It is being confirmed that Lionsgate has put more re-structuring in effect largely in its film marketing and distribution departments, laying off a company-wide number in the high teens according to a source familiar with the matter though I understand this was in the works for some time, and is in no way related to the great COVID-19 recession that is causing furloughs and layoffs nationwide.
From what we understand, no other layoffs are planned. Of the notables, unfortunately, let go today I hear include John Fu, SVP Worldwide Theatrical Marketing and Mike Polydoros, EVP of Distribution Operations and Exhibitor Relations.
The second-round of layoffs at Lionsgate has been since Joe Drake took over as chairman of the film group two years ago, with 25 let go in January 2019, also from the marketing and distribution divisions at the company’s Santa Monica, CA headquarters.
Like many distributors in the U.S. exhibition shutdown, Lionsgate has undated a number of key spring movies including genre pics Antebellum, Run and its Saw reboot Spiral starring Chris Rock and Samuel L. Jackson. The next movie officially dated for Lionsgate is Deon Taylor’s Hilary Swank thriller Fatale.
Lionsgate’s holiday Rian Johnson whodunit hit Knives Out was huge for them, earning $165.3 million stateside and playing wide for a straight 12 weeks in a row. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said during the company’s third-quarter earnings call that a sequel is officially a go with Johnson directing again, with Johnson telling us the follow-up would be another mystery with Daniel Craig’s sleuth Benoit Blanc. Overall, Knives Out grossed $311.6 million worldwide.