Lionsgate goes after growth areas

Category: Shattered News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: July 16, 2007 | Publication: Video Business | Author: Jennifer Netherby
Publication/Article Link:Video Business

LAS VEGAS—Families and other late adopters are buying more DVDs, driving double-digit sales increases of animated films, TV on DVD and other niche genres, Lionsgate execs said during a Sunday afternoon presentation during its retail summit at the Red Rock Resort Casino here.

Not coincidentally, those are the genres the indie studio focused on as it unveiled its biggest home video slate yet.

President and chief operating officer Steve Beeks said the studio expects to exceed $1 billion in home video revenue in fiscal year 2008 based on the beefed up slate, which includes Oscar hopeful Away From Her, Dane Cook/Jessica Alba romantic comedy Good Luck Chuck, horror mainstay Saw IV and Lionsgate's first Christian release, The Case for Christ.

Beeks said the studio expects first-quarter 2008 revenue to top 2007, when the studio recorded its strongest January ever.

The studio presented internal research showing that consumers older than 50 and younger than 12 spent $1.2 billion more on DVDs last year, while those ages 13 to 49 spent $1.2 billion less on DVDs.

The shift in audience spending has boosted animated sales 67% and TV on DVD 64%, VP of strategic planning and business development Michael Youn said. Educational DVDs, action/adventure movies, musicals, westerns, horror/suspense, fitness and Christian also are growing.

Domestically, the studio expects to see slight declines in DVD in the coming years.

The studio expects overall disc sales to decline a slight 1% through 2011, with new release DVD sales beginning to drop off sharply in 2009, as high-definition disc sales take off. By 2011, the studio forecasts that high-def sales will make up 50% of disc sales.

The indie expects in-store rentals to decline 8% a year each year through 2011. However, online rental growth will make up for some of the decline so that overall rental spending will slide only 1%.

A Blu-ray Disc supporter, Lionsgate is predicting that sales of BD movies will continue to outsell HD DVD by greater margins. In 2008, the studio expects BD sales will be four times that of HD DVD, increasing to 20 times HD DVD by 2009.

By 2011, Lionsgate expects video-on-demand to grow to $3 billion in revenue and digital delivery to grow to $2 billion in revenue, together accounting for 19% of home entertainment revenue.

Executive VP and general manager Ron Schwartz and executive VP of marketing Anne Parducci showed off trailers from the studio's upcoming home video slate, including Marvel DVD premiere Dr. Strange. Lionsgate is debuting its first two Christian films as part of its partnership with publisher Thomas Nelson: The Case for Christ and Max Lucado 3:16. The latter is being released at the same time as a book of the same name, and both will get a big marketing push that includes licenses for apparel and other merchandise.

Lionsgate has expanded its deal with Studio Canal to include more of the French-based distributor’s library in the U.S. Lionsgate and Studio Canal are launching three new DVD lines: the Director Series will include sets of films from such noted filmmakers as Jean Renoir and Luis Bunuel, the Celebrity Series offers stars including Bridget Bardot, and the Meridian Series has noted films such as Diva and Emmannuelle: Special Edition.

The studio’s fourth quarter will include DVD premiere films Stir of Echoes 2: Homecoming starring Rob Lowe and Shattered starring Pierce Brosnan and Maria Bello.

Sportscaster Bob Costas opened Sunday’s presentation, telling jokes about famous sports broadcasting mishaps and talking about Yogi Berra and other sports greats he has met through the years. He drew applause from the crowd for saying that Barry Bonds “is juiced from here to Pluto and back” and laying out a case for proof that Bonds is using steroids.

Guest speaker Avi Arad, chair of Arad Productions, talked up upcoming theatrical release Bratz, touting it as a family-friendly film that would appeal to both parents and tweens.

The studio's slate for the next six months:

Dr. Strange - Aug. 14
Delta Farce - Sept. 4
Away From Her - Sept. 11
Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horrors -Sept. 11
The Condemned - Sept. 18
Bug - Sept. 25
Stir of Echoes 2: Homecoming - Nov. 20
Shattered - Dec. 25
Captivity - TBA
Bratz - TBA

First Quarter 2008

Saw IV
The Eye with Jessica Alba
3:10 to Yuma
Good Luck Chuck