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Lionsgate Touts 'John Wick' Disc, Digital Sales

6 Feb, 2015

Keanu Reeves actioner rates as mini-major’s third-best EST release

Low-budget action film John Wick, starring Keanu Reeves, has only been on store shelves since Feb. 3, but initial disc sales are promising, which led Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer to give a shout out to the movie’s “over-performing” packaged media results during the Feb. 6 fiscal call.

Wick also ranks as the third-best electronic sellthrough title in Lionsgate history behind Divergent and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

The co-production with Summit Entertainment generated $78 million at the global box office, including $43 million domestically, on a reported production budget of $20 million.

A strong packaged-media result for Wick bodes well for Lionsgate’s home entertainment division, which saw revenue drop 10% to $181 million during the most recent fiscal period. The studio attributed the decline to a reduced release slate both theatrically and at retail.

When asked if Lionsgate would consider streamlining EST access for the Feb. 17 digital release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 in exchange for higher up-front revenue guarantees from select vendors, Feltheimer said that with so many EST platforms on the market it didn’t make economic sense to limit access.

Co-COO Steve Beeks said a strategy of fewer EST platforms might make sense for smaller releases without a theatrical release.

“There's definitely a potential opportunity,” Beeks said.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 streets March 6 on packaged media and transactional VOD. Lionsgate announced that sequel The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2, will launch on Imax 3D screens Nov. 20.

Lionsgate also hinted it would explore addtional sequel or prequel movies for the "Hunger Games" franchise.

"We're very interested in what Warner Bros. is doing with the reintroduction of the "Harry Potter" series. So, we think that things like that are very smart," co-COO Brian Goldsmith said.

Power of Ownership

Netflix show “Orange Is the New Black” may be the subscription streaming pioneer’s most-watched original series, but it’s also a financially accretive property for creator Lionsgate — especially as the SVOD service expands globally.

Lionsgate’s relationship with “Orange” creator Jenji Kohan dates back to her Showtime adult comedy “Weeds.”

As Netflix expands internationally, it seeks exclusive content rights in those regions as a competitive advantage. With “Orange,” Lionsgate updates the show’s business model as Netflix adds territories — changing accessibility (and fees) depending on competitive factors. So while the show is Netflix’s most-popular in new SVOD territories such as France and Germany, in China, Lionsgate distributes the show through a different vendor.

"This is actually serving us very well as we sell our premium shows to a more diverse array of buyers … and the new calculus of multiple window deals with which they are financed, plays to the strength of the business model we've employed from 'Mad Men' to 'Manhattan,'" Feltheimer said.

Lionsgate also licensed “Orange” domestically to Comcast’s Xfinity Store — a strategy Sony Pictures Home Entertainment employed marketing Netflix’s other original hit, “House of Cards,” in home video and abroad.

“I think that's going to happen with a lot of the digital players as they expand their business and seek possibilities not only in the U.S. but outside of it,” Feltheimer said.



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