Magazine article Variety

Lionsgate Bets on Mix of Genre, Drama

Magazine article Variety

Lionsgate Bets on Mix of Genre, Drama

Article excerpt

LIONSGATE, THE BIGGEST player in the independent market, is coming to AFM with one of its most ambitious slates following what's been a year of mixed performance at best.

Expectations for Lionsgate had been elevated in recent years by the successes of the "Hunger Games" and "Twilight" franchises. "Now You See Me 2" was a winner, but 2016 also saw "Allegiant," "Gods of Egypt," and "Deepwater Horizon" struggle.

Patrick Wachsberger, co-chairman of the studio's motion pictu re group, remains optimistic. The longtime expert in foreign sales admits he's still asked about "The Hunger Games" (with $2.8 billion in worldwide grosses) and "The Twilight Saga" ($3.3 billion).

"I tell people to be patient when they ask about another 'Hunger Games,'" he said. "Independents have a more difficult time. And we've got a pretty strong slate that's very diversified."

Lionsgate is still taking big swings via its model of using pre-sales to reduce its risk. It made a big bet at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival when it won rights to science-fiction thriller "Kin," starring Jack Reynor, James Franco, Zoe Kravitz and Dennis Quaid for about $25 million. It will show footage at AFM.

It is shooting supernatural drama "Down a Dark Hall" in Spain with AnnaSophia Robb and Isabelle Fuhrman; Uma Thurman recently boarded the pic. Lionsgate acquired rights in 2014 with "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer and "Twilight" movie franchise producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen on broad to produce.

Lionsgate is also shooting "Soldado," a follow-up to Denis Villeneuve's "Sicario," to be directed by Italian helmer Stefano Sollima with Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin attached to star. …

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