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Layoff season isn’t over at Lionsgate’s film division.
The company, based in Vancouver and headquartered in Santa Monica, laid off a dozen employees in its Motion Picture Group, a source confirms to The Hollywood Reporter. The cuts impact about 3 percent of the division, which totals about 400 employees.
The pink slips hit the group shortly after the March 24 global bow of John Wick: Chapter 4, the company’s flagship Keanu Reeves-starring franchise, which has nabbed $306 million so far, as well as the January release of Gerard Butler thriller Plane, which has grossed $52 million worldwide. (The company also distributed Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre, co-financed by Miramax and STX Entertainment, stateside, where it grossed $6.5 million domestically in March.)
The layoffs are the latest in a series of smaller cuts made at the Jon Feltheimer-run Lionsgate over the past six months. “In terms of overall cost and corporate overhead, I would just note that we have quietly reduced our workforce by approximately 150 full-time employees or approximately 10 percent of our workforce,” CFO Jimmy Barge told investors during a Feb. 9 earnings call. “We’ve done this through restructurings and managing open positions.” The company had 1,448 employees as of last May, per its annual report.
Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group has a full slate, and is readying new installments in the Saw, Expendables and Dirty Dancing film franchises as well as prepping a November release for prequel Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Last fall, Lionsgate reupped several executives to new deals, including its film division chief Joe Drake, who inked a new long-term agreement.
Significant layoffs have hit multiple entertainment companies in recent months — notably rolling layoffs at Warner Bros. Discovery last year and now a similar plan in place at Disney — as studios balance their content spend with new belt-tightening scrutiny from Wall Street investors with an eye on the bottom line.
Barge, on the February earnings call, said the cuts were part of a plan to “manage cost across the board including programming spend, marketing” as well as general and administrative expenses heading into 2024. The moves are also being made ahead of a long planned spinoff of Lionsgate’s premium cable brand Starz into a stand-alone company, which executives hope will unlock more shareholder value for investors once they’re separated. The new target timetable for that separation is September of this year.
Lionsgate stock, which has fallen significantly since 2021, has been on an upswing in the early part of this year to close at $11.47 a share as of April 13.
Deadline first reported Thursday’s film cuts.
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