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David Heyman To Produce, James Schamus Adapting Lionsgate’s Jesus Mythbuster ‘Zealot’

David Heyman To Produce, James Schamus Adapting Lionsgate’s Jesus Mythbuster ‘Zealot’EXCLUSIVE: Religion-themed pics are all the rage, and I’ve learned that Gravity and Harry Potter producer David Heyman is set to produce the adaptation of Reza Aslan’s Zealot: The Life And Times Of Jesus Of Nazareth. The bestseller was acquired by Lionsgate in December, and former Focus Features chief James Schamus is penning the adaptation.

Iranian-American writer and scholar Aslan’s book was published in 2013 and named one of the best of the year by Publishers Weekly. It’s a historical account of the life of Jesus, analyzing the various religious perspectives on him as well as the creation of Christianity. Set in 1st century Palestine, the story challenges long-held assumptions about the Galilean. Zealot“Sifting through centuries of mythmaking, Dr. Aslan sheds light on one of history’s most influential and enigmatic characters by examining Jesus through the lens of the tumultuous era in which he lived,” Lionsgate said when it picked up the title. Aslan added at the time that his objective in writing the book was to “illuminate the life of Jesus in a humanistic, as opposed to religious, context.” While Schamus pens the transfer, I hear that top directors have expressed interest.

Heyman will produce with Jeff Clifford. The pair also is teamed on The Queen Of The Tearling, the adaptation of Erika Johansen’s upcoming novel that’s part of a trilogy to be published by HarperCollins this year. Mark L Smith, who co-wrote Alejandro … Read More »

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Lionsgate Extends Distribution Alliance With StudioCanal

By | Monday July 7, 2014 @ 8:02am PDT

Lionsgate Extends Distribution Alliance With StudioCanalThe Berlin-based media giant will continue to distribute Lionsgate films in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in the new multi-year agreement, the companies say this morning. The output deal begins in Germany on November 20 with the release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1. It also will include the upcoming Johnny Depp film Mortdecai, and the live action Power Rangers films. Under the previous arrangement, Studiocanal “was a major contributor to The Hunger Games franchise’s evolution into a global phenomenon,” Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-chairs Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman say in this morning’s release. The second film in the series, Catching Fire, “more than doubled the box office performance of the first Hunger Games film in Germany.”

Concurrently, Studiocanal Germany extended its TV licensing deal with ProSiebenSat.1 which serves free TV channels in Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland.  Lionsgate releases will become the “centerpiece” of the TV arrangements, the companies say.

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Hot Trailer: Kristen Wiig & Bill Hader In ‘The Skeleton Twins’

By | Monday June 30, 2014 @ 3:46pm PDT

Hot Trailer: Kristen Wiig & Bill Hader In ‘The Skeleton Twins’Twins Maggie and Milo have been estranged for a decade, but a surprise reunion has them re-examining their lives and relationship in this R-rated dramedy. Longtime Saturday Night Live colleagues Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader star as the titular sibs in The Skeleton Twins, which won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for Craig Johnson and Mark Heyman. Johnson also directed. Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell and Boyd Holbrook co-star. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will open the film, which counts the Duplass brother among its exec producers, in theaters on September 19 — the same day fellow SNL veteran Tina Fey’s This Is Where I Leave You bows wide. Here’s a look:

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Hot Trailer: Bruce Willis & Jason Patric In ‘The Prince’

By | Thursday June 26, 2014 @ 6:30pm PDT

Hot Trailer: Bruce Willis & Jason Patric In ‘The Prince’Jason Patric stars in the ensemble action thriller as a long-retired assassin who is pulled back into the life when someone grabs his daughter. Waiting for him in New Orleans is crime boss Omar (Bruce Willis), who has a score to settle that goes back 20 years. John Cusack, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Jessica Lowndes, Johnathon Schaech, Gia Mantegna and South Korean actor-singer Rain (aka Jung Ji-hoon) co-star in The Prince from Emmett/Furla/Oasis Films, Grindstone Entertainment and director Brian A. Miller. Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore penned the pic, which opens day-and-date August 22 in theaters and VOD. Check it out:

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Hot Teaser Trailer: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1′

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 8:25pm PDT

Hot Teaser Trailer: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1′“Panem today, Panem tomorrow, Panem forever.” That’s how President Snow (Donald Sutherland) ends his menacing monologue in this teaser for the third installment of the blockbuster YA-adapted franchise. Bottom line in his Capitol TV address: Obey. Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 hits theaters November 21. Here’s our first taste:

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Mel Gibson Set For Karlovy Vary Honor; Lionsgate Taps London-Based Sales Directors

By | Tuesday June 24, 2014 @ 10:00pm PDT

Global Showbiz Briefs: Mel Gibson Set For Karlovy Vary Honor; Lionsgate Taps London-Based Sales DirectorsKarlovy Vary Fest To Present Its Highest Award To Mel Gibson
Mel Gibson will receive the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival‘s top award for his “many years of artistic engagement in international cinema”. The actor-helmer-producer will present a screening of the 2006 film Apocalypto, his most recent directorial effort. Gibson’s next acting gig is in action-comedy sequel The Expendables 3, and he is filming the lead role in Blood Father. The 49th Karlovy Vary fest is set for July 4-12 in the Czech Republic resort town west of Prague.

Lionsgate Hires Pair Of Sales Directors In UK
LionsgateLogoLionsgate said today that it has tapped Mark James as Director of Sales, Central & Eastern Europe, and Fabio-Etienne Tinchant as Director of Sales for Greece, Turkey, Africa, Middle-East, Spain and Portugal. The pair will be based in the mini-major’s London office, reporting to Roberta Ibba-Hartog. James was Sales Manager CEE & Middle East at CBS and before that served as NBC Universal Channels Acquisitions Manager for CEE. Tinchant was ITV Global Entertainment’s Sales Director for South East EMEA.

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‘Think Like A Man’ Duo To Script Lionsgate’s ‘Instructions Not Included’ Remake

‘Think Like A Man’ Duo To Script Lionsgate’s ‘Instructions Not Included’ RemakeEXCLUSIVE: As the sequel to their 2012 Steve Harvey book adaptation Think Like A Man hits theaters today, the writing team of Keith Merryman and David A. Newman have been hired to adapt another hit property. They’ll script Lionsgate’s remake of the Spanish-language comedy Instructions Not Included, about a playboy whose life is rocked when an old fling leaves a baby on his doorstep. The original film starred Mexican superstar Eugenio Derbez and became the highest-grossing Spanish-language film to ever be released in the U.S. when it opened via Lionsgate’s Pantelion last year.

Keith Merryman  David NewmanMerryman and Newman co-wrote 2011 rom-com Friends With Benefits prior to adapting the first Think Like A Man picture, which took in a $96M box office for Screen Gems. The pair were then tapped to write sequel Think Like A Man Too, which opens today and has already scored $1.8M in late night Thursday showings. The Instructions Not Included remake will be overseen by John Sacchi and Mike Paseornek for Lionsgate. The studio also recently tapped Merryman and Newman to rewrite Summit’s romantic comedy Kicked, Bitten and Scratched based on Amy Sutherland’s books set at an animal facility. The writers are repped by APA, Circle of Confusion and SMGSB.

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Tech Briefs: Lionsgate Elevates Thomas Hughes to EVP Worldwide Digital Distribution; Dates Set For CES 2015; More

By | Wednesday June 18, 2014 @ 7:27pm PDT

Tech Briefs: Lionsgate Elevates Thomas Hughes to EVP Worldwide Digital Distribution; Dates Set For CES 2015; MoreLionsgate has promoted Thomas Hughes, a sign, the company says, of how much importance it places on emerging online and alternate video-delivery platforms. As EVP Worldwide Digital Distribution, Hughes will oversee sales and distribution efforts in on-demand and digital video, including more than 25 digital retailers, mobile platforms and multichannel video providers. He’ll be reporting to Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s Thomas HughesPresident of Worldwide TV & Digital Distribution, and continue to work closely with international TV exec Peter Iacono on global digital and VOD markets. Hughes had been SVP Worldwide Digital, and previously served under Packer at MGM as VP Worldwide Digital. Among his notable projects at Lionsgate has been the pioneering day-and-date releases of Arbitrage and Margin Call on VOD and in theaters.  

Consumer Electronics Show Gets A 2015 Date
Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 3.18.59 PMCES, the mammoth electronics confab that overruns the Las Vegas Convention Center and so much of the rest of that city each year, has set its dates for 2015. The Consumer Electronics Association, which puts on the show, says it will be run from JAnuary 6-9. For more info or to get signed up really, really, really early, go to The CES site for the event already has info for hotel rooms, registration, and so much else. No link to the site for orthopedic walking shoes you’ll need after hiking across … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Expendables 3′

Hot Trailer: ‘Expendables 3′Last month, we saw a big swath of the Expendables 3 crew yukking it up during a massive stunt in Cannes. Today, they’re back with the first full-length trailer for the Millennium Films threequel. This episode reunites key cast members including Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren and Randy Couture. It also adds Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Kelsey Grammer, Antonio Banderas, Kellan Lutz and others. Director Patrick Hughes plants the band on a quest for revenge after one of their men is murdered on what should have been an easy job. Deep in enemy territory, they face an unexpected threat. The film starts its international rollout on August 13 and Lionsgate releases in the States on August 15. It’s going out with a PG-13 which Stallone said in Cannes was “to reach as many people as possible. It’s very close to an R, believe me, it’s right there. But I think we owe it to the next generation. We thought we’d join that club for a while.”

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Lionsgate Acquires North American, UK Distribution Rights To Nicholas Sparks’ Novel Adaptation ‘The Choice’

By | Tuesday June 10, 2014 @ 11:42am PDT
Mike Fleming

sparkyEXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has acquired North American and UK distribution rights to The Choice, an adaptation of the 2007 Nicholas Sparks novel that has a script by Bryan Sipe, with Sparks, Theresa Park and Peter Safran producing. Production begins in the fall. The deal, which began percolating during the Cannes Film Festival market, is similar in construct to the deal that Paramount made for Story Of Your Life, and the $12 million deal The Weinstein Company made on The Lion. This is for less money, but Lionsgate basically has bought a fully developed film. It is the first time that Sparks has gone this route; he usually auctions his new fiction and gets millions in guaranteed fees. He wanted instead to incubate the project before shopping it, and take part as an investor in the film.

Cannes: ‘Lion’ To Roar In $12 Million TWC Deal After Auction
Cannes: Paramount Confirms ‘Story Of Your Life’ Acquisition

The Choice tells the story of a long love affair that begins when Travis Parker and Gabby Holland first met as neighbors in a small coastal town and end up pursuing a relationship that neither could have foreseen. It spans a decade and traces the evolution of a love affair that is ultimately tested by life’s most defining events. Sparks’ The Best Of Me and The Longest Ride are currently in production. This is Lionsgate’s first project with the author, who with Park formed Nicholas Sparks Productions and recently acquired rights to make a movie on the life of Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers. Read More »

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Lionsgate EVP Television Chris Selak Re-Ups With Multi-Year Deal

By | Wednesday June 4, 2014 @ 10:33am PDT

ChrisSelakChris Selak, who has served as Lionsgate’s EVP Television since joining in 2011, has signed a new multi-year agreement to continue at the company. During her tenure she has overseen growth in the division spearheading productions like ABC’s Nashville and Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black, both recently renewed for third seasons, as well NBC’s miniseries Rosemary’s Baby and with Debmar-Mercury Charlie Sheen’s 10-90 FX comedy Anger Management. “Working with Chris is a joy,” said Lionsgate_newlogo__130418225246-200x107__130915073826Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs in announcing the new deal. “Her keen eye for talent and material, her executive prowess, and the breadth and depth of her industry relationships have played a pivotal role in growing our television business, and we are looking forward to continued success together.” Read More »

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DeadlineNow: Lionsgate Upbeat On Profits, But Stock Still Slides (Video)

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 1:07pm PDT
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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.

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

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DeadlineNow Morning Report: ‘Maleficent’ Opens Strong, Sony’s VFX Arm Moving To BC, Lionsgate Shares Down (Video)

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 11:06am PDT
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Morning Report, Friday May 30

Disney's 'Maleficent' eyeing $70 in opening weekend, Sony's Imageworks leaving LA for Vancouver, Lionsgate predicting big increase in profits, but stocks are down. Dominic Patten reports.

BOX OFFICE PREVIEW: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ Opens To Magnificent $4.2M Late Nights; Seth MacFarlane’s ‘A Million Ways To Die In The West’ Looks To Tonight’s Numbers
Sony Imageworks’ Flight To Vancouver Latest Blow In VFX Subsidies Battle
Lionsgate Predicts Big Profit Increase, But Stock Still Falls On Earnings Miss

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Josh Brolin Joins ‘Sicario’

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 11:05am PDT
Mike Fleming

brolinJosh Brolin has joined Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt in the Denis Villenueve-directed Sicario. Lionsgate has worldwide distribution and Black Label is financing. The movie is set against the backdrop of the border wars between the cartels in Mexico, and the Americans trying to stem the violence from coming over the border. Brolin plays Matt, a CIA guy who runs the task force that recruits Blunt’s character from a SWAT squad out of Tucson. Del Toro plays a mysterious and lethal character who is working with Matt’s team to take out a powerful
cartel figure.

Basil Iwanyk is producing with Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill, Thad Luckinbill and Ed McDonnell. Taylor Sheridan wrote the script and Erica Lee and John Starke are exec producing.

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

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

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

By | Friday May 30, 2014 @ 6:09am PDT

Mockingjay Part 1 - Teaser PosterLionsgate continues to feast on The Hunger Games, and other properties. The studio said today that it named Jenefer Brown to a new job of SVP for Branded Attractions. And it unveiled two specific initiatives: Lionsgate partnered with game company Kabam to produce, as this morning’s release put it, “an exclusive role playing, card collection mobile game that will deliver the action of the blockbuster film into the hands of avid fans around the world.” In addition, Lionsgate plans a U.S. tour of “The Hunger Games: The Exhibition” for summer 2015. With help from Thinkwell Group, a location-based entertainment company, the exhibition will include interactive displays as well as costumes and props.

“Now that we’ve built a critical mass of intellectual property, we’re committed to extending our brands into exciting new businesses that create opportunities for our fans to engage with our properties at the same time they deliver significant incremental financial benefits to Lionsgate,” Chief Marketing Officer Tim Palen says. He adds that Brown will report to him and oversee the Hunger Games exhibition tour and “explore additional theme park attraction and other location-based entertainment opportunities around the world for ..the Company’s entire portfolio of branded properties.” She has worked on location and live entertainment projects for Warner Bros. Entertainment, Anschutz Entertainment Group, the National Basketball Association, CORE Media Group, Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon Animation Studios.

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Lionsgate Shares Slide After Quarterly Earnings Miss Analysts’ Expectations

By | Thursday May 29, 2014 @ 1:13pm PDT

Lionsgate_newlogo__130418225246-200x107__130915073826The stock is down 6.6% in initial trading after the independent studio released its results for the first three months of 2014. Year over year comparisons are complicated by a $141.M tax benefit Lionsgate received in the period in 2013. With that factored in, net income fell nearly 70% to $49.2M on revenues of $721.9M, -8%. The top line missed analysts’ prediction of $823.6M. Earnings at 35 cents a share also were short of forecasts for 40 cents. Investors’ feelings about the company could change tomorrow morning when execs likely will offer financial guidance for the next year or two.

Lionsgate Says It Will Ramp Up Brand Extensions Including New Game And Exhibition For ‘Hunger Games’
Lionsgate Predicts Big Profit Increase, But Stock Still Falls On Earnings Miss


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Lionsgate Signs YouTube Pranksters The Janoskians To Movie Deal

By | Wednesday May 28, 2014 @ 5:31pm PDT
Mike Fleming

janoskiansEXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has made a deal with the YouTube prank crew The Janoskians to develop a feature film star vehicle for the group. The film label will try to harness a rabid online following and turn it into a movie ticket buyers. The Janoskians, who are born and bred on the Internet and provide a mix of the outrageous with some social commentary, have developed an enormous YouTube following since making their debut in 2011. Their fan base has grown to more than 15 million followers and 200 million views. They’ve spread their brand to include a sold-out worldwide Live Nation tour last year, a clothing line called Dirty Pig, a record deal with Republic Records, and a video game on iTunes/Android called Ouch! Couch. Their personal appearances in malls from Los Angeles to New York and London resulted in closings and evacuations because of crowd-control issues. Now, if all goes well, they will be movie stars.

Related: YouTube Touts New DreamWorksTV Channel As It Promotes Itself As An Ad-Friendly Platform

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Lionsgate Acquires ‘Operation Avalanche’ From ‘Dirties’ Helmer Matt Johnson

By | Wednesday May 28, 2014 @ 10:54am PDT

mattjohnson_EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has taken U.S. and Canadian rights to thriller Operation Avalanche, the next film from Slamdance-anointed The Dirties filmmaker Matt Johnson. Plot is being kept under wraps but film investigates the truth behind the CIA’s involvement in the space race. Multi-hyphenate Johnson wrote, directed, and starred in the The Dirties which won the 2013 Slamdance Grand Jury Prize and in October was tapped to script the Encyclopedia Brown flick for WB. For Operation Avalanche he’s reteaming with Dirties co-writer Josh Boles, co-star Owen Williams, and producer Matthew Miller, with Lee Kim also aboard as producer. “The CIA, the 1960′s and the space program have always been obsessions of mine. Working with partners like Lionsgate, who understand the scope and vision of what we are creating, has been a pleasure. This movie is going to leave audiences with a powerful and imaginative interpretation of what may or may not have happened within the walls of the US’s top government agencies,” said Johnson. XYZ Films’ Nick Spicer is exec producer on the project. Lionsgate’s Michael Paseornek, John Sacchi, and Jessica Switch are overseeing for the studio, with production slated to start June 30 in Toronto, Houston, and Washington D.C. XYZ Films is repping international sales. The company’s Nate Bolotin negotiated the deal with Akin Gump’s Chris Spicer and WME. Johnson is repped by Management 360, WME and Akin Gump.

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