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'Hunger Games,' Summit deal net big bonuses for Lions Gate execs

July 30, 2012|By Ben Fritz
  • Lions Gate senior executives, including CEO Jon Feltheimer and vice chairman Michael Burns, received larger bonuses in the last fiscal year.
Lions Gate senior executives, including CEO Jon Feltheimer and vice chairman… (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)

Executives at Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. received significantly increased bonuses in the last fiscal year, following the Santa Monica studio's successful launch of "The Hunger Games," its acquisition of Summit Entertainment and a more than 100% rise in its stock price.

Details on the compensation of top executives at Lions Gate were disclosed in the company's proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission before its annual meeting, which will be held Sept. 11 in Toronto.

Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer's bonus more than doubled to $5 million, while vice chairman Michael Burns' bonus nearly tripled to $4 million.

Steve Beeks, the co-chief operating officer and home entertainment chief, and Joe Drake, former motion picture group president, also got significant increases in their annual bonuses for the fiscal year that ended March 31.

Drake received a $2-million bonus -- five times as much as he received the year before -- as part of his agreement to leave the company after Lions Gate's $412.5-million purchase of Summit Entertainment in January. According to the proxy filing, Drake's bonus was due to the box-office performance of "The Hunger Games," which grossed $683 million worldwide.

Feltheimer was the only executive whose total compensation decreased: He had received $4.8 million in stock compensation in fiscal 2011 that did not repeat in fiscal 2012. His total compensation was $6.4 million in the last year, down from $7.9 million in fiscal 2011.

Burns' total compensation grew 107% to $5.6 million, while Beeks' increased 133% to $4.5 million. Drake's rose 57% to a total of $3.1 million.

Lions Gate stock jumped 123% from March 31, 2011 to the same date in 2012, in part because of the success of "The Hunger Games" and the exit of former dissident shareholder Carl Icahn, who sold nearly all of his stake last fall.

Although few would dispute that Lions Gate's top executives took home massive paychecks last year, their total compensation did not come close to that of the leaders of larger media conglomerates such as Viacom Inc.and Time Warner Inc.


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