Lionsgate Film Group is undergoing a second round of layoffs as restructuring continues under the leadership of Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane, according to an individual with knowledge of the dismissals.
Unlike many layoffs and furloughs currently happening in Hollywood, Lionsgate’s staff cuts are not connected to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but had been expected for months after 25 employees in marketing and distribution were laid off in January 2019, the individual said. These layoffs are said to have impacted 15-20 employees in those departments as well as others in the company, though no further layoffs are being planned.
After a poor 2018 at the box office, Lionsgate has found consistent success in the past year with several hit releases, including “John Wick: Chapter 3” and “Knives Out,” both of which grossed over $300 million at the global box office and were the first films from the studio in over a year to gross more than $100 million in North America. Under Drake and Kahane’s leadership, the studio is trying to rebrand itself as a studio that is able to accommodate the specific needs of filmmakers and their creative vision, making distribution deals with directors like Jon and Andrew Erwin and their new faith-based production studio, Kingdom Story Company.
The deal between Lionsgate and Kingdom began earlier this month with the Jeremy Camp biopic “I Still Believe,” which earned a $10 million opening weekend at the box office before the coronavirus pandemic forced theaters nationwide to close. Lionsgate has since announced that “I Still Believe” would be released earlier than expected for home viewing while indefinitely postponing the release of future theatrical films like “Run,” “Antebellum” and the Chris Rock “Saw” spinoff “Spiral.”
The Lionsgate layoffs were first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.