Lionsgate acquires Summit Entertainment – Twilight franchise to continue?

Lionsgate have announced that they have acquired Summit Entertainment for a combination of cash and stock valued at $412.5 million.

As one of the most successful independent film studios, Lionsgate have delivered diverse fare such as American Psycho, Crash, Warrior and the Saw franchise. Summit Entertainment have made a name for themselves after the success of the Twilight Saga, and have also had hits with The Hurt Locker, Knowing and Red. Talks of a merger between the two began back in 2008, only for negations to collapse.

Not long after the acquisition came a few words from co-chairman and CEO of Lionsgate, Jon Feltheimer, hinting about continuing the Twilight franchise after the release of the fifth film.

Below is a portion of the press release from Lionsgate:

The transaction unites two leading studios with powerful brands and complementary assets, solidifying Lionsgate’s position as the world’s largest and most diversified independent entertainment company. By acquiring Summit, Lionsgate enhances its feature film and home entertainment offerings and further broadens its 13,000 title filmed entertainment library to include such titles as The Twilight Saga, The Hurt Locker and Red. The integration of both Summit’s domestic and international theatrical film operations will significantly enhance Lionsgate’s production and distribution capacity, while also extending the company’s worldwide reach and creating a dominant international sales organization.

The transaction brings together Summit’s Twilight Saga feature film franchise, which has already grossed more than $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office, and Lionsgate’s highly anticipated Hunger Games franchise, which opens on March 23, 2012. Lionsgate will also continue to benefit from its premier television production and distribution business, its array of branded film and television properties, its suite of branded channels and its success as an innovator in creating and distributing content for digital platforms. Both the Lionsgate and Summit labels are expected to continue and be active in the production and distribution of films, although the combined company expects to realize significant synergies through the consolidation of administrative and other costs.”

Talking about the final release in the Twilight Saga, Lionsgate’s CEO Feltheimer, said, “I’m anticipating ‘Breaking Dawn Part 2’ being $700 million-plus in worldwide box office,” This would be a pretty good estimate, since Part 1 has already amassed close to $700 million in worldwide ticket sales. The Twilight Saga comes to an end in November with the release of Breaking Dawn Part 2, yet Feltheimer dropped the suggestion that the franchise could carry on, despite the fact that after Breaking Dawn there are no more of Stephenie Meyer’s books to adapt.

It’s hard for me to imagine a movie that does $700 million-plus doesn’t have ongoing value,” said Feltheimer. “It’s an amazing franchise that they have done a great job of maintaining with absolutely no deterioration. So the simple answer is ‘Boy I hope so.’” Also, when asked about whether Lionsgate intend to bring Twilight to TV screens in some form, Feltheimer answered with, “I would certainly hope so.”

Early in 2011, Summit themselves were also looking to make the move into TV, and it’s believed that they intended to take advantage of Lionsgate’s TV production unit as a way of capitalising on the success of the Twilight franchise.

So, could we be looking at a spin-off Twilight film or TV series? Would you be interested in the Twilight Saga continuing in this way? Or are they just squeezing the cash cow dry?

Source: LA Times (Company Town)

Copyright © 2012 MCM BUZZ – Movies, TV, Comics, Gaming, Anime, Cosplay News & Reviews