Lionsgate Shakes Up Film Division, Unifies Production and Acquisition Teams

Lionsgate’s motion picture group has finished another restructuring under chairman Joe Drake, with the studio now unifying its film production and acquisition groups under one content banner to be led by president Nathan Kahane.

In the new structure, Lionsgate’s Jason Constantine has been named co-president, Motion Picture Group, after serving as president of acquisitions and co-productions and driving acquisitions of the John Wick, Expendables and Saw franchise. Constantine will report to Kahane while overseeing creative strategy in both film production and acquisitions.

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The reorganization follows around a dozen employees in the Motion Picture Group being laid off in April, or around 3 percent of the division, which totals about 400 employees.

The Motion Picture Group overhaul leaves Drake and Kahane in charge of the division. Drake returned to Lionsgate in October 2017 as the studio acquired Good Universe, the production and distribution company he co-founded and ran alongside partner Kahane.

Drake reentered a studio different from the one he left in 2012, as Lionsgate had moved beyond its hit Hunger Games and Twilight franchises to leverage a diversified portfolio of film and TV properties across multiple platforms, especially after acquiring Starz.

Ahead of Cannes, Lionsgate is also bolstering the Motion Picture Group by hiring Charlotte Koh, most recently with Confluential Films, as executive vp, acquisitions and co-productions, to be focused on leading the acquisitions team for the wide-release theatrical slate.

And Lauren Bixby has been promoted to senior vp, acquisitions and co-productions, and will continue to lead the studio’s acquisitions team for multiplatform and streaming titles, as well as overseeing the targeted theatrical business. 

During an earlier 2020 restructure of the Motion Picture Group, Drake emerged to lead content, with Kahane in charge of production and Constantine responsible for global acquisitions. On Friday, Drake said the latest streamlining at the Motion Picture Group aims to improve on how the studio spots, develops, produces and acquires a pipeline of films for distribution of around 50 new movies each year.

“Bringing internal development, acquisitions and co-productions together in one unit enables us to reach the full potential of our philosophy and strategy as a studio,” Drake said in a statement as Lionsgate releases tentpoles like John Wick: Chapter 4 and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, alongside targeted theatrical movies like Sisu and Fall and other product set for multiplatform releases.

Unifying film production and acquisitions at the studio also comes amid a move by Lionsgate to split off its the pay TV and streaming business from its studio operations by the end of the year so that each can be valued higher by investors as pure-play entities and become more attractive as takeover targets.

Wall Street is betting the studio business and its programming library will prove attractive as a possible indie studio acquisition after the planned separation, as digital titans like Apple and Amazon muscle into Hollywood.

As part of the latest reorganization of the Motion Picture Group, Erin Westerman will continue as president of production.

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