EXCLUSIVE: The appetite for scripts and partially finished films is soaring. Lionsgate is tying up a deal today to pay $7 million to pre-buy U.S. distribution rights to American Ultra, the action comedy that begins shooting in New Orleans …
Erik Feig now shares the co-president title of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group with Steve Beeks, who continues as co-COO of Lionsgate. The long-term deal, terms of which were not disclosed, comes after the former head of production at Summit helped oversee a film slate that made more than $2.3 billion at the 2013 box office including The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Now You See Me. Here’s today’s release:
SANTA MONICA, CA, February 25, 2014 – Motion picture executive Erik Feig has been promoted to Co-President of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group and has signed a new long-term agreement, the Company announced today. He oversees all aspects of feature film development and production for the Company’s Lionsgate and Summit film labels.
The Company’s feature film slate generated more than $2.3 billion at the global box office in 2013, led by the second film of Lionsgate’s blockbuster Hunger Games franchise, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the 10th highest-grossing film of all time at the domestic box office, and Summit’s sleeper hit Now You See Me, which grossed more than $350 million worldwide.
“Erik has assembled a tremendous production slate over the past two years, and he will be a critical, innovative and disruptive part of our future as we continue to evolve as a next generation global content leader,” said Lionsgate Chief Executive Officer Jon Feltheimer.
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,” Lionsgate 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 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.”
Lionsgate Issues Statement On Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Death; ‘Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ Role Had Been Mostly Filmed
The studio behind The Hunger Games franchise which introduced the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee in last year’s Catching Fire has released a statement on the actor’s passing: “Philip Seymour Hoffman was a singular talent and one of the most gifted actors of our generation. We’re very fortunate that he graced our Hunger Games family. Losing him in his prime is a tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Philip’s family.”
Related: Philip Seymour Hoffman Dead At 46 Of Apparent Overdose
We’re hearing Hoffman had completed the majority of his work on Lionsgate‘s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 prior to his sudden death Sunday morning. He had seven days of filming to go before wrapping Mockingjay Part 2, but there’s no word yet on what Lionsgate plans to do to make up for that remaining week Hoffman was supposed to film. The role is a significant one that increases in stature following Plutarch’s introduction in Catching Fire, in which the new Head Gamemaker shares brief encounters with Katniss and is seen pulling strings for the Capital behind the scenes. In the subsequent Mockingjay novel which Lionsgate has split into two films, Plutarch plays a key role in the resistance.
The stock’s up 5.8% in afternoon trading after Piper Jaffray analyst James Marsh said that social media buzz around Divergent – the sci-fi action film that premieres on March 21 — is tracking ahead of the patterns for …
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire topped $409.4M last night, surpassing the first The Hunger Games which grossed $408M. It marks the first time ever that the first two installments of a franchise have each grossed $400M at the domestic box …
2ND UPDATE, 4:10 PM: BIM Distribuzione has officially apologized for the 12 Years A Slave posters in Italy that featured more Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender than the film’s main star Chiwetel Ejiofor – ones that were unauthorized by Summit and Lionsgate. “We apologize for creating and releasing unauthorized posters for 12 Years A Slave in Italy featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a manner inconsistent with approved advertising materials. All inappropriate materials have now been withdrawn. We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused.”
UPDATE, TUESDAY PM: We’ve now learned that Italian distributor BIM Distribuzione has agreed to stop distributing the materials in question and is in the process of recalling the unauthorized materials already in circulation.
PREVIOUSLY: Studios want to create buzz for their films, but you can probably bet this is not the kind of buzz envisioned for Oscar hopeful 12 Years A Slave. Posters for the race drama recently released in Italy feature separate images of Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender (who had small roles in the pic) prominently over a much tinier image of the film’s main star, black actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.