Lionsgate announced Wednesday that it has signed Jonathan Levine, director of the new comedy “Long Shot,” to a first-look film and television deal. Levine will base his new production company Megamix at Lionsgate and will work alongside Megamix partner Gillian Bohrer.
The deal is the latest in a series of production deals made by Lionsgate Motion Picture Group President Nathan Kahane and Chairman Joe Drake as the pair continues to build its studio and talent pool. During its CinemaCon presentation, Lionsgate prominently displayed its first look deal with new faith-based production banner Kingdom Studios, and announced a new deal with Seth Rogen, James Weaver and Evan Goldberg’s Point Grey Pictures.
Under Kahane and Drake, Lionsgate is aiming to rebrand itself as a creator-driven studio where artists have the freedom to create their projects for any platform.
The relationship between Levine, Kahane and Drake goes back to 2011, when the latter two produced Levine’s Golden Globe-nominated comedy “50/50,” which starred Rogen and was also produced by Point Grey. The trio reunited on another Point Grey project, “The Night Before,” before coming together again this year for “Long Shot,” which sees Rogen as a self-destructive journalist who courts his childhood babysitter turned U.S. presidential candidate, played by Charlize Theron.
Bohrer also has a connection to Lionsgate, having worked there as co-president of production on films like “La La Land,” “Wonder,” and the “Twilight” series. Bohrer will join Levine at Megamix with McAuley Cahill, who most recently worked alongside Bohrer as executives at Fox 2000. The pair are leaving Fox 2000 as it will soon be shuttered by Disney following its recent merger with 20th Century Fox.
“For over a decade, Lionsgate has been in business with Jonathan supporting his earliest work as a gifted writer and director and storyteller and releasing his films,” said Kahane in a statement. “He is enormously talented and his movies are unique and refreshing and never derivative. Lionsgate has always been somewhat of an unofficial home for him and Megamix also represents a homecoming for Gillian Bohrer, a highly accomplished and respected production and creative executive. So for us, this deal is an irresistible one-two punch.”
“Long Shot” has been well received by critics with an 87% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Independent trackers are projecting a $12-14 million opening, but the studio is hoping that strong word of mouth can allow the film to leg out even against blockbusters like “Avengers: Endgame” and “Detective Pikachu.”
This month, Lionsgate will also release “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum,” the third installment in the Keanu Reeves action series. Lionsgate is in great need of box office success after a 2018 that saw box office grosses sink to just $388 million. More recently, the studio’s $50 million remake of “Hellboy” tanked with just $21.5 million grossed through three weekends in theaters.