Lionsgate Expediting PVOD Window for 2023 Theatrical Slate

Lionsgate is looking at shortening the PVOD window for at least some of its 2023 theatrical movies, executives with the Santa Monica, Calif.-based studio-distributor hinted on the company’s Feb. 9 fiscal call.

Instead of waiting 45 days after their box office debut for retail distribution, Lionsgate may cut by half the window for some of its 13 theatrical films’ digital premium VOD rent ($19.99) and premium electronic sellthrough ($24.99) release.

Executives pointed to the airplane hostage drama Plane, co-starring Gerard Butler and Mike Colter, which was released on premium digital channels Feb. 3 — just 21 days after the thriller’s Jan. 13 box office bow. Plane has generated $43 million globally, including $30.7 million across North American screens.

Plane got this year’s film slate off to a great start,” CEO Jon Feltheimer said on the call. “It outperformed expectations at the domestic box office and in nearly every one of our international territories. And by pivoting to a PVOD release date three weeks after its theatrical release, we’re creating an outsized contributor that illustrates our ability to create bespoke business models, new and more efficient marketing approaches, and alternative distribution strategies.” 

Upcoming theatrical releases include Jesus Revolution (Feb. 24); John Wick: Chapter 4 (March 24); Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret (April 28); About My Father (May 26); The Blackening (June 16); Expendables 4 (Sept. 22); The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbird (Nov. 17); and White Bird: A Wonder Story, among others. Executives did not say which of these films, if any, also will get an expedited PVOD release.

For senior management, shortening the time gap between theatrical and retail offers Lionsgate’s increased monetization and marketing opportunities.

“The actual fundamental economics of the motion picture business theatrical release have improved,” Joe Drake, president of the motion picture group, said on the Feb. 9 fiscal call.

Drake contends that as the theatrical slate across Hollywood narrows due to market conditions, studios can be more prescriptive on every dollar of P&A (prints and advertising) spent on moviegoer retention.

“Theatrical films have become scarcer and therefore, they are more valuable,” Drake said, alluding to the fact that releasing titles earlier into premium digital retail channels — at an 80% mark-up on the average movie ticket price — has its advantages.

“Without giving you specific numbers [on PVOD/PEST], what I can tell you is … we’re going into this year very bullish on the trajectory of the business,” he said.

One thought on “Lionsgate Expediting PVOD Window for 2023 Theatrical Slate”

  1. Hey, this movie is doing really well in theaters, so we are gonna put it out on pvod quicker so it kills off the want or need to see this movie in theaters even faster. Using the reasoning that since the movie is doing well in theaters so they need to shorten the time until its on pvod seems to forget the part that there are many people that go to see movies in theaters only because its not available anywhere else. Top Gun Maverick would not have made the theatrical money it did if it had been released on demand 3 weeks after it hit theaters; people kept going back to see it multiple times because it was still in theaters and not on demand. In my opinion, if they increased the length of window instead of decreased, they would often see more theatrical revenue because right now the theaters are starving for good new movies, but if folks know the movie can be rented in just a couple weeks from their own home, they dont need to go to the theaters at all.

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