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'Red,' 'Step Up' in development as TV shows at Lions Gate

May 31, 2012|By Ben Fritz
  • John Malkovich, left, Bruce Willis and Mary Louise Parker in a scene from "Red."
John Malkovich, left, Bruce Willis and Mary Louise Parker in a scene from… (Frank Masi / Summit Entertainment )

Lions Gate is developing the films"Red" and "Step Up," two of the most successful titles that came with its purchase of Summit Entertainment, into television shows.

Chief Executive Jon Feltheimer revealed the news on a conference call with analysts Thursday morning. The titles are the first examples of Lions Gate partnering its television production division with properties from Summit, which did not have its own TV unit.

"Red," an action film about a team of aging secret agents played by Bruce Willis, John Malkovich and Helen Mirren, among others, also has a movie sequel in development. A fourth entry in the "Step Up" teen dancing series will hit theaters in August.

Feltheimer previously said that he hoped Lions Gate could turn Summit's teen vampire blockbuster franchise "Twilight" into a TV show as well, but the company has not yet taken any steps to do so, as it is focused on the fifth and final film that hits theaters in November.

While Lions Gate's financial results released late Wednesday initially disappointed investors, sending the stock down, shares were up 3% on Thursday after the call, at $13.25.

That was driven in part by Feltheimer's promise that his company expected to generate at least $900 million in so-called EBITDA -- earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- over the next three years.

Those future earnings are expected to come from "The Hunger Games," the blockbuster box-office hit whose profits have yet to show up on Lions Gate's quarterly reports. About 90% of the returns from the March film -- first in a series of "Hunger Games" titles, which has grossed $643 million worldwide -- have yet to accrue to Lions Gate's bottom line. The first sequel hits theaters in November 2013.

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