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.
Wunderlich maintains buy rating, boosts price target from $37 to $40.
Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 took in nearly $10 million on its first day in China, well ahead of the previous installment in the franchise, Catching Fire. Comparisons between the two films aren’t entirely like for like, however, as Mockingjay opened on a Sunday and Catching Fire on a Thursday.
Mockingjay has opened on 28 percent of all screens in China, on 2D screens as well as in a 3D version created specially for the China market.
John Wick: Sequel (Great movie, sequel could be as good.)
Mortdecai: Manageable loss (Tries to hide look of shock on my face.)
CC not quite what I hoped for. Basically:
Hunan TV deal: No new details
Alibaba/LGEW deal: Too early to quantify
Stock buybacks: Very light previous 6 months (2 qtrs)
Plans on replacing HG revenue in 2016: No details
With that in mind, I think we're lucky that the stock is trading flat to slightly down so far today.
I bought my original positions between $12-$16, but added more AH @ $27.71. Jon & Co. usually have great CC's, filled with future promise. Shareholders are waiting to hear about the purported deal with Hunan TV for $1.5B. It is possible than Jon is waiting for the CC to announce the deal. Also, we may get more detailed information about future revenue from the Alibaba/LGEW deal.
The main negative will be the decrease in total revenue from last quarter, but that should have been pretty obvious going into the earnings announcement. Still, it will be interesting to hear what spin management puts on revenues, last quarter and forward guidance.
IMO there is about a 67% of the stock climbing Friday. LGF has recently sold off and having a large short position at this price level could be a good thing. Should LGF announce any deals during the CC, we could see a short squeeze. I'll be listening in at 6AM. GLTA longs.