After years of giving you sarcastic headlines to retweet, The Onion is now taking its first steps into the film industry. The media company behind the long-running satirical news organization and its arts & entertainment spinoff The A.V. Club has signed a development deal with Lionsgate for three movies that is set to run through 2018.
The Onion will partner with Serious Business, the production company behind Comedy Central’s “@midnight,” with Jordan Gilbert, vice president of digital production for Lionsgate, overseeing the new venture. ”We’ve plotted our takeover of the film industry for some time,” said Kyle Ryan, vice president of Onion Studios. “With the help of Serious Business and Lionsgate, we’ll make room on our award shelf for some Oscars. To the basement you go, Pulitzers. ”
“Somebody needs to be the grown-up in this press release and give a substantive quote, so I guess it will be us,” said Lionsgate’s Gilbert. “This deal represents an expansion of Lionsgate’s breadth of partnerships with meaningful online publishers, while adhering to our core strategy of utilizing non-traditional marketing techniques to help our product to rise above the noise.”
The deal comes almost a year to the day after Univision became a minority investor in The Onion, which ended its print publication and switched to an all-digital format in 2013. Since that switch, The Onion has expanded its satire into two spinoff sites. Clickhole, founded in 2014, pokes fun at Buzzfeed and internet clickbait, while the short-lived StarWipe parodied celebrity gossip before shuttering with an expletive-laden finale this past June.
This isn’t the first time The Onion has moved beyond print. Along with a direct-to-video film released in 2008, the company also aired “Onion News Network” on IFC and “Onion SportsDome” on Comedy Central for a short run in 2011. There’s no word yet on what elements of the site that Serious Business and The Onion might base their new film projects on.