Lionsgate’s Joe Drake: Long ‘John Wick 4’ Theatrical Window to Benefit Home Entertainment

As Hollywood studios such as Lionsgate continue to tweak the theatrical window, including expediting some box office releases (Plane) into retail channels after just 20 days, the pending March 24 release of John Wick: Chapter 4 won’t be among them

Joe Drake

The fourth installment in the Keanu Reeves-starring franchise about a guy who re-entered the hit-man business in 2014 after his puppy beagle was murdered, is projected to be Lionsgate’s No. 1 tentpole release in 2023. As a result, don’t expect the movie to make a beeline to premium electronic sellthrough and PVOD, according to Joe Drake, chair of the motion picture group.

Speaking March 7 at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco, Drake said content windows are really a question of optionality and opportunity.

“We don’t think of it as a one-size-fits-all business model,” he said, adding that enhanced measurement and analysis tools help Lionsgate create so-called “bespoke” windowing models for each movie.

Drake said the business models differ between 2023 releases Plane, Jesus Revolution and John Wick: Chapter 4. While Plane has an abbreviated window, Revolution will have a 45-day window, and Wick 4 will stay in theaters for as long as possible.

“‘Wick’ is already a deeply established brand. … We can access our home entertainment revenue in many different ways, so we’re going to give it the longest theatrical window because that’s the most upside for us,” Drake said.

He said each of those titles will capture the full theatrical marketing value across the home entertainment market place without impacting the box office.

“That’s really important because our pay-TV rate cards are based on the theatrical box office,” Drake said. “The real win here is that we are able to leverage that marketing spend to impact the home entertainment market as well. It’s been a real game-changer for us.”

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Drake contends the motion picture distribution business has been turned on its head in recent years as titles generate differing margins across global markets, including 15% to 30% license increases internationally.

“The makeup of those [distribution] end users has really shifted,” Drake said. Citing the recent release of Shotgun Wedding, starring Jennifer Lopez and Josh Duhamel, Drake said the movie was distributed through traditional theatrical channels overseas, while stateside, the title was exclusively distributed as an original movie on Prime Video.

“The proliferation of platforms and appetites have given us way more opportunities and different ways to put these [distribution channels] together,” Drake said.

“We’re doing more business with streamers than ever before,” the executive said, alluding to the fact he believes streaming services are coveting theatrical titles sooner than rather than later.

“We see exceptional demand for what we do,” Drake said.

Screen Media Acquires Rights to Thriller ‘Maggie Moore(s)’

Screen Media, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company, has announced the acquisition of all North American rights to the true-crime-inspired thriller Maggie Moore(s).

Screen Media is planning a theatrical release in June, followed by a digital release later that month.

Directed by John Slattery and written by Paul Bernbaum, the film reunites Slattery with his Emmy-winning “Mad Men” co-star Jon Hamm (Top Gun: Maverick, Confess, Fletch). Maggie Moore(s) also stars Emmy winner Tina Fey (Date Night, “30 Rock”), Emmy nominee Nick Mohammed (“Ted Lasso”), Micah Stock (Kindred), Mary Holland (Happiest Season) and Happy Anderson (“Mindhunter”).

In the film, when two women with the same name are murdered days apart, small-town police chief Jordan Sanders (Hamm) finds himself wading through an unlikely collection of cheating husbands, lonely hearts, nosy neighbors and contract killers in an effort to put the pieces of the case, and his life, together. The film is inspired by actual events.

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“I’m so proud of Maggie Moore(s) and the entire cast and filmmaking team,” director and producer Slattery said in a statement. “After reading this script, I knew we had the potential for a unique story to be told. The result is a film that captures a lot of today’s true-crime, stranger-than-fiction culture, buoyed by excellent performances. I’m excited to bring this to audiences later this year, and to be working with Screen Media to do so.”  

“We’re excited to work with John and all the immense talent involved with the film,” David Fannon, chief acquisitions and distribution officer at Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, said in a statement. “With an incredible ensemble cast led by Jon Hamm and Tina Fey, the film is a wild, true crime-inspired ride that will keep audiences guessing until the end. It’s exactly the type of original content that Screen Media aspires to bring to our audiences.”

Maggie Moore(s) was produced by Slattery, Vincent Newman, Dan Reardon, Santosh Govindaraju, Nancy Leopardi and Ross Kohn. The film was executive produced by Jim Valdez, Kyle Hayes, Jared Underwood, Slava Vladimirov, Boden Anderson, Andrew C. Robinson, David Gendron, Ali Jazayeri and Viviana Zarragoitia of Three Point Capital, David Fannon, Seth Needle, Conor McAdam, David A. Stern, David Nagelberg, Daniel Grodnik, Jonathan Taylor, Clay Floren, Ryan Fine and Bernbaum.

Slattery made his feature film directorial debut in 2014 with God’s Pocket, starring Academy Award winner Philip Seymour Hoffman and Emmy winner John Turturro. He can currently be seen in Confess Fletch, also starring Hamm, and TV’s “The Good Fight.”

Hamm, best known for his Emmy-winning role on “Mad Men,” can currently be seen in Confess Fletch, Good Omens and Top Gun: Maverick. He is also currently in pre-production on the animated series “Grimsburg.”

Fey, best known for her Emmy-winning role as Liz Lemon on TV’s “30 Rock,” is currently in pre-production for the feature film adaptation of Mean Girls the Musical.

The deal was negotiated by Seth Needle, EVP of global acquisitions and co-productions, on behalf of Screen Media, with CAA Media Finance, The Gersh Agency and WME Independent, on behalf of the filmmakers.

Screen Media recently acquired Tom DeLonge’s directorial debut Monsters of California, Renny Harlin’s action film The Bricklayer starring Aaron Eckhart and Nina Dobrev from Millennium Films, Devil’s Peak starring Academy Award winner Billy Bob Thornton and Emmy winner Robin Wright, and the Bella Thorne-led thriller Saint Clare also starring Ryan Phillippe and Rebecca DeMornay. Recent film releases include The Locksmith starring Ryan Phillippe, Kate Bosworth, and Ving Rhames; Poker Face directed by and starring Academy Award winner Russell Crowe; Kevin Lewis’ follow-up to Willy’s Wonderland, The Accursed starring Alexis Knapp and Mena Suvari; The Enforcer starring Antonio Banderas and Kate Bosworth; The Immaculate Room starring Emile Hirsch, Kate Bosworth and Ashley Greene Khoury; Code Name Banshee starring Antonio Banderas, Jaime King and Tommy Flanagan; and the psychological horror film Monstrous starring Christina Ricci.

Lionsgate Expands Deal With Canada’s Cineplex Pictures for Distribution of 2023 Theatrical Slate

Lionsgate Jan. 4 announced a theatrical distribution agreement with Canada’s Cineplex Pictures for its 2023 theatrical slate. Cineplex Pictures will bring 11 Lionsgate movies to Canadian moviegoers, including first-quarter releases Plane, starring Gerard Butler and Mike Colter; Jesus Revolution starring Kelsey Grammer; and John Wick: Chapter 4, starring Keanu Reeves.

“With Cineplex’s name recognition, distribution prowess and expertise in the Canadian marketplace, our slate is in great hands in Canada,” David Spitz, president of worldwide theatrical distribution, said in a statement.

Cineplex Pictures had theatrical rights for the October release of Prey for the Devil. The 2023 slate also includes Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; About My Father; The Blackening; the untitled Adele Lim comedy; White Bird: A Wonder Storythe follow-up to Wonder; The Expendables 4; the next installment of the “Saw” franchise; and the prequel to the “Hunger Games” franchise, The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

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“Cineplex has a longstanding relationship with Lionsgate and … our expertise in connecting with moviegoers is grounded our understanding of what Canadian film lovers are looking for,” said Ellis Jacob, CEO of Cineplex.

Cineplex Pictures, a division of Cineplex, is also a Canadian distributor of a wide range of genre films, including The Good HouseLambThe Tragedy of Macbeth, Hotel Artemis and Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero.

AFM Panel: Future of Indie Film Distribution Bright, But More Complicated

The future of independent film distribution is bright, but it’s more complicated than in the past, said panelists Nov. 3 at the American Film Market in Los Angeles.

Theatrical distribution of independent films has taken a hit, especially in the wake of the pandemic, but the opportunities in digital distribution are expansive if you’ve got good content, said speakers on the “Forecasting the Future for Independent Film” panel.

“It might be that the theatrical portion is less, but the overall the pie is getting bigger,” said Martin Moszkowicz, chairman of the executive board of Constantin Film.

“Theatrical is going to change,” said David Fannon, EVP of distribution at Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, and president of Screen Media Ventures. “Everything is changing right now. It’s going to be different. Content is going be different — where it’s going to be viewed. But you know when television first came out, that was the death knell to movies, and it wasn’t. Home video was the death knell, and it wasn’t. DVD. Digital. And it hasn’t been. The only damaging thing to movies has been COVID. And that’s the one thing none of us really could expect or plan against. And we’re trying to recover from that. Now people have gotten used to watching things in their homes. The TVs are getting much bigger. It’s changing the viewing experience. But the communal experience to watch a movie and going to a theater, that will not die. It’s still going to be a part of the fabric of our lives.”

“I think indie films will continue to be in theaters,” agreed Ashley Stern, president, Picture Perfect Federation/Federation Entertainment of America. “I think that window may shrink a bit.”

Her company is open to different distribution models, she said.

“We at our company are very open to finding the right home for every single movie,” she said.

Digital distribution, especially ad-supported streaming, has not been fully tapped globally, Fannon said.

“I think Europe and the rest of the world still haven’t really taken on the AVOD opportunity yet,” he said. “I think that’s going to be a real boon to independent filmmakers, the opportunity that AVOD presents.”

While it provides a greatly expanded platform for content, streaming requires indie filmmakers to step up content quality, panelists said.

“There’s going to be an unlimited need for content, but it’s got to be good,” Fannon said. “It’s got to be good content. I hate to say this, but I’ve been a con man for a good part of my career. I used to say, just give me good artwork and a good trailer and I’ve got a movie and I could sell it. But in this new world that’s not going to cut it so much. I need the consumer to stay. I need them to watch it and enjoy it. I need the Rotten Tomatoes score to be high. There’s a lot of other things that are going on that we didn’t have to worry about before. DVD was just, let’s get a good cover together. Put the artwork on the cover and you’re gonna rent DVDs. That’s all you needed. Give me a couple of names in the cast. It was easy. Now it’s going to be hard because you’ve really got to look for quality content.”

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The type of content is changing with streaming as well, with opportunities for longer-form, miniseries-type storytelling offering “the freedom to tell a real story, to go beyond the limits of a 90-minute movie,” he said.

“You’ve got a little more flexibility to really tell the story properly, so I think it’s an abundance of opportunity,” he said.

Panelists said data on content is still hard to get from streaming platforms.

They offer general data trends “but no specifics,” Stern said.

“They’re sharing some more data than they used to,” Moszkowicz said, but he said he thinks data is “overrated.”

“If you talk to people at the streamers and you know them one on one, they will tell you that metrics are way overrated,” he said.

Josh Duhamel Crime Drama ‘Bandit’ Available on Demand and in Theaters

The Redbox Original Film Bandit, starring Josh Duhamel, Elisha Cuthbert and Med Gibson, is available now in theaters and on demand from Quiver Distribution.

The crime drama is directed by Allan Ungar and written by Kraig Wenman, and is based on Robert Knuckle’s best-selling novel The Flying Bandit, the real-life story of Gilbert Galvan Jr., who lived under the name Robert Whiteman when he was dubbed the Flying Bandit in 1987.

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In the film it’s 1985, and Gilbert Galvan Jr (Duhamel), a charming career criminal, escapes from a U.S. prison in Michigan and crosses the border into Canada where he assumes the identity Robert Whiteman. After falling in love with Andrea (Elisha Cuthbert), a caring social worker he can’t provide for, he turns to robbing banks and discovers that he’s exceptionally good at it. Under the guise of a security analyst, Robert begins flying around the country robbing multiple cities in a day, eventually catching the attention of national news outlets that dub him The Flying Bandit. Addicted to the rush and money that provides his double life, Robert eventually turns to loanshark and reputed gangster Tommy Kay (Mel Gibson) for bigger opportunities. But with Robert’s notoriety growing in record time, he is put into the direct sights of a ruthless detective (Nestor Carbonell) who will stop at nothing to bring him down.


‘Haunted Trail’ Traveling to On Demand Sept. 27 From Level 33

The horror film Haunted Trail will be released in theaters Sept. 9 and via on demand Sept. 27 from Level 33 Entertainment.

In the film, directed by Robin Givens and Raven Magwood, a group of college friends visit a local haunted trail. After many screams and a few nervous laughs, an actual killer approaches the group. Scared out of their minds, the friends run through the trail, trying their best to get to the end without being killed. After much of the group is slaughtered, the remaining friends make a horrific discovery about who the killer really is.

The film stars comedians Desi Banks and Reggie Couz, along with Marquise C. Brown, Brook Sill, Magwood, Matt William Knowles, Anna Perdun and Grace Perdun.


Whip: ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Top New Show, ‘Fate: The Winx Saga’ Top Returning Show Anticipated in September

Prime Video’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” was the top anticipated new show, Netflix’s “Fate: The Winx Saga” was the most anticipated returning show, and Warner Bros.’ Don’t Worry Darling was the top anticipated movie on the Whip Media charts for September.

Dubbed the most expensive TV season ever with a production budget of $715 million, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” is a fantasy series based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien and is set thousands of years before The Hobbit. The series debuted Sept. 1.

“Fate: The Winx Saga,” season two of which is set to start streaming on Netflix Sept. 16, is a teen drama based on the Nickelodeon animated series. The live-action series follows a group of fairies at a boarding school.

Directed by Olivia Wilde, the psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling stars Harry Styles and Florence Pugh. It follows a 1950s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app with 21 million global users, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

Most Anticipated New Shows for September:

  1. “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” (Prime Video) — Sept. 1
  2. “Andor” (Disney+) — Sept. 21
  3. “Monarch” (Fox) — Sept. 11
  4. “Quantum Leap” (2022) (NBC) — Sept. 19
  5. “The Rookie: Feds” (ABC) — Sept. 27


Most Anticipated Returning Shows for September:

  1. “Fate: The Winx Saga” (Netflix) — Sept. 16
  2. “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) — Sept. 14
  3. “Cobra Kai” (Netflix) — Sept. 9
  4. “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” (Disney+) — Sept. 28
  5. “Abbott Elementary” (ABC) — Sept. 21


Most Anticipated Movies for September:

  1. Don’t Worry Darling — Sept. 23
  2. Hocus Pocus 2 — Sept. 30
  3. Blonde — Sept. 16
  4. Bros — Sept. 30
  5. The Woman King — Sept. 16
  6. Pinocchio — Sept. 8
  7. Do Revenge — Sept. 16
  8. Smile — Sept. 30
  9. The Greatest Beer Run Ever — Sept. 30
  10. See How They Run — Sept. 16

Gravitas Ventures Nabs North American Rights to Horror Film ‘The Inhabitant’

Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to distribute the horror film The Inhabitant.

Gravitas will release the film in more than 100 theaters Oct. 7. Los Angeles-based sales company Highland Film Group is handling international rights with sales being launched at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Directed by Jerren Lauder (Stay Out of the Attic) and written by Kevin Bachar, the film stars Odessa A’zion, Leslie Bibb, Dermot Mulroney and Lizze Broadway.

The film follows Tara (A’zion), who is like any other teenage girl, just surviving high school, yet her father Ben (Mulroney) and mother Emily (Bibb) seem strangely distant. Amidst a nearby spree of gruesome axe murders, Tara has sightings of terrifying entities, forcing her to question her own sanity and shocking ancestry. After a visit to her aunt in a mental asylum and a night in Lizzie Borden’s actual home, Tara realizes she is inextricably tied to the horrifying curse that has plagued her bloodline for almost a century. As victims pile up and the police close in, Tara is left with no choice but to face her own demons.

“An extraordinary cast and passionate filmmakers came together for Kevin’s chilling script and sparks flew,” producer Leone Marucci said in a statement. “Then our goal was to partner with distributors who were as excited about the film as we were. We found that in Gravitas Ventures and Highland Film Group.”

“This creative team has crafted an incredible horror movie with The Inhabitant, which is not only effective and scary, but constantly engaging and entertaining,” Brett Rogalsky, manager of acquisitions at Gravitas Ventures, said in a statement. “Movies like this are the kind that stay with you long after the credits roll.”

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“We are thrilled to be partnering with the outstanding team at Gravitas Ventures on The Inhabitant,” Highland Film Group CEO Arianne Fraser said in a statement.

“With an overriding theme of female empowerment coupled with a thoroughly modern approach, The Inhabitant will definitely appeal to the younger generation. This is an intense horror film full of suspense and intrigue and is a great addition to our TIFF slate,” added Highland Film Group COO Delphine Perrier.

Guy Pearce Thriller ‘The Infernal Machine’ Due on Digital and in Theaters Sept. 23

The psychological thriller The Infernal Machine will be released in theaters and on digital Sept. 23 from Paramount Pictures.

Based on “The Hilly Earth Society” written by Louis Kornfeld and produced by Jonathan Mitchel for The Truth Podcast, the film follows Bruce Cogburn (Guy Pearce), a reclusive and controversial author of the famed book The Infernal Machine, who is drawn out of hiding when he begins to receive endless letters from an obsessive fan. What ensues is a dangerous labyrinth as Bruce searches for the person behind the cryptic messages, forcing him to confront his past and ultimately reveal the truth behind The Infernal Machine.

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Well Go USA to Bow Korean Sci-fi Actioner ‘Alienoid’ in Theaters Aug. 26

The Korean sci-fi actioner Alienoid will be released in theaters Aug. 26 by Well Go USA Entertainment.

Directed by Choi Dong-hoon and starring Ryu Jun-Yeol, Kim Woo-bin and Kim Tae-ri, the feature is the first in a planned series of two epic sci-fi action time-warpers. A tale of two eras, Alienoid follows two Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) gurus seeking a legendary, time-bending blade as they unexpectedly cross paths with modern-era people hunting down a dangerous alien concealed inside a human’s body.

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