Lionsgate Films

Not to be confused with Robert Altman's company, Lion's Gate Films.
Lionsgate Films
Film division of Lionsgate
Industry Motion pictures
Founded 1962 (1962) in Montreal (as Cinépix Film Properties)
January 12, 1998 (1998-01-12) in Vancouver, British Columbia (as Lions Gate Films)
Founder Frank Giustra
Headquarters Santa Monica, California, United States
Area served
North America
United Kingdom
Germany (coming soon)
Key people
Patrick Wachsberger (Co-Chairman)
Rob Friedman (Co-Chairman)
Parent Lionsgate
Divisions Lionsgate Premiere
Subsidiaries Globalgate Entertainment[1]
Grindstone Entertainment Group
Pantelion Films
Roadside Attractions
Summit Entertainment
Codeblack Films (joint-venture with CodeBlack Enterprises)

Lionsgate Films (formerly known as Cinépix Film Properties) is an American[2] film production/distribution studio and a division of Lions Gate Entertainment. It is the largest and most successful mini-major film studio in North America. It focuses on foreign and independent films and has distributed various commercially successful film series, including The Twilight Saga (partially, via the firm's 2012 acquisition of Twilight distributor Summit Entertainment), The Hunger Games, The Divergent Series, Saw and The Expendables.


Cinépix Film Properties

Cinépix was founded in 1962 by John Dunning and Andre Link and was based in Montreal. Cinépix was a leading Canadian independent motion picture company, releasing both English- and French-language films and making ten to 12 modestly budgeted titles annually. Initially a distribution company, Cinépix's first production was the 1969 erotic drama Valérie, which garnered $1 million in Quebec. The company was also responsible for launching the careers of, among others, David Cronenberg (Shivers) and Ivan Reitman (Meatballs).[3] The company also distributed art-house films like grunge rock documentary Hype, Vincent Gallo's Buffalo '66, and SICK: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist.[4]

From 1989 to 1994, Cinépix was partners with Famous Players in C/FP Distribution, which was renamed Cinépix Film Properties (CFP) after the former bought out the latter's stake in the organization.[5]

By 1997, Cinépix had a New York-based U.S. distribution arm and 56 percent of Ciné-Groupe, an animated film production company.[4]

Lions Gate Films

Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation (LGE) was formed in the summer of 1997 by Frank Giustra, a banker who had dabbled in feature film financing. LGE purchased Cinépix and kept its leadership.[4] Cinépix Film Properties was renamed Lions Gate Films on January 12, 1998. LGE also purchased the Vancouver-based North Shore Studios, which became Lions Gate Studios.[4] In June 1998, LGE purchased International Movie Group, whose film library included Jean-Claude Van Damme's Kickboxer.[4]

Its first major box office success was American Psycho in 2000, which began a trend of producing and distributing films too controversial for the major American studios, including Lolita (1997). Other notable films included Affliction (1998), Gods and Monsters (1998),[4] Dogma (1999), Cube 2: Hypercube (2002), Saw (2004), and the Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), which had been the studio's highest grossing film until the release of The Hunger Games in 2012.[6]

In 2000, Giustra left the firm and it was taken over by Jon Feltheimer and Tom Ortenberg. They decided to focus on the profits of videos and DVDs and began buying struggling firms that controlled large libraries. The two most notable acquisitions were Trimark Holdings (650 titles) in 2000[4] and Artisan Entertainment in 2003.[7] The Trimark purchase also included CinemaNow, a broadband streaming website, where Lionsgate could feature its own movies.[4] These two along with other firms gave Lions Gate the second largest DVD library of any company, which includes Total Recall, Reservoir Dogs, On Golden Pond, Young Guns, Dirty Dancing and It's a Wonderful Life, in some cases via output deals with StudioCanal, ITC/Carlton, and Republic Pictures (the result of prior licensing deals with Lions Gate's home video predecessor Artisan).

Lions Gate occasionally co-produces films with major studios. For example, Lions Gate teamed with Miramax Films for the 2004 sequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and with Paramount Pictures for 2002's Narc and 2004's The Prince & Me. Lions Gate was also a silent partner in 20th Century Fox's 2004 sci-fi film The Day After Tomorrow. And also in 2004, for the first time ever, Lions Gate joined forces with independent rival United Artists in producing Hotel Rwanda.

On August 1, 2005, Lions Gate Entertainment acquired the entire library of Modern Entertainment.[8][9] On October 17, 2005, Lions Gate Entertainment acquired Redbus Film Distribution for $35 million[10][11] and became Lionsgate UK on February 23, 2006.[12][13] Following this, Zygi Kamasa, who co-founded Redbus with Simon Franks, became CEO of Lionsgate UK and Europe.

Lionsgate cut back its annual production by four in February 2009.[14]

The Lionsgate film The Hunger Games grossed $68.3 million when it premiered at the U.S. box office on March 23, 2012. It was the best opening day ever for a non-sequel and the fifth highest of all time. Of that total, $19.7 million was earned via Thursday midnight screenings.[15] In its first weekend, The Hunger Games grossed $152.5 million, making it Lionsgate's highest grossing film after just three days.

On January 13, 2012, Lions Gate Entertainment acquired Summit Entertainment, the studio behind the Twilight and Step Up franchises for $412.5 million.[16] On May 3, 2012, Lionsgate Films made an agreement with CodeBlack Enterprises' CEO Jeff Clanagan to create CodeBlack Films, based at Lionsgate.[17]

On January 16, 2013, Lionsgate announced a low-budget film division to be led by John Sacchi. The division will release films under $2.5 million. Sacchi has recently looked to acquire such films as Rock Bottom Creek (2012) and other independently made films as well.[18] On Thursday, November 22, 2013, Lions Gate released The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In its opening weekend, the movie grossed $158 million at the US box office, surpassing its predecessor, which generated $150 million in its opening weekend.[19] The film had a budget of $130 million, breaking even soon after its opening, and making it profitable. Critics highly praised the film; it received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 89% "certified fresh".[20] The third film in the Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay- Part 1, was released in 2014. The final film of the franchise, Mockingjay - Part 2, was released in 2015.

On April 1, 2015, according to Deadline, Lions Gate announced it has created its new label, Lionsgate Premiere. This new label will handle up to 15 releases a year, targeting young audiences at theaters and digital outlets. The new label, part of the company’s diversification effort, will incorporate Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment titles and then specialize in “innovative multiplatform and other release strategies” to reach “affinity audiences with branded content and targeted marketing.” Marketing and Research SVP Jean McDowell will handle marketing, with distribution to be run by Adam Sorensen, who currently manages Western Sales.[21]

On May 2, 2016, according to Deadline, Lions Gate announced it has teaming with eight international companies to launch the GlobalGate Entertainment consortium. GlobalGate will produce and distribute local-language films in markets around the world. Lionsgate said Monday it has partnered with international entertainment executives Paul Presburger, William Pfeiffer and Clifford Werber to launch GlobalGate.[22]

Lionsgate with NYSE Symbol

Film distributor history


Highest-grossing films

Rank Title Year Domestic gross Notes
1 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 2013 $424,668,047
2 The Hunger Games 2012 $408,010,692
3 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 2014 $337,135,885
4 The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 2012 $292,324,737 Co-distributed by Summit Entertainment.
5 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 2015 $281,723,902
6 The Day After Tomorrow 2004 $186,740,799 Released by 20th Century Fox Film Corporation.
7 Divergent 2014 $150,947,895 Co-distributed by Summit Entertainment.
8 The Divergent Series: Insurgent 2015 $130,179,072 Co-distributed by Summit Entertainment.
9 Fahrenheit 9/11 2004 $119,194,771 Co-distributed by IFC Films and Miramax Films.
10 Now You See Me 2013 $117,723,989 Co-distributed by Summit Entertainment.


  1. Lieberman, David (2016-05-02). "Lionsgate Partners With Execs At Film Initiative Targeting Global Local Markets". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-11-01.
  2. "LGE Company Snapshot". CorporateInformation. Wright Investors Service. Retrieved October 5, 2011.
  3., Philip Beel. "Canuxploitation Article: From Cinépix to Cineplex: The Studios that Dripped Maple Syrup".
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation – Company History". Funding Universe. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  5. 29, Pamela Cuthbert August; 1994. "C/FP buy".
  6. Kilday, Gregg (March 23, 2012). "'Hunger Games' to Pass Michael Moore's 'Fahrenheit 9/11' as Lionsgate's Top-Grossing Movie". The Hollywood Reporter.
  7. Bates, James (October 28, 2003). "Lions Gate to Buy Artisan Entertainment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  8. "" Lions Gate Entertainment acquires movies from Modern Entertainment, Retrieved on June 14, 2012
  9. "Modern Entertainment sells titles to Lions Gate". L.A. Biz. July 14, 2005. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  10. "Strategic Acquisition Enables Lions Gate to Self-Distribute in the UK and Adds to Company's Library and Pipeline". PRNewswire. October 18, 2005.
  11. "Redbus - Sale of Redbus Film Distribution to Lions Gate Entertainment". Slaughter and May. October 17, 2005.
  12. Mitchell, Wendy (February 23, 2006). "Redbus rebranded as Lionsgate UK". Screen Daily.
  13. Dawtrey, Adam (February 23, 2006). "Redbus now Lionsgate". Variety.
  14. "Lions Gate, Relativity ink distribution deal". Seattle Times. April 27, 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2013.
  15. McClintock, Pamela (March 24, 2012). "Box Office Report: 'Hunger Games' Finishes Friday With Massive $68.3 Mil". The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. Fritz, Ben (January 13, 2012). "Lions Gate acquires Summit Entertainment for $412.5 million". Los Angeles Times.
  17. Vlessing, Etan (May 3, 2012). "Lionsgate Pacts With CodeBlack CEO Jeff Clanagan". Hollywood Reporter.
  18. McNary, Dave (January 16, 2013). "Lionsgate taps Sacchi to head even-lower budget films arm". Variety.
  19. Steinberg, Jacob. "Hunger Games is a Huge Success, Yet Lions Gate Sells Off". Seeking Alpha. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
  20. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  21. Lieberman, David (1 April 2015). "Lionsgate Introduces Distribution Unit To Target Next-Gen Audiences".
  22. Lieberman, David (May 2, 2016). "Lionsgate Partners With Execs At Film Initiative Targeting Global Local Markets". Deadine.
  23. 1 2 Vlessing, Etan (August 10, 2011). "Alliance Films Takes Maple Pictures From Lionsgate". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 26, 2011.
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