Lionsgate Layoffs Hit Feature Film Marketing and Distribution Department

Dave McNary

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Lionsgate has laid off nearly 20 employees, primarily in its feature film marketing and distribution department, sources tell Variety.

The cuts had been in the works for months as part of a restructuring and were not influenced by the coronavirus outbreak, Lionsgate said. No other layoffs are currently planned, and most, but not all, were in the marketing-distribution department.

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Lionsgate’s most recent release, faith-based drama “I Still Believe,” was released on premium VOD early on March 27, only two weeks after it first debuted in theaters. “I Still Believe” came in third place with $9.1 million at 3,250 North American locations during its opening weekend on March 13-15.

On March 17, Lionsgate joined the parade of releases pulled from theatrical release due to the coronavirus pandemic, pulling the Chris Rock-Samuel L. Jackson “Saw” reboot, Janelle Monae’s “Antebellum” and Sarah Paulson’s “Run.” Lionsgate said its three films will remain undated for the time being with the next steps, dates and strategies for bringing these films to the public announced once there is more clarity on when theaters will safely and fully resume operations.

The studio had a strong year in 2019 with “John Wick: Chapter 3” grossing $326 million worldwide and comic thriller “Knives Out” taking in $311 million globally. Lionsgate has been working on developing sequels for both franchises.

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