Layoffs hit all divisions of Lionsgate

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Lionsgate Entertainment is cutting its work force by 8%, with 17 employees notified Friday of their part in the downsizing.

The layoffs cross all divisions, though the other 24 slots constitute positions unfilled through attrition during the past year.

While the layoffs were not unexpected given the current financial climate, they run counter to Lionsgate's recent business fortunes. While such early-fall releases as "Bangkok Dangerous," "My Best Friend's Girl" and "Disaster Movie" underperformed, the studio's "Saw" franchise, Tyler Perry films and critically lauded TV shows including "Weeds" and "Mad Men" have succeeded in tandem with its expansive purchases of TV distributor Debmar-Mercury, RedBus Film Distributors and Mandate Pictures and the launch of Fear.net.

Lionsgate still aims for 16-18 films annually, most of them wide releases. The company is aiming for revenue in the neighborhood of $1.6 billion this year, with the feature film piece of the pie on pace to crest $500 million for the first time.

Lionsgate's growing home entertainment business has nearly 8% of the market. Its pay movie service with Paramount and MGM is slotted for an October launch.

The publicly traded company delivers its second-quarter earnings today. (partialdiff)
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