Lionsgate Names Joe Drake Co-Chair of Motion Picture Group

Courtesy of Lionsgate
Joe Drake

Drake returns to the studio after serving as co-COO of the Motion Picture Group until founding Good Universe in 2012.

Joe Drake has returned to Lionsgate, this time as co-chair of the Motion Picture Group.

He will serve alongside Patrick Wachsberger, who recently signed a new agreement with the studio to run Lionsgate's worldwide motion picture operations. Drake replaces Rob Friedman as co-chairman of the Motion Picture Group, who left Lionsgate a year ago.

"Joe is one of the architects of our portfolio film strategy and a perfect fit for our culture," Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and vice-chairman Michael Burns said Thursday in a statement. "With Joe joining an incredibly talented group of executives, we've assembled a team with unparalleled knowledge of the global film marketplace, while at the same time strengthening our relationships with best-in-class talent and continuing the diversification of our content platform."

Good Universe co-founder and CEO Nathan Kahane will continue to head the company under Lionsgate ownership. He will oversee key talent partnerships, including Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg and James Weaver’s Point Grey Pictures and horror maven Fede Alvarez’s Bad Hombre (Don’t Breathe, Evil Dead).

Drake returns to a studio different from the one he left in 2012. Lionsgate has moved beyond its hit Hunger Games and Twilight franchises to leverage the studio's large and diversified portfolio of film and TV properties across multiple platforms, especially in the wake of the Starz acquisition, and to create new incremental business.

Before co-founding Good Universe in 2012, Drake served as Lionsgate co-COO and Motion Picture Group president for five years. While at Lionsgate, Drake launched the Hunger Games and Expendables franchises before leaving in the wake of the studio acquiring Summit Entertainment.

At Good Universe, Drake and Kahane collaborated with Point Grey on a series of box-office performers like Neighbors, The Night Before, The Disaster Artist and upcoming comedy Flarsky, which stars Charlize Theron and Rogen and is produced by Point Grey for Lionsgate. 

Drake and Kahane’s partnership began in 2003, when they founded Mandate Pictures. Just as they were founding that company, they also partnered with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert on their Ghost House Pictures production label.

In 2007, the partners sold Mandate to Lionsgate, where they continued to operate it as an autonomous brand. As president of Mandate, Kahane oversaw hits like the Golden Globe-nominated and Independent Spirit Award-winning comedy 50/50.

Drake then took on the executive role at Lionsgate, overseeing its theatrical production, distribution, marketing, acquisition and international theatrical operations, where he developed The Hunger Games and other films.

The deal to bring Drake back to Lionsgate, along with Good Universe, was negotiated by Sheppard Mullin, Richter & Hampton and Lionsgate co-COO Brian Goldsmith and general counsel and chief strategic officer Wayne Levin for Lionsgate. It was negotiated by O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Good Universe’s Michael Meyer and Jeremy Needleman for Good Universe.