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21 Jump Street’s Neal Moritz and original MacGyver creator Lee David Zlotoff will produce the MacGyver reimagining for Lionsgate, the studio announced Friday morning during an analyst call. The movie reboot is part of a development partnership with CBS as that network plans its own TV pilot adaptation to come from scribe Paul Downs Colaizzo, with Henry Winkler executive producing.
The development deal will see CBS take the lead on the TV reboot, while Lionsgate oversees the movie adaptation. The original MacGyver series ran for seven seasons and 139 episodes, spanning two TV movies on ABC in 1994.
Lionsgate vice-chairman Michael Burns during the analyst call also downplayed current talks on a possible merger between the studio and Starz. Burns said Lionsgate has traditionally done “disciplined” and accretive strategic acquisitions, and would not compromise on a possible Starz combination.
“Unless we thought something made a great deal of sense to us from an accretive standpoint, and … unless we thought there were synergies, I wouldn’t expect us to do any deal,” he said during the call. Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer also hit back at Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger for indicating in an investors note this week that the studio was “cheap” as well as patient in its acquisitions strategy.
“I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or not,” Feltheimer said of the frugality claim. “But I would say that any transaction that goes forward and any merger with a stock component to it, that transaction has to recognize not only the value of the company that is the target, but also the value that we bring to the party, the value of our synergies.”
“If you think that’s being cheap, or being smart, that’s been part of our strategy in M&A from the beginning,” Feltheimer added. The morning call also addressed the weaker-than-expected box office performance of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, which faced headwinds in Europe from the Paris terrorist attacks fall-out and a crowded theatrical market in China.
“Last Witch Hunter did better in China than Mockingjay 2, very much because of the date and the competition,” Feltheimer told analysts. Looking forward, Patrick Wachsberger, co-chair of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group, was bullish on the upcoming Gods of Egypt theatrical release in the face of speculation that the tentpole could also underperform.
“We have a great financial model on this film, and we’re expecting solid performance,” he said.
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