hunger games catching fire

Presentation highlights also 'Red 2'

Lionsgate offered a bullish outlook for theater owners Thursday at the final CinemaCon presentation following its breakout year in 2012.

“In the years to come, we plan to build on that success,” Rob Friedman, co-chair of the studio’s motion picture group, promised the audience at Caesars Palace.

Lionsgate also unveiled another corporate logo at the event for use at the top of its films. The new look ditched the metal gears, keyhole and gates in the previous logo in favor of a space-based clip that ends up with the Lionsgate name in the clouds.

Lionsgate opted for bringing in high-profile stars and directors to tout the upcoming slate — Francis Lawrence, Liam Hemsworth and Elizabeth Banks for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”; Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld and Harrison Ford for “Ender’s Game”; Joss Whedon for “Much Ado About Nothing”; Morgan Freeman and Isla Fisher for “Now You See Me”; and Kevin Hart for “Let Me Explain.”

Studio noted at the top of its presentation that its domestic gross of $1.2 billion last year represented the first time that a non-traditional studio had crossed the billion-dollar mark, thanks mostly to “The Hunger Games” and the final “Twilight” film, which became part of Lionsgate following its purchase of Summit early last year. Friedman, CEO Jon Feltheimer and distribution chief Richie Fay repeatedly thanked exhibitors for their support.

The hour-long presentation offered extended looks at its biggest budget “Catching Fire,” “Red 2″ and “Ender’s Game.” Lawrence, who will also direct the final two “Mockingjay” installments, said “Catching Fire” will amp up the action and emotion from the first film.

Banks was in her usual wisecracking mode, generating laughs when complimenting “hunky Australian” Hemsworth on his accent. “Catching Fire” opens Nov. 22.

Lionsgate also premiered the trailer for sci-fi tale “Ender’s Game,” which opens Nov. 1. The trailer will be attached to Paramount’s “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which opens May 17.

Ford cracked up the audience by announcing, “Hello my old friends.” He then promised that the movie will touch moviegoer’s hearts.

Whedon noted that he had shot the modernized version of “Much Ado” in 12 days at his home before introducing a clip of the black and white film, which Lionsgate acquired at the Toronto Film Festival last September.

Friedman also touted “Divergent,” currently shooting in Chicago and headed for a March launch, as the next franchise for the studio.

Hart emceed the first part of the program, which included clips from Arnold Schwarnegger-Sylvester Stallone prison-set “Escape Plan,” “Red 2,” “Now You See Me,” “You’re Next” and his own standup concert film “Let Me Explain” — which opens July 3, he repeated multiple times. “My job is to beat that into your heads,” he added.

Hart made no mention of his recent drunken-driving arrest but both Feltheimer and Friedman did, saying that they would pay for a driver.

Lionsgate marketing chief Tim Palen said of the new logo: “Lionsgate has always distinguished itself in the marketplace with bold, original and provocative films and TV shows, and our company’s character is defined by our innovation, ingenuity and willingness to think outside the box.”

The motion graphics studio that designed the logo is Devastudios, which has designed the studio logos for Paramount, Warner Bros., Focus Features, Nickelodeon and GK Films. It also designed the previous Lionsgate logo.

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