This week Lionsgate Entertainment premiered the first trailer to the Hunger Games sequel; Catching Fire. And with that they revealed a new logo and a new mindset.
This is a company that feels it’s ready to take the next step up and join the majors.
Quick recap: In Hollywood there are many studios, but only 6 of them are considered the ‘Majors’. They are Universal, Sony (Columbia), 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Paramount and Disney.
Then there are the mini majors – the companies that straddle the line between the smaller independents and the big players including the likes of The Weinstein Company and Relativity. This also included Summit Entertainment who despite being the studio behind the Twilight saga was floundering before being acquired Lionsgate in 2012 for $412m.
For a long time now Lionsgate has squarely occupied the mini major bracket. For years their focus on art-house, foreign and low budget tiles including a myriad of horror films meant they were a solid if unremarkable mini major. But recently things have changed dramatically. Last year thanks to the success of the final instalment of Twilight and the first instalment of the Hunger Games, Lionsgate powered it way to over $1 billion at the global box office.
The first time any non major has pulled off such a feat.
Now emboldened by its success and the promise of more major hits to come, Lionsgate is rebranding their logo and company ident:
Compared to the old ident the new one although a little less interesting visually is also more in line with the 6 majors it hopes to join. Its corporate look reflects their new corporate ambition. They key factor right now is the fact they have a number of different franchises which appeal to a wide range of people including the following:
The Hunger Games – the latest billion dollar franchise. The first instalment grossed over $400m domestically which is more than any Twilight film or Marvel Studios film to date apart from The Avengers.
Gary Ross inexplicably pulled put of the sequels despite helming a great first movie and now the more visually talented Francis Lawrence is stepping in. Following the footsteps of Warner’s ultra successful Harry Potter mega franchise, Lionsgate is splitting p the final book into two films to extend the lifespan of their series. A smart play.
Last time although killing at the domestic office it only managed to earn $283m internationally. Most mega blockbusters usually have a 30/70 or 40/60 ratio when it comes to domestic vs. international box office. This time Lionsgate will pull out the stops to make sure Catching Fire is a global hit as well as a domestic one.
If they can pull this off and repeat the success it had domestically first time round, then we’ll be looking at a film which will easily clear $1bn globally.
Tyler Perry – Perry is often looked down upon by cineastes and his films are not huge mega-blockbusters but consider the money they cost to make and market and the sheer consistency of his brand’s success. The man understands who his audience is and more importantly understands that they are underserved at the box office. This is a smart business man who has identified a demographic eager to spend and is delivering content that appeals to them. I’m just surprised more content creators haven’t cottoned on to this idea.
Enders Game – It’s now well established that Young Adult literary series are potentially big money spinners when adapted by Hollywood. This tale again focuses on young characters facing their destiny but with a heavy sci-fi angle that was absent from Harry Potter / Twilight and only vaguely touched upon in the Hunger Games. If they can pull this off then Lionsgate could be looking at another $1bn grossing year.
There are still some problems to overcome though. Apart from the revolving door policy that seems to affect its executive ranks, Lionsgate still employs regional distribution in some markets. To fully join the big boys club it needs to own international distribution. They also need to diversify their output.
But if any mini major can make it, it’s most likely going to be Lionsgate.
If they play this year well and grab international by the throat we could very well see the emergence of the 7th major.
Do you think Lionsgate can join the ranks of Fox & Disney? What do you think of their new logo and ident?
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