SANTA MONICA, Calif. and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 1, 2015 /CNW/ -- As part of the continued diversification of its portfolio of films, Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) has launched Lionsgate Premiere, a new specialty film distribution label, it was announced today by Lionsgate Co-Chief Operating Officer and Motion Picture Group President Steve Beeks. Marketing initiatives for the new label will be headed by Lionsgate Senior Vice President of Marketing and Research Jean McDowell under the supervision of Lionsgate Chief Marketing Officer Tim Palen. Adam Sorensen, currently Manager of Western Sales at Lionsgate, will oversee Lionsgate Premiere's distribution operations.
Lionsgate Premiere, which will release films from both the Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment labels, will extend the reach of the Company's Motion Picture Group to new audiences and platforms. It will encompass a diverse slate of up to 15 films annually that will be released in theatres as well as across a broad spectrum of digital platforms. Lionsgate Premiere will focus on customizing innovative multiplatform and other release strategies for its slate of films in order to capitalize on the fast-changing motion picture environment, reach affinity audiences with branded content and targeted marketing and enhance the profitability of individual films.
Lionsgate Premiere's slate will kick off this fall with the Chinese hit Dragon Blade, whose all-star cast includes Jackie Chan, Adrien Brody and John Cusack. Next up will be the offbeat zom-com and Sundance Film Festival sensation Cooties, starring Rainn Wilson and Elijah Wood and written by Saw franchise co-creator Leigh Whannell. Other Premiere titles will include the comedy Don Verdean, starring Sam Rockwell, Danny McBride and Will Forte; horror/thriller Knock Knock, from Cabin Fever and Hostel writer/director Eli Roth, starring John Wick's Keanu Reeves, and the action thriller Extraction, featuring Bruce Willis, Kellen Lutz and MMA fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano.
"Lionsgate Premiere embodies the unique attributes of our motion picture business – our diversity, our focus on audiences in our sweet spot and ability to create release strategies attuned to next generation moviegoers," said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger. "We're thrilled to launch our newest label with a wide-ranging slate that features films from horror maestros, star-driven action thrillers as well as a blockbuster that has already conquered the Chinese box office."
"Our new Lionsgate Premiere brand positions us to further expand our portfolio of releases and capitalize on opportunities to deliver an exciting slate of films to next generation audiences," said Mr. Beeks. "We have put in place a dynamic marketing and distribution team that will ensure that the Lionsgate Premiere brand is distinguished by provocative and original storytelling, innovative marketing campaigns and forward-looking multiplatform and other release strategies that maintain our leadership at the cutting edge of industry innovation."
Before his recent promotion, Mr. McDowell served as vice president of research for the studio. Prior to that, he served as vice president of marketing for The Weinstein Company, where he worked on such titles as Django Unchained, Intouchables, Bully and Undefeated. He previously launched the digital marketing and publicity agency Brigade where he oversaw campaigns that included Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene, For Colored Girls, and Page One: Inside the New York Times.
Lionsgate's diverse motion picture operations have grown to encompass more than 30 to 40 theatrical titles released annually by its Lionsgate and Summit labels, recently-formed distribution partnership with CBS Films, Pantelion Films joint venture with Televisa, Codeblack Pictures urban label, Lionsgate UK production and distribution brand, the Company's partnership with specialty distributor Roadside Attractions and its new Lionsgate Premiere label.
Lionsgate is a premier next generation global content leader with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, digital distribution, channel platforms and international distribution and sales. The Company currently has more than 30 television shows on over 20 different networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mad Men and Nurse Jackie, the comedy Anger Management, the broadcast network series Nashville, the syndication success The Wendy Williams Show, the critically-acclaimed hit series Orange is the New Black and new series such as The Royals, Manhattan, Deadbeat, Casual and Chasing Life.
Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as the blockbuster first three installments of The Hunger Games franchise, the first two installments of the Divergent franchise, Now You See Me, John Wick, Warm Bodies, CBS Films/Lionsgate's The DUFF, Roadside Attractions' A Most Wanted Man, Lionsgate/Codeblack Films' Addicted and Pantelion Films' Instructions Not Included, the highest-grossing Spanish-language film ever released in the U.S.
Lionsgate's home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rates. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 16,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company's core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world. www.lionsgate.com
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Peter D. Wilkes