comments (2)

Lionsgate CEO Says ‘Now You See Me’ Sequel To Begin Production In September

By | Friday February 7, 2014 @ 7:41am PST

Shooting on the follow-up to last year’s sleeper hit Now You See Me will take place in the U.S., Europe, and Asia “to capitalize on the property’s international appeal, with most of the original cast returning, and some exciting new additions,Now You See MeLionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts this morning in a call to discuss the company’s fiscal Q3 earnings. He added later that execs “absolutely see it as a franchise. We’re going to add some cast to it. We see it as an ongoing situation.” Execs pushed the theme of Lionsgate_newlogo__130418225246-200x107Lionsgate as an incubator for franchises; Feltheimer says the company has “an ability to assemble and mine the richest and most diverse portfolios of [intellectual property] in the industry.” He considers upcoming films Gods Of Egypt, Chaos Walking, and Mordecai (“a character that Johnny Depp loves,” he says) as “potential franchises — later adding The Last Witch Hunter with Vin Diesel to the list plus “another one we hope to announce shortly.” Speaking of franchises, the CEO said that timetable for the Hunger Games series remains “unchanged” — with releases planned for late November this year and next — following the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. “We’re fortunate to have his incredible talent grace our Hunger Games family,” Feltheimer says. “We send our deepest condolences to all who were close to  him.” The CEO also talked up the Divergent series, noting that the studio is “gearing up to begin shooting Insurgent, the second film in the franchise, this summer in order to make our March 2015 release date.”

Related: Philip Seymour Hoffman’s ‘Hunger Games’ Role Mostly Filmed
Read More »

Comments (4)

Lionsgate In Talks For ‘Hunger Games’ Theme Park Attraction

By | Friday November 8, 2013 @ 7:21am PST

The Hunger GamesThis was one of a few interesting tid-bits that CEO Jon Feltheimer dropped in his conference call with analysts this morning. The studio’s been “approached in two territories about potential theme park opportunities” for the action film franchise, he says. “We’re pursuing them.” The company has no additional info.

Separately, Feltheimer says that a major cable operator is about to sell downloads of movies to consumers “in a short period of time.” When that happens the electronic sell-through business “is really going to open up.”

The CEO also says that we may see some changes soon at FEARnet, the VOD and broadband horror movie and TV outlet it co-owns with Sony and Comcast. The partners “continue to be mystified that FEARnet isn’t being picked up by more” pay TV companies, Feltheimer says. “We’re trying to figure out how to make FEARnet a more important part of our business or some other way to deliver value, so stay tuned.”

Comments (13)

Lionsgate CEO Says EPIX Plans To Add Scripted Original Shows

By | Friday November 8, 2013 @ 6:56am PST

The premium video service is performing well financially and is “going to start looking at original series,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts this morning. Co-owned by his company, Viacom, and MGM, “we’re capable of creating some cool original content.” And it should help EPIX as it negotiates carriage deals with cable and satellite companies. “One or two great scripted shows can drive an entire channel or network, so they’d consider it a plus for us.” Indeed, Feltheimer says, execs are engaged in “pretty significant conversations with [pay TV distributors] who look at EPIX as a channel that they can use in a smart way” as they craft streaming TV Everywhere packages. “We’ve got a fantastic theatrical line-up” that includes “a lot of original stuff, but not scripted.” Read More »

Comments (3)

Lionsgate Says ‘Red 2′ Disappointed While ‘Expendables 3′ Casting Is Still In Flux

By | Friday August 9, 2013 @ 7:44am PDT

The action film starring Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren “underperformed our expectations at the domestic box office” but will “make a solid profit” as it opens in overseas markets, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts this morning. Still, the company says it has a solid batting average with its portfolio, with a sequel for Now You See Me “in the planning stages.” And it anticipates a home run in March with Divergent. One exec says it appears on pace to become a success on the order of The Hunger Games, calling the parallels in the early feedback “very, very strong and very, very similar.” Feltheimer added that there’s a lower bar to cross because “we budgeted the film like a commercial release, not like a blockbuster.” He also likes the financial terms for the action film Ender’s Game, due in November. “We’re 25% of the equity investment in the film with a low threshold for domestic performance for us to break even.” Regarding recent casting changes for Expendables 3 – Harrison Ford is joining and Bruce Willis is leaving — Feltheimer says that “these deals are being negotiated up to the last day” and “the franchise is going to have a lot of new and exciting blood in it.” The CEO also talked up Lionsgate’s television business, noting that the company Read More »

Comments (11)

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer Makes $12.6M In Fiscal 2013, +95%, But Vice Chair Michael Burns Does Even Better

By | Monday July 29, 2013 @ 12:58pm PDT

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer reaped the benefit from a year when his company cashed in on hits including The Hunger Games and the Twilight saga: His compensation rose 95.3% to $12.6M according to the company proxy out today. (The package: $1.3M salary, $6M bonus, $3.6M stock awards, $1.5M non-equity incentives, and $184,535 in other compensation.) But it seemed to pale next to the take for Vice Chairman Michael Burns, who had to report four years worth of option awards valued at $14M. With that included, he ended  up with $28.2M, +406%. (The package: $970,962 salary, $4M bonus, $7.9M stock awards, $14M option awards, $1.3M non-equity incentives, and $33,484 other.) Lionsgate shares appreciated 70.8% in the fiscal year that ended in March. In making the awards, the board says it took into account the executives’ roles in integrating Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment; the increase in the stock price; sales of TV shows including Anger Management and Nashville; the early repayment of the Summit Entertainment term loan; and the performance of Hunger Games and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2. Lionsgate will hold its annual shareholders meeting September 10 in Toronto.

Comments (1)

EXCLUSIVE: Legendary And Lionsgate To Meet This Week; Details On What Tull Wants

EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that Legendary Entertainment‘s Thomas Tull continues kicking tires all over Hollywood right now. He’s planned a meeting for later this week with the Lionsgate team including chief Jon Feltheimer and Summit-turned-Lionsgate film co-chairman Rob Friedman who’d like to mitigate their feature film risks which worry Wall Street. “It’s an interesting choice and a new entry,” a source tells me. “He really respects Rob and Felt.” I already told you over the weekend that Tull has met twice with NBCUniversal chief and Comcast #2 Steve Burke over at NBCU and that four studios were in this bake-off. Well, now add Lionsgate. Sony is still in the running “because he loves their business and loves the Sony people and really likes Michael Lynton”. So, too, Fox because Tull “loves” Jim Gianopulos. “But if Jeff Robinov goes there it may not happen,” a source told me today. (Robinov months before he parted ways with Warner Bros told me, “My relationship with Tull is pretty good. It’s had its ups and downs. I’d like to see them stay.”) As for Warner Bros, Tull for weeks now has begun every meeting with a studio by pledging that he’s “not talking to Warner Bros and definitely intending to move on”. But the studios tell me they’re convinced that’s just a negotiating ploy and if the right deal was offered he’d stay.

So strange to hear the words ‘love’ and ‘like’ tossed around so much when describing Hollywood’s always complicated relationships. Says an insider, “Thomas is all about, ‘Who do I like?’ He likes Fox, he loves both Sony people, he loves Universal and loves Ron Meyer and the Comcast guys. He loves Alan Horn but Disney doesn’t need him.” As I’ve already reported, both Disney and Paramount respectfully passed. Remember that media frenzy I predicted? Tonight, The Hollywood Reporter erroneously reported that Tull has pared down his list to Universal and Sony — not true. Variety tonight inaccurately reported that only Universal, Sony and Fox are still in the running — also not true. Neither media outlet had a clue about the forthcoming Legendary-Lionsgate meeting.

I’ve also learned exclusively what Tull wants to offer and what he wants in return for a new deal as he makes his way around the studios. Summed up one studio mogul who heard Tull’s pitch: “His appetite is significant. It”s what he thinks Legendary is worth.”  I’ve learned that Tull starts off talking conceptually — not specifics. ”Thomas is looking for a 360 media deal. He wants films, parks, TV. He wants a big partner, an even more all-encompassing deal to leverage his IP library of films, comics, and soon TV and license out the content he owns.”

But let’s get real: Tull has very little IP to speak of and the studios want Legendary mostly for what it will finance for them. After building up his war chest and closing on $720M in financing in 2011 alone and more in 2012, Tull has “has access to billions more through various revolver accounts and other levers he can pull,” a source tells me. “He did $443M of pure equity with Waddell & Reed in a monster deal in December 2012. He has equity and financing for $272M. And he has a huge cash-rich business with hit after hit after hit over the years. That’s a lot of leverage.”

Overall, Tull wants a much improved deal over his present one at Warner Bros. “He feels he was paying too high a distribution fee at Warner Bros for Pacific Rim and Godzilla which Legendary is making,” another source tells me. ”He’s paying over 10% fees for those movies. That’s high relative to what’s usually given the people who put up the money. He wants to pay 8% for the 10 to 12 films Legendary will be fully financing.”

I’ve also learned that “Tull is looking to keep certain rights for the movies he finances, like his own Netflix deals”. And that Tull “also wants a producer deal for himself so he gets compensated from the studios separate from paying a distribution deal to the studios”. For movies he’s co-financing for the studio, he wants more involvement in the development process through shooting, post-production, marketing and distribution.

Of course, Tull may love or like almost everyone atop the studios, but not everyone loves or likes him. “He’s sitting in these studio meetings pitching his track record that Legendary-associated productions had $7+B grosses worldwide at the box office,” one source tells me. “But I’m thinking, ‘Aren’t those just the movies that were offered you or weren’t offered you? Are you joking?’” Says another source: “Thomas takes credit for stuff he hasn’t generated. He has that reputation.” Read More »

Comments 22

Jon Feltheimer Agrees To Stay At Lionsgate To May 2018

By | Monday June 3, 2013 @ 5:50am PDT

Jon Feltheimer‘s new contract runs to May 22, 2018 and guarantees the Lionsgate CEO $1.5M a year salary plus a performance bonus targeted to match, according to a company SEC filing this morning. The board also will make sure that he remains focused on boosting the stock price, which is up more than 127% over the last 12 months. If the bonus tops $1.5M, he can collect the extra amount in fully vested stock. He also will receive 200,000 restricted stock units and an option to buy 2M shares. On the first trading day of January 2014 he has an option to buy 250,000 shares at the day’s closing price — plus an option to buy 1M shares either at that price or $30 apiece, which ever is higher. There’s also complicated formula that governs what additional shares he can buy depending on the stock price. And, of course, Feltheimer would collect generous severance terms if there’s a change in control at Lionsgate that results in him losing his job.

“We believed in Jon’s early vision of how to best position Lionsgate to grow and adapt to a rapidly changing industry,” says board chairman Mark Rachesky. “He has successfully executed on a business plan which required discipline, patience and investment in all of the Company’s key business segments in order to create highly valuable content and long-term value for shareholders.”

Here’s  the company’s release: Read More »

Comments (2)

Lionsgate Chief Says Studio Would Need “Adjustment” If TV Ads Cover 7-Day Viewing

By | Friday November 9, 2012 @ 7:11am PST

This has emerged as a hot question for the TV business in the Q3 earnings season: As DVRs become more popular, and time-shifting more common, should ads be sold on the basis of the number of people who view them up to seven days after they first air instead of the current three? CBS’ Les Moonves made the case on Wednesday, and Disney’s Bob Iger added his support yesterday. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer has indicated that he likes the idea — but his support is qualified: “If it’s a movie coming out in three days…we’re not going to get the benefit of those [additional] viewers,” he told analysts in a call to discuss earnings. In that case, “we’ll have to look at those numbers and get some kind of adjustment.” Lionsgate has options if that doesn’t happen — or even if it does. “There’s no question that we are seeing significant amounts of awareness from social media and the Internet, and that’s going to give us a tremendous opportunity to reduce our overall marketing spend,” he says. But while a shift to what’s called C7 ratings might create problems for the movie side, Lionsgate’s TV unit could benefit. Its new show Nashville, which airs on ABC, is “one of the most time-shifted shows on television,” he says.

Related: Lionsgate Shares Rise After Fiscal Q2 Results Soar Read More »

Comments (12)

Lionsgate’s Jon Feltheimer Urges Cable Operators To Cooperate With Programmers

By | Monday October 15, 2012 @ 4:10pm PDT

The Lionsgate CEO gently touched some cable industry hot buttons in a speech today to marketing execs. He said that cable could be left behind as viewers increasingly turn to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets for entertainment unless operators improve user interfaces, offer dynamic ad insertion for on-demand shows, and begin to sell movies and programs directly to consumers. “These days, an educated consumer may not be our best friend because an educated consumer knows that if you and I don’t give him what he wants, there are a million other places he can get it,” Jon Feltheimer told the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing. “And nobody has to tell you that once a consumer has left your ecosystem, it’s very hard to get him back.” Read More »

Comments (5)

Lionsgate’s Jon Feltheimer Collects $6.4M Compensation For Fiscal 2012, -18.6%

By | Monday July 30, 2012 @ 12:59pm PDT

The drop has nothing to do with the performance of the company, whose stock price appreciated 128% in the fiscal year that ended in March. It’s just that last year the independent studio’s CEO had $4.8M in stock awards that didn’t reappear this year, according to Lionsgate’s just-released proxy. He was rewarded in other ways with a package that included $1.2M in salary, $5M bonus, $121,500 in stock awards, and $94,169 in other compensation. The bonus is way up from last year’s $1.9M. Two other execs saw much bigger gains this year. Vice Chairman Michael Burns’ compensation was up 107.4% to $5.6M, while Motion Picture Group President Joseph Drake was up 56.7% to $3.1M, including a $2M bonus tied to the performance of The Hunger Games. He resigned in March with an agreement that give him a $3.4M severance payment plus bonuses tied to the performance of future films in the Hunger Games franchise. With the changes, Feltheimer falls off our list of CEOs whose pay is out-of-whack with his or her colleagues. Corporate governance activists become concerned when a CEO makes more than 3 times the median for other top executives whose compensation is noted in the proxy. Feltheimer’s pay is 2.1 times the others, down from 3.4 times. Looked at another way, he accounted for 28% of the pie for the top execs, down from 46%. The proxy notes that Lionsgate’s shareholder meeting will take place on September … Read More »

Comments (4)

Lionsgate Shares Down On Fiscal Q3 Earnings Miss

The production company’s shares dove more than 8% in initial after-hours trading — but recovered to a more modest loss later — after it released what appears to be a dreary report. Lionsgate had a net loss of $1.7M in the last three months of the year vs a $6M loss at the end of 2010, on revenues of $343M, down 23.6%. Analysts expected revenues to be much higher, at $358.8M. The company’s net loss, at 1 cent a share, also contrasts with the 9 cent profit that the Street anticipated. Lionsgate says that revenues suffered from the lack of a wide theatrical release in the quarter; last year it had three. As a result, motion picture revenues fell 28.6% to $233.3M. TV production was down by 6.8% to $89.7M. Home entertainment also struggled with revenues from movie releases of $128.9M (-28.8%) — slightly offset by $34M for TV shows (+108.6%). Lionsgate said it made $7.3M from its 31,2% stake in EPIX, an improvement from the $11.1M loss on the investment in the same quarter in 2010. But that was somewhat offset by the $2.1M loss on its 51% of TV Guide Network a slight increase from the $2M loss last year. Read More »

Comments (0)

Lionsgate Blames Theatrical Film Woes For Fiscal 2Q Earnings Miss

The film and TV company had a net loss of $24.6M, an improvement from its $29.7M loss in the quarter last year, on revenues of $358.1M, down 21.5%. That revenue figure was far below the $421.5M that analysts expected. And the net loss, at 18 cents a share, was below the 13 cent loss the Street had forecast. The bottom line could have looked even worse: Lionsgate included the $11.0M it collected from its sale of Maple Pictures. The company also was able to add $6.1M from its 31.2% stake in EPIX vs a $19.8M loss from last year’s quarter. Lionsgate says that it suffered from “underperformance of theatrical films in the quarter” — where releases included the Conan The Barbarian remake, Warrior, and Abduction – as well as “timing of DVD releases which offset gains in the Company’s television and digital businesses.” The movie operation generated $218.9M in revenues, down 36%. Read More »

Comments (18)

Former Carl Icahn Protege Mark Rachesky Named Lionsgate Co-Chairman

By | Thursday September 15, 2011 @ 3:29pm PDT

Lionsgate said in a regulatory filing today that Mark Rachesky, the former Carl Icahn protege and the mini-major’s largest shareholder, has been appointed co-chairman of the board, a title he will share with current CEO Jon Feltheimer. The move was finalized on Tuesday, according to the SEC filing; Feltheimer was re-appointed as the other co-chair. Rachesky has 37.3% of Lionsgate shares, making him by far its largest investor. He replaces Harold Ludwig as co-chair, though Ludwig remains on the board. Rachesky was Icahn’s chief investment officer for about a decade but left to start his own fund. Last year, he was considered a key player in keeping Lionsgate out of Icahn’s hands, increasing his stake in the company as Icahn’s challenge to Lionsgate’s management grew. Lionsgate and Icahn settled their longtime dispute last month, ending the corporate raider’s hostile takeover attempt.

Comments (8)

Tyler Perry TV? Lionsgate Says It’s A Good Idea, But Won’t Confirm Plans

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer sure talks as though the company’s looking to create a TV channel around Tyler Perry — Tyler TV – even though he says he “can’t comment” on a report about it. He told analysts this morning that “we strongly support” the idea of bringing Perry to “exciting new platforms.” That could include a “not fully distributed (cable) channel that we could buy” or nesting Perry at “a channel we already have. … We have a lot of options if we choose to go down that path.” The New York Times says this morning that the company is considering rebranding its struggling TV Guide Network, buying a channel such as Gospel Broadcasting Network, or teaming with Comcast, which promised federal officials who approved its acquisition of NBCUniversal that it would beef up programming for minority audiences.

Also on the call, Lionsgate executives talked up their plans for The Hunger Games. The first film in what’s likely to be a four-film series completes principal photography on Labor Day weekend ahead of a March 2012 release. But the studio says it won’t release the second film until Thanksgiving 2013 because it wants to take advantage of the big holiday season audiences — and to give itself time to work on the script and marketing plans. The productions won’t necessarily be filmed back-to-back, although there’s a chance that the second and third installments will be. Read More »

Comments 22

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer’s $7.9M Compensation Package For FY 2011 Up 116.8% Thanks To Carl Icahn

Billionaire Carl Icahn did a big favor for Lionsgate execs when he accumulated more than 33% of the stock in June 2010. That triggered change-in-control clauses in executives’ contracts, accelerating their stock payments for the fiscal year that ended this past March. An SEC filing out today shows that Feltheimer received $1.2M in salary and a $1.9M bonus — but nearly $4.8M in stock, up from $412,800 the previous year. The company also paid for personal expenses including $23,882 for club membership dues. Feltheimer’s bonus was down $50,000 in a year when Lionsgate shares increased less than 1%. The filing says that there are ”no specific financial performance targets or other objective performance criteria” for executives’ bonus awards; they’re based on ”a subjective determination” about how well they did. But Feltheimer was by far the highest-paid exec at Lionsgate: He made 250% more than the runner up, General Counsel Wayne Levin, with $3.2M. Feltheimer accounted for 46% of the total amount that went to the company’s top five execs who also included Vice Chairman Michael Burns ($2.7M), Co-COO Joseph Drake ($2M), and CFO James Keegan ($1.5M).

Comments (13)

‘Hunger Games’ Will Provide A Feast For Lionsgate, Execs Say

Lionsgate executives told Wall Street analysts this morning to expect big things from The Hunger Games, a series of four action films that the studio will release from the trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. COO Joe Drake said it was “the highest-selling film we’ve ever had” at the Cannes Film Festival and that overseas exhibitors consider it “the movie that can change their company.” Although Lionsgate wouldn’t disclose its budget for the films, Drake says Hunger Games could become an “outsized success” for Lionsgate. The studio says it bought the rights before the books became runaway bestsellers, and it has “retained the majority of the upside” in its talent and distribution deals.

On other matters following the company’s earnings report yesterday, Lionsgate says that it isn’t concerned about the public’s waning interest in 3D. “We never thought of 3D as a one-size-fits all solution to the movie business,” CEO Jon Feltheimer says. He added that Lionsgate’s recent deal to syndicate reruns of Mad Men to Netflix reflects his view that Internet streaming services can be “partners, not adversaries.” He hopes to “replicate these kinds of deals around the world.” Read More »

Comments 27

Lionsgate & Televisa Launch Venture To Make 10 Films Per Year For Hispanic Auds

By | Monday September 13, 2010 @ 9:33pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: A press conference is skedded for tomorrow morning, with Lionsgate co-chairman/CEO Jon Feltheimer and Grupo Televisa chairman/CEO Emilio Azcarraga. Lionsgate will team with Spanish-language media company Televisa to launch Pantelion Films, a joint venture that will target the fast-growing market of Hispanic moviegoers and release 8 to 10 movies per year. The first picture, From Prada To Nada, will be released in January. The expectation is Pantelion will produce half of its slate and acquire the other half. Jim McNamara, head of Panamax Films and a former Telemundo president/CEO, will be Pantelion chairman, while Lionsgate international exec Paul Presburger will be Pantelion CEO.

Comments (17)

Lionsgate’s Jon Feltheimer Named MIPCOM’s 2010 ‘Personality Of The Year’

By | Wednesday July 28, 2010 @ 8:58am PDT
Mike Fleming

Carl Icahn might not be crazy about Lionsgate co-chairman/CEO Jon Feltheimer and the rest of the indie studio’s management team, but MIPCOM loves him. He’s been named MIPCOM’s 2010 Personality of the Year. Feltheimer was been cited for “his leadership at the helm of Lionsgate and for driving creative productions and developing award-winning TV programs, including Mad Men, which have become global phenomena,” according to a MIPCOM missive. He’ll give a keynote address as part of MIPCOM’s Media Mastermind series of presentations. Feltheimer has been Lionsgate CEO since 2000.

Comments (3)
More Deadline | Hollywood »