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Block Re-Ups With Lions Gate in Multiyear Deal

2 May, 2002 By: Hive News

Lions Gate Home Entertainment and Acquisitions president Peter Block and two other top executives have signed new multiyear deals in an arrangement the company expects to position it for growth, Lions Gate Entertainment announced today.

The company also re-signed Lions Gate Films Releasing president Tom Ortenberg, Lions Gate Films president of Production Michael Paseornek and named recently hired industry veteran James Keegan to the new position of Chief Administrative Officer.

Under Block and Ron Schwartz, EVP of Home Video Sales, Lions Gate Home Entertainment has achieved strong growth in revenue and profit, quadrupled the revenue of its sell-through business, is coming off its biggest video release ever, O, and is positioned for an even more successful title with the June 11 DVD and home video release of Monster's Ball. Lions Gate Home Entertainment now generates six video releases a month.

Block's acquisition team is also responsible for fulfilling the company's pipeline of product. Recent prebuys and acquisitions included Larry Clark's controversial and acclaimed Bully, Stephen King's Rose Red and Joe Carnahan's Sundance favorite Narc, which is scheduled for release later this year in a joint distribution arrangement between Lions Gate and Paramount Pictures. Block also continues to focus on growing the company's revenue in pay-per- view, VOD and other new media formats.

Under Paseornek and Ortenberg, Lions Gate has had a run of critical and commercial box office successes including Monster's Ball, which earned a Best Actress Academy Award for Halle Berry and has generated nearly $30 million at the North American box office. The title positioned to become Lions Gate's most profitable film ever, the company reported.

Frailty, has earned more than $10 million at the North American box office in its first three weeks of release, Cat's Meow, is performing strongly in limited release and Lantana won eight Australian Academy Awards, all contributing to Lions Gate;s recent success.

“We have set in place our senior management team going forward, and we are now poised to move to a new stage in our company's disciplined growth and evolution," said Lions Gate CEO Jon Feltheimer. "We are very pleased with the momentum of our filmed entertainment divisions and, by retaining the executives responsible for this success and adding a highly respected Chief Administrative Officer, we are positioned to utilize the synergies between our various operating units to create similar results across all of Lions Gate's businesses.”

Effective immediately, the four executives report directly to Feltheimer as members of the company's senior decisionmaking team.

“With the re-signing of two Lions Gate veterans, a top executive gained through the acquisition of Trimark and the additional hiring of a superb outside talent, we have demonstrated that Lions Gate is committed to assembling the best and brightest executives in the industry to lead us to the next level of success,” Feltheimer said. “With vice chairman Michael Burns utilizing his nearly 20 years of entertainment finance experience in working with me to chart our strategic path and a strong, stable team leading our individual businesses, we are confident that we will build on our current momentum."

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