October 11, 2022
Lionsgate Oct. 11 announced it has entered into a new long-term employment agreement with veteran Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chair Joe Drake.
The deal comes as Drake and his team have assembled a pending movie slate that includes John Wick: Chapter Four, starring Keanu Reeves in the latest installment of one of the studio’s premier action franchises; and Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, the prequel to the $3 billion blockbuster box office franchise that Drake helped launch in 2012.
In addition to Now You See Me 3 and Expendables 4, the reimagining of the classic Dirty Dancing, starring and produced by Jennifer Grey, there is Ballerina, which expands the “John Wick” universe with a female-led action thriller starring Knives Out’s Ana de Armas.
Finally, Lionsgate is releasing the Graham King-produced Michael Jackson event film.
In addition to the tentpole releases, under Drake’s leadership Lionsgate has continued to build its multiplatform distribution business and has launched a fast-growing direct-to-stream film division.
“Joe and his team continue to execute our core mission of creating great intellectual properties with a strong slate of tentpole films,” CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement. “He is an entrepreneur with strong talent relationships and a firm grasp of the global theatrical marketplace, and he will continue to be a great partner in helping us move the company forward.”
Drake returned to Lionsgate in October 2017 when it acquired Good Universe, the production and distribution company that he co-founded and ran with partner Nathan Kahane. In 2019, Lionsgate achieved one of its best years ever at the box office led by John Wick: Chapter 3 and Knives Out. During his previous tenure as head of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group from 2007 to 2012, Drake and his team launched the successful “Hunger Games” and “Expendables” franchises, and multiple Oscar winner Precious.
In addition to Good Universe, Drake also launched Mandate Pictures. At Good Universe, he shepherded the company’s overall business and was responsible for building key financial, creative and strategic partnerships. He partnered with Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver’s Point Grey Pictures on a series of critically acclaimed comedy hits, including Neighbors and The Night Before as part of a collaboration that he has continued at Lionsgate. As head of Mandate Pictures from 2004 to 2007, Drake produced the Academy Award-winning Juno, the Golden Globe nominated Hope Springs, 50/50 and the Seth Rogen comedy This Is the End.