Lionsgate Entertainment has become a dominant force in the film industry. In the past decade, the studio has backed a handful of monster franchises, including “Mad Men,” “The Hunger Games,” and “Twilight,” each of which have contributed generously to the company’s growth. Things look promising. The only problem is that 62 percent of the studio’s earning’s before deduction of interest, tax and amortization over the next three years will come solely from two franchises, “Twilight” and “Hunger Games,” analysts predict. So what’s next? Once those taps run dry, what’s going to keep them afloat? It’s a large company with plenty of other ‘minor’ franchises, such as “Mad Men” or “Orange Is the New Black,” but still, you must always prepare for the road ahead.
The “Twilight” property, acquired through a 2011 merger with Summit Entertainment, is winding down after taking in $3.3 billion worldwide. The company now faces key tests of whether it can sustain is tremendous momentum. “Ender's Game” drops Nov.1, while the second installation of “The Hunger Games” hits theaters Nov. 22. To keep investors happy, these two franchises must flourish. While the “Hunger Games” series has already planted its stake in the ground, “Ender's Game” has yet to make its debut, leaving its future uncertain.
"I like the management, but they are riding high on ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘Twilight’, and those are hard to replace," Doug Creutz, a Cowen & Co. analyst who downgraded Lionsgate stock to "neutral" in September, told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's hard to see how they grow the film business from here." It’s Creutz who estimates that for the next three years, 62 percent of the company’s EBITA will come from “Hunger Games” and “Twilight.”
To avoid returning to a small time studio producing cheap horror flicks and Tyler Perry movies, Linosgate is also putting a lot of stock in “Divergent,” which comes out in March and stars Shailene Woodley. The film is already being positioned as the next “Hunger Games,” but only time will tell.
Without monster success from “Ender's Game” and “Divergent,” Lionsgate’s future will teeter. The film industry is a brutal one at that, and Lionsgate will have to pull out the big guns to run with the top dogs.