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Lionsgate’s Future & the ‘John Wick’ Effect

Lionsgate’s Joe Drake and Keanu Reeves.
Lionsgate’s Joe Drake and Keanu Reeves. Photo: Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Lionsgate
Matthew Belloni
March 26, 2023

It’s gonna be a big and potentially existential year for Lionsgate. MGM sold to Amazon, and I’m still not quite sure what’s happening with STX Entertainment, so Lionsgate is pretty much the last of the so-called “mini-major” studios that release a wide slate of small-budget originals and quasi-franchise fare. Plus, it’s planning to spin off Starz later this year, leaving the film and TV studio as a pure-play production unit, which presumably will be more attractive for a buyer. 

The Lionsgate film division basically bailed on theaters during the pandemic, which led me to kinda write it off. But, as I learned when I had motion picture chairman Joe Drake on my podcast this week, the division pivoted to PVOD, direct sell-through, and selling off movies to streamers, like J.Lo’s Shotgun Wedding, which went to Amazon. Now Lionsgate is back in theaters, and John Wick 4 opened to a series-best $138 million worldwide this weekend.