Lionsgate Films (formerly known as Cinépix Film Properties) is a Canadian-American film production/distribution studio and a division of Lions Gate Entertainment. It is the largest and most successful mini-major film studio in North America. It focuses mainly on foreign and independent films and has distributed various commercially successful film series, including The Twilight Saga (partially), The Hunger Games, Saw and The Expendables.
Cinépix Film Properties
Cinépix Film Properties (CFP) was founded in 1962 by John Dunning and Andre Link and was based in Montreal. CFP was a leading Canadian independent motion picture company releasing both English- and French-language films and making ten to 12 modestly budgeted titles annually and distributed art-house films like grunge rock documentary Hype, Vincent Gallo's offbeat Buffalo 66, and Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist.
By 1997, Cinépix had a New York based U.S. distribution arm and 56 percent of Cine-Groupe, an animated film production company. Lions Gate Entertainment (LGE) purchased Cinépix in 1997 and kept its leadership.
Lions Gate Films
Cinépix Film Properties was renamed to Lions Gate Films on January 12, 1998. Lions Gates' library received International Movie Group, Inc. film library, including Jean-Claude Van Damme's Kickboxer, through LGE's acquisition of the company in June.
Its first major box office success was American Psycho in 2000, which began a trend of producing and distributing films too controversial for the major American studios including Lolita. Other notable films included Affliction, Gods and Monsters, Dogma, Saw, and the Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, which had been the studio's highest grossing film until the release of The Hunger Games in 2012.
In 2000, Giustra left the firm and it was taken over by Jon Feltheimer and Tom Ortenberg. They decided to focus on the profits of videos and DVDs and began buying struggling firms that controlled large libraries. The two most notable acquisitions were Trimark Holdings (650 titles) in 2000 and Artisan Entertainment in 2003. The Trimark purchase also included CinemaNow, a broadband streaming website, where Lionsgate could feature its own movies. These two along with other firms gave Lions Gate the second largest DVD library of any company which includes Total Recall, Reservoir Dogs, On Golden Pond, Super Mario Bros., Young Guns, Dirty Dancing and It's a Wonderful Life, in some cases via output deals with StudioCanal, ITC/Carlton, and Republic Pictures (the result of prior licensing deals with Lions Gate's home video predecessor Artisan).
Very rarely does Lions Gate co-produce films with major studios. For example, Lions Gate teamed with Miramax Films for the 2004 sequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and with Paramount Pictures for 2002's Narc and 2004's The Prince & Me. Lions Gate was also a silent partner in 20th Century Fox's 2004 sci-fi film The Day After Tomorrow. And also in 2004, for the first time ever, Lions Gate joined forces with independent rival United Artists in producing Hotel Rwanda.
On August 1, 2005, Lions Gate Entertainment acquired the entire library of Modern Entertainment. On October 17, 2005, Lions Gate Entertainment acquired Redbus Film Distribution for $35 million and became Lionsgate UK on February 23, 2006.
Lionsgate cut back its slate of films per year by four in February 2009.
The Lionsgate film The Hunger Games grossed $68.3 million when it premiered at the U.S. box office on March 23, 2012. It was the best opening day ever for a non-sequel and the fifth highest of all time. Of that total, $19.7 million was earned via Thursday midnight screenings. In its first weekend, The Hunger Games grossed $152.5 million, making it Lionsgate's highest grossing film after just three days. On January 13, 2012, Lions Gate Entertainment acquired Summit Entertainment, the studio behind the Twilight franchise for $412.5 million. On May 3, 2012, Lionsgate Films pacted with CodeBlack Enterprises' CEO Jeff Clanagan by creating CodeBlack Films. CodeBlack Films will be based at Lionsgate.
On January 16, 2013, Lionsgate announced a low-budget film division that will be led by John Sacchi. The division will release films under $2.5 million. On Thursday, November 22, 2013, Lions Gate released The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In its opening weekend, the movie grossed $158 million at the US box office, surpassing its predecessor which generated $150 million in its opening weekend. The film had a budget of $130 million, breaking even soon after its opening, and making it profitable. Critics highly appraised the film; with it receiving a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 90% "certified fresh", and an IMDB rating of 8.3/10. The next film in the Hunger Games franchise, Mockingjay: Part 1 is scheduled to be released in 2014.