Lionsgate Stock Up Nearly 83% Since Jan. 126 Mar, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Lionsgate has indeed caught lightning in a bottle following the near $153 million domestic box office opening for teen franchise blockbuster The Hunger Games, among other good news.
The movie, starring Oscar-nominated Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) as teen who must fight others in a futuristic survival contest, was the third highest-grossing weekend premiere in history and the highest ever in the month of March.
Lionsgate, which a year ago saw The Lincoln Lawyer finish as its top-grossing theatrical release in 58th place with $58 million, has upcoming theatrical releases The Expendables 2 Aug. 17, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 Nov. 16 and the home entertainment release of The Hunger Games, among others, to drive the bottom line. The studio already has sold more than 5 million discs of Breaking Dawn — Part 1 this year.
Lionsgate last fall acquired the rights to Patrick Ness's award-winning young adult novel trilogy, Chaos Walking.
That’s quite a turnaround from the studio’s most recent fourth quarter, whereby a dearth of theatrical releases in home entertainment contributed to a $1.7 million loss.
Indeed, the Santa Monica, Calif.-based minimajor’s CEO Jon Feltheimer had been predicting (and hoping) to analysts for this kind of reversal of fortune ever since acquiring The Hunger Games movie rights (and Summit Entertainment) in addition to ridding himself of the protracted hostile takeover attempt by Carl Icahn.
Lionsgate’s stock closed March 26 up 4.5% to $15.18 per share. The valuation saw more than 27 million shares trade hands — 13.5 times the normal trading volume — dovetails with March 26’s widely anticipated return of “Mad Men” on AMC. Lionsgate owns “Mad Men,” which has back episodes licensed exclusively to Netflix.
Lionsgate, which is creating an original series for Netflix called “Orange Is the New Black,” also owns “Weeds” “Nurse Jackie,” “Boss” and “Blue Mountain State.” The studio also is producing “Anger Management,” the new sitcom starring Charlie Sheen bowing later this year on FX.