Lionsgate Lays Off About 25 in Restructure, Ends Codeblack Partnership

Studio will consolidate its marketing and distribution units

Last Updated: January 11, 2019 @ 11:39 AM

Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Chairman Joe Drake sent an email to staff on Friday announcing a restructuring in the studio’s business operations that will result in approximately 25 people losing their jobs.

The studio also said on Friday that it was ending its partnership with Codeblack, which focuses on films targeting African-American audiences. Codeblack will continue to operate autonomously under CEO Jeff Clanagan, and Lionsgate plans to continue to look for films targeting the African-American audience.

“Codeblack has brought us tremendous films and relationships.  Though the terms of our current partnership are ending, we expect to continue our great relationship with Jeff Clanagan and his team,” a Lionsgate spokesperson told TheWrap.

As for the layoffs hitting the studio, the majority of the the changes are a result of Lionsgate consolidating its marketing and distribution under one roof. The marketing division is run by Damon Wolf, who joined from Sony Pictures and started Jan. 1.

“As we continue to adapt our business to the evolving market, we will be centralizing most Motion Picture Group business units to Santa Monica as well as realigning our Domestic and International Marketing Departments into one Global Marketing Group. As some colleagues will be departing, we wish them the very best on their continued career trajectory,” Drake said in the memo to staff. “We are constantly looking at ways to better align our company with our industry’s evolving landscape and therefore the needs of the audience and our customers.”

The studio had a tough year at the box office in 2018, topping out at $388 million — the company’s worst domestic box office performance since 2011. Lionsgate’s 2019 slate, however, has some promising films, with a third installment in the popular “John Wick” franchise, a “Hellboy” reboot starring “Stranger Things” star David Harbour, a Seth Rogan and Charlize Theron comedy “Flarsky,” and Rian Johnson’s buzzy thriller “Knives Out,” starring Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette and Lakeith Stanfield.

Read Joe Drake’s full letter to staff:

Dear Colleagues:

As we look forward to the future with an ambitious and exciting 2019 theatrical slate, filled with big kick-ass crowd pleasing movies as well as daring films with something to say, this is also a time to reassess some of the Motion Picture Group’s internal structure, processes and communication.

With the new senior management team in place, we are implementing a companywide Data-First Driven Strategy, expanding the Lionsgate Data Center (LDC) throughout our business. The LDC will be instrumental to the conversations we have and the decisions we make every day regarding development, marketing and distribution of our films, as well as a robust driver in our Lionsgate 360 strategic vision.

As we continue to adapt our business to the evolving market, we will be centralizing most Motion Picture Group business units to Santa Monica as well as realigning our Domestic and International Marketing Departments into one Global Marketing Group.  As some colleagues will be departing, we wish them the very best on their continued career trajectory.

We are constantly looking at ways to better align our company with our industry’s evolving landscape and therefore the needs of the audience and our customers.  We couldn’t be more thrilled about what 2019 has in store for us as a company, our exciting upcoming film slate, the new leadership team, as well as the agility that has always been a cornerstone of the company, allowing us to implement new ideas quickly and efficiently.

Sincerely,

Joe Drake

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