Lionsgate Film Group Lays Off More Than a Dozen Staffers (Exclusive)

Joe Drake - Getty - H 2020
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Lionsgate motion picture group CEO Joe Drake.

The cuts, numbering in the high teens, go into effect this week.

Lionsgate has laid off a number of employees within the film marketing and distribution team, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. 

According to a source familiar with the matter, some 15 to 20 employees across the entire company were given pink slips, many as part of an ongoing restructuring of the film group's marketing and distribution divisions. The source added that the layoffs had been in the works for months and were not impacted by the shutdowns caused by the growing coronavirus pandemic. No other layoffs are currently planned at the studio, which concludes its fiscal year on March 31. 

Lionsgate's movie studio has seen success with Rian Johnson's Knives Out (which grossed $311 million worldwide, and with a sequel in the works), Jay Roach's Bombshell ($60 million worldwide) and its newest release, the faith-based film I Still Believe (which grossed $10 million earlier this month before theaters shuttered)

The layoffs come as Hollywood grapples with the closure of film and TV productions and movie theaters going dark to prevent the growing spread of COVID-19 amid the global coronavirus pandemic. 

Lionsgate was forced to push back the bows of the upcoming films Antebellum (originally slated for April 24), Run (May 8) and Saw spinoff Spiral (May 15), opting to hold for a theatrical release rather than an early VOD release. I Still Believe and Brahms: The Boy II are receiving early digital releases to cater to the audience at home. 

This is the second round of layoffs under Joe Drake, who was named chairman of the film group in 2018. In January 2019, some 25 employees were let go from the marketing and distribution teams in the company's Santa Monica headquarters amid restructuring of the theatrical marketing division, run by Damon Wolf. 

In its most recent earnings report, the studio's motion picture revenues were $473.9 million, up from $362.3 million a year ago, on strong box office from Knives Out and John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum