Lionsgate: ‘Breaking Dawn — Part 1’ Disc Sales to Rival ‘Eclipse’10 Feb, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Minimajor looks to maintain separate Universal, Fox distribution for Summit discs going forward
With the Feb. 10 midnight release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1 taking place at Walmart, Target and other retail outlets, new Summit Entertainment owner Liongate is expecting disc sales of the fourth installment of the popular teen vampire franchise to match packaged media sales of the third film, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Speaking Feb. 10 in an analysts’ call to discuss third-quarter fiscal results, Steve Beeks, president and co-COO of Lionsgate, said the earlier packaged media release (compared to March time frame for the previous titles) was intended to capitalize on Valentine’s Day. Beeks wouldn’t divulge how many Breaking Dawn discs were shipped for the launch, but Eclipse sold about 3 million units (Blu-ray and DVD) in the first 48 hours of release, according to media reports.
“It’s positioned to perform at a level that’s fairly close, if not right on the results of Eclipse,” Beeks said.
Indeed, Eclipse eventually sold about 7.1 million discs — 400,000 discs less than The Twilight Saga: New Moon with more than 7.5 million discs sold, according to The-Numbers.com. Both titles paled in comparison to the original film, Twilight, which sold more than 10.7 million discs.
Beeks said Lionsgate, which acquired Summit in January for $412.5 million, still is familiarizing itself with Summit’s distribution in place for “Twilight” movies with Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Lionsgate distributes select titles through 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
“In the future we will look to consolidate our operations through one logistics system and one vendor,” Beeks said. “Until that happens we are operating two separate slates under both the Lionsgate and Summit labels and we will distribute each through those existing vendor relationships for the time being.”
He said that meant Lionsgate would be distributing Summit titles through Universal for “some time.” When asked if a single vendor system would be in place for the Breaking Dawn — Part 2 disc release in 2013, Beeks remained non-committal.
“It remains to be seen. We’re just getting familiar with Universal’s system,” Beeks said. “I think it is something we are going to determine over time.”
The executive remains optimistic about home entertainment, which he attributed in part to a 1% increase in second-half 2011 revenue due primarily to Blu-ray Disc sales. Beeks said the packaged media conversion rates on theatrical titles between Lionsgate and Summit were similar and strong going forward.
“With VOD conversions up and Internet VOD conversions coming up dramatically and all of the new SVOD providers … we’re very bullish on the home entertainment business overall,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lionsgate is creating Netflix’s second original scripted series (after “Lilyhammer”), “Orange is the New Black,” a one-hour comedic drama from “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohan. The show begins streaming in early 2013.
“We’re big Netflix fans. … We’ve done extremely well with them,” said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer. “We love that they were there to create a whole new revenue stream for serialized shows like ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Weeds.’ But there’s a whole new group of [digital] buyers out there not only in the U.S., but internationally. That’s what leads me to believe that competition obviously and demand creates upward pricing.”