Lionsgate Execs Reveal Why ‘Power Rangers’ Was Banished to January; Future of ‘Odyssey’

Studio also teases big screen adaptation of “The Iliad”

"Mighty Morphin Power Rangers"
Saban Entertainment

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer and fellow executives shared their plans and optimism Friday morning for the company’s coming film slate, which financially underwhelmed in its most-recent quarter due primarily to Johnny Depp‘s “Mortdecai” flopping.

Pushing the upcoming rebooted “Power Rangers” from July to January isn’t exactly a move suggesting confidence. Executives warned reporters and analysts not to look too far into that move from summer to winter.

“We’re very excited and with Dean’s [Israelite] vision; we felt very comfortable looking for opportunistic dating,” Lionsgate Motion Pictures Group Co-Chairman Rob Friedman explained the move on the conference call. “We really believe that great movies deliver no matter what date they’re on.”

Feltheimer and friends cited “American Sniper” as a key, recent example of how a good movie can pay off against soft post-Christmas competition. Lionsgate looks at “Power Rangers” as a “significant series of movies,” executives said, with the company chief concluding: “We’re picking a date where we think we can win.”

As previously reported, “Power Rangers” was delayed from July 22, 2016 to Jan. 13, 2017.

Speaking of film franchises, Lionsgate is especially excited to re-team with “Hunger Games” director Francis Lawrence & Co. for another multi-picture property based on Homer’s “The Odyssey.” The deal in place — which includes Lawrence’s creative team from the “Mockingjay” movies — is for “more than one” film, Lionsgate brass specified upon questioning.

But what could possibly follow that epic adaptation? “There’s also this wonderful book called ‘The Iliad’ …’” one top exec teased.

“We’re feeling very, very bullish already … we have high goals for this one,” Friedman added.

Production on “The Odyssey” begins early next year, when Lionsgate plans on putting out 14-15 films. The following year, the company is targeting even a few more beyond that estimate.

Earlier on the Lionsgate Q4 conference call, Feltheimer announced that his studio is already working on “Now You See Me 3” despite the fact that the second film won’t hit theaters until June 2016.