Interview was short and predictable. Michael was asked if Lionsgate is disappointed with Insurgent. (Do I really have to tell you his answer?) They also reviewed deals with Hunan TV & Alibaba. Michael talked about the importance of China and briefly mentioned a recent discussion with Jack Ma. (No details but definitely a tease.)
Apparently, John Malone's stock swap has been approved and will proceed very soon. Michael talked about Malone being LGF's top pick.
Not a lot of new things discussed, yet the stock spiked during the interview. (See the 2nd spike on the chart.)
Actually, game shows are one of the most profitable programs, along with talk shows, news programs and reality shows.
If you read the article, Family Feud is tops with women 25-54. Senior citizens might watch, but they're not the only ones.
For years, the highest rated game shows have been Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, in that order. A lot of their success can be attributed to their familiar hosts, Pat Sajak (and to a certain degree, Vanna White) and Alex Trebek, whose popularity is also aided by SNL‘s “Celebrity Jeopardy” sketches, despite his not appearing in them. But another mocked-on-SNL game show host is coming for their crown, and he’s got a good chance of catching up to them. That would be Steve Harvey and Family Feud, which may soon become America’s most popular game show.
According to Nielsen estimates for the week ending Feb. 22, Family Feud continued its scorching season by matching its all-time high household rating (7.2), first set three weeks earlier. The Steve Harvey-hosted game show, distributed by Debmar-Mercury and from producer FremantleMedia North America, was up 11% vs. the previous week and 26% higher than the same frame a year ago.
Season-to-date, Family Feud is averaging a 6.2 household rating and is up in that category and most other demos by about 20%. For the first time, it also ranks as syndication’s top-rated game show in women 25-54, moving ahead of Wheel of Fortune.
Lionsgate chairman Jon Feltheimer will be at Wednesday’s press event in China along with co-COO Brian Goldsmith.
Lionsgate to Get $375 Million in Production Financing From China’s Hunan TV - Variety
China’s powerhouse broadcaster Hunan TV plans to give Lionsgate $375 million in production funding, in a deal that would represent the largest Chinese investment in Hollywood filmmaking to date.
Sources close to the transaction said the agreement will be formalized next week and announced Wednesday in a press conference in Changsha.
Hunan TV and Broadcast Intermediary, one of China’s largest and most forward-looking broadcasters, first signaled talks between the two companies in January in a regulatory filing with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
The deal is expected to see Hunan TV provide a quarter of the $1.5 billion film production costs incurred by Lionsgate Films over the next three years. The Santa Monica-based studio’s major franchises, including “Hunger Games” and “Divergent,” are likely to be excluded from the pact.
The biggest Chinese investment to date in U.S. entertainment was in the exhibition business with Dalian Wanda’s 2012 acquisition of AMC Entertainment for $2.6 billion.
Hunan TV is China’s top provincial broadcaster, and has a nearly nationwide footprint thanks to satellite distribution. It grew to become the second most watched station in the country, after CCTV1, due to the success of its “Pop Idol” adaptation, “Super Girl” and a Chinese version of “Ugly Betty.”
The Hunan TV-Lionsgate deal includes cooperation between the two firms for Chinese co-productions and distribution of Hunan’s Chinese-language films outside the U.S.
“It’s hard putting companies together,” he said. “There has to be really good reasons. You have to think these things through… The conversations we have with Lionsgate will cast some light on what the extent of the relationship can or should be.”
Chris Albrecht seems to agree with you:
"Starz CEO Calls Lionsgate ‘Kissing Cousins,’ Talks Potential Merger"
Wall Street and Hollywood have been buzzing about the possibility of a merger between Starz and Lionsgate ever since the companies swapped stock last February, making them, in the words of Starz CEO Chris Albrecht,” kissing cousins.”
Despite coining the incestuously-charged metaphor, the pay chief stressed at the Deutsche Bank media, internet, and telecom conference on Tuesday that the two players are still in the get-to-know-you phase of their courtship. He did acknowledge that a union might ultimately make sense.
“There are a lot of potential conversations for us to have,” said Albrecht, saying that the companies will go to the table asking, “Are there things that we’re doing that we can do better together?”
The stock swap is still subject to regulatory approval. As part of the deal, Starz’s chief investor John Malone is joining Lionsgate’s board of directors, a move that only intensified speculation that the companies might become further entangled. The Starz stock used in the deal was held by Malone and his affiliates.
There is certainly some synergistic appeal to a marriage. Lionsgate offers Starz top-line movies and programming at a time when it’s trying to bulk up its slate of exclusive offerings. The cable channel has nearly doubled the amount of original programming it airs in recent years, fielding shows like the pirate drama “Black Sails” and the bestselling book adaptation “Outlander.”
At the same time, Starz grants Lionsgate entrée to the world of premium cable. With the studio#$%$ “Hunger Games” franchise winding down, it needs to find new revenue streams to compensate for the loss of Katniss Everdeen and company.
“They’re at a point, like Starz, where it’s time to think about what’s next,” said Albrecht.
Despite the fact that Starz and Lionsgate are growing more closely aligned, Albrecht argued that mergers can’t be taken lightly.
Erik Feig, Jim Miller and James Myers are overseeing the project for Lionsgate.
Lionsgate has picked up the rights to Dust, a cult tabletop game and graphic novel in a package that Rawson Marshall Thurber is attached to direct.
Dan Lin, one of the producers behind the Lego film franchise, is on board to produce.
Dust is set in an alternate-history, steampunk-themed version of the 1940s where World War II never ended and the world is divided into three blocs: the Allies, comprised of the U.S., the Commonwealth, and the French colonies; the Axis, not led by Hitler, who was successfully assassinated in Operation Valkerie; and the SSU, a union of the USSR and China. In this landscape the discovery of new ore leads to the creation of combat robots.
The game and graphic novel hail from Paolo Parente, an Italian fantasy illustrator who worked on role-playing games Mutant Chronicles and Magic: The Gathering before turning to create his own game, which attracts model-makers and cosplayers. It even has its own convention, Dust World Expo, which will be held March 27-29 in Arizona.
The project is seemingly a departure for Thurber, who until now has been known more for his broad hit comedies such as Dodgeball and We’re the Millers.
But Thurber is more fanboy than folks realize. For years he has been taking on assignments that have comic roots, such as an adaptation of comic book fantasy Elfquest for Warners and an adaptation of Gerard Way’s superhero comic The Umbrella Academy for Universal and Dark Horse.
Thurber came across Dust as a graphic novel when visiting Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics, subsequently discovering the game and its world. He sought out Parente, optioned the game himself and began developing his own take on it.
“It’s a cool spin on a genre that I’ve loved for a long time and it opens up narrative avenues that are just thrilling,” said Thurber. “It’s all my 9-year-old fantasies wrapped in one thing, a World War II mashup.”
The project is now out to writers.
Lionsgate has partnered with Disney's Buena Vista International to release The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 in Russia and several former Soviet countries in Eastern Europe.
The fourth and final installment of the Hunger Games franchise will hit theaters in the region on Nov. 19 as part of the movie's day-and-date global rollout. The Hunger Games deal sidesteps Lionsgate's continuing theatrical output deals with West Company and Central Partnership for the rest of Lionsgate and its Summit subsidiary's theatrical slates in Russia and the CIS.
"Mockingjay 2 is the next thrilling chapter of an incredible global franchise, and we look forward to creating a singular motion picture event for Russian audiences,” said David Kornblum, Buena Vista's international distribution head, in a statement on Thursday.
The Lionsgate Sports Arena has a nice sound to it, but that won't happen. With Malone on the board, maybe LGF can produce the T.V. movie: The Greg Maddux Story. David Justice? Chipper Jones?
Zacks reissued their neutral rating on shares of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (NYSE:LGF) in a research note released on Thursday morning. They currently have a $35.00 target price on the stock.
Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at B. Riley reiterated a buy rating and set a $40.00 price target on shares of Lions Gate EntertainmentCorp. in a research note on Thursday, February 12th. Separately, analysts at Wunderlich raised their price target on shares of Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. from $37.00 to $40.00 and gave the company a buy rating in a research note on Monday, February 9th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. currently has an average rating of Buy and a consensus price target of $38.89.
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Starz (STRZA - Get Report) CEO Chris Albrecht spoke of controlling shareholder and media mogul John Malone's growing appreciation for content on Wednesday while hinting on a conference call with investors that a merger with Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF - Get Report) makes sense for both companies.
"The people who have reported that (Malone) has a growing and new appreciation for content are probably seeing some of the same things that I'm seeing," Albrecht said. "I think that as distribution aligns, it's important for content makers to align -- whether that means companies merge or whether they partner."
On Wednesday, shares of Starz rose 5.1% to $33.20, extending their advance this year to 12%.
Lions Gate became a stakeholder in Starz earlier this month when the movie and television production house exchanged shares with Malone, who is chairman of cable company Liberty Global. The tie-up gives Albrecht an opportunity to talk to Lions Gate executives about ways to share in production and distribution, initiatives that could benefit both companies, he said.
Lions Gate agreed to exchange 3.43% of its stock for 4.51% of Starz shares, held by Malone, whose stake in Starz drops to 6% from 11%.
"It is certainly possible that combining our efforts could achieve a better result than each of us acting individually," Albrecht said.
Albrecht stressed that it was too soon to predict what specific actions will follow as a result of the companies' interlocking finances. The parameters of any future deal, he said, will be determined in large part by Malone, who will join Lions Gate's board.
"I do think that John Malone has an idea in his head and did not do this just because he didn't have anything else to do," Albrecht said.
The companies have collaborated on past projects and distribution deals, but Albrecht told analysts that since the share exchange was announced, the two companies have been talking more frequently. Lions Gate has been a supplier of Starz' original programming and films to the premium pay TV networks of Starz for many years.
“A ‘Super Show’ episode combines one part of interactive playable content with one part of scripted television style content. Both pieces, when combined together, are what make an actual Super Show ‘episode.’ As we’ve been developing the series, we’re using both mediums in concert to deliver our story. Developing both aspects simultaneously is key to utilizing this new medium. Both parts are first-class citizens during the writing and design process. It’s not an interactive series with a show, or a TV show with a game, but a story integrated in a way that only Telltale can do. For us it’s a very natural evolution of the interactive storytelling expertise we’ve pioneered.”
Hopefully Lionsgate and Telltale have learned a thing or two from companies that have tried to combine game and TV show in the past. There was the SyFy series Defiance, which is still ongoing but the MMO component recently went free-to-play; the Halo TV series that is in some sort of development limbo; and Remedy Entertainment’s Quantum Break, which we still don’t know what to make of. Needless to say, creating a unified universe across several different media can be tricky, and requires full dedication from fans.
But, if anyone can do it it’s Telltale. Their games are more interactive TV shows than games anyway, and their storytelling skills are unrivaled in the video game space. And now with a sizeable backing from Lionsgate, they should have the resources to expand to bigger and better ideas.
When Telltale Games first announced development on a new IP earlier this year, fans were excited. They felt that The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us developer had earned enough clout working with established IPs that Telltale deserved a shot at delivering something original. However, we never expected that their new IP would be something this revolutionary and ambitious.
Earlier today, film studio Lionsgate (The Hunger Games) announced a partnership with Telltale Games on a “super show” that will transcend the boundaries of interactive entertainment. This “new IP” will encompass both game and TV show, with narrative threads drawn between both.
While details regarding this new IP are still under wraps, we do know that Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer will be joining Telltale Games’ Board of Directors along with, strangely, Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitello. At the same time, Lionsgate has reportedly made a “significant investment” in the Game of Thrones developer.
So, although the focus for now is on this new IP/super show, Lionsgate and Telltale reportedly plan on developing more new games in the future, in addition to adapting existing properties. It seems practically a given that Telltale will adapt Lionsgate properties, most especially The Hunger Games, but the two studios have nothing to announce yet. That being said, the prospect of going through one of the earlier Hunger Games events could make for an exciting interactive experience.
A few days ago, during a Scottrade Daily Market report, I asked John Jagerson of Learning Markets about his thoughts on the LGF/STRZA stock swap. His impression was LGF + STRZA = Netflix. At this point, I think a merger is more likely than a LGF buyout. After all, DWA has received two buyout offers while LGF has received none.
On another note, SNE announced during each of their last two ER's that most of it's profit came from entertainment. I couldn't help but think why not buy LGF to enhance their profit? I'm not holding my breath on that one, but with the attention from the Chinese for a piece of LGF, I thought it would be ironic to have a Japanese company swoop in and steal us away. I'll settle for the merger.
February 15, 2015
Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 has bested its predecessors in China with a $31.4M estimated gross after eight days. That’s a solid increase on the previous installments in the Middle Kingdom and bodes well for the final episode due later this year, though a China date is not yet set for Part 2. Both 2012’s The Hunger Games and its 2013 sequel Catching Fire did about $28M in China in their lifetimes. Catching Fire, however, was released head-to-head with Gravity, which sucked some air out of its business at the time.
I hear Mockingjay could go as high as $40M in China. Sunday was a work day in anticipation of the Spring Festival and vacations that kick off later this week, and local films are set to flood the market. It’s estimated the film did about $6M on Saturday and $2M on Sunday.
The penultimate film in the trilogy is playing in a 3D version specially created for China, always beneficial to the bottom line in this market. Stars also created exclusive materials for Chinese fans, which has also proved to entice audiences. Initially set to release in China back in November, the movie was pushed by local authorities as they sought to ensure box office share before the close of 2014.
Mockingjay‘s worldwide cume should hit $750M in the next few days; currently it’s $747.1M. It’s expected that the international total will end up between $420M and $430M, which will be a bit shy of Catching Fire’s $440M. However, accounting for currency fluctuations, Mockingjay should still come out on top.
Wunderlich's price target is based on 3-year forward EBIDTA of $950M.