Jon Feltheimer has been named vice chairman and CEO of Lions Gate Entertainment and Michael Burns vice chairman. Feltheimer and Burns spearheaded a financial initiative last fall that led to a $33 million cash and stock infusion in the company.
Attorney John J. Dellaverson of Loeb & Loeb is in talks to join the company in an executive capacity, though if he does so he will also remain of counsel to Loeb & Loeb.
Feltheimer plans to ramp up film production activity at the indie shingle while increasing the company’s commitment to new media and television. Lions Gate will also likely acquire one or more indie shingles and possibly a film library. “This is a natural extension of what we did in the fall,” Feltheimer told Daily Variety. He said the company under his leadership hopes to be involved with about 15 movies a year with budgets in the $5 million-$20 million range.
Feltheimer said Lions Gate will continue to make films that are “provocative” and “edgy.” Company also hopes to explore pics aimed at the Latino and urban markets.
A new mini-major?
“Lions Gate is an ideal platform for launching rapid and exciting growth in the independent filmed entertainment world,” Feltheimer said. “We are a nimble and entrepreneurial young company that will opportunistically target and consolidate fresh assets, grow our core businesses and become the first new independent mini-major in years.”
Feltheimer is a 20-year entertainment veteran, having spent eight years at Sony Pictures Entertainment as executive veep and president of the Columbia TriStar Television Group, managing all aspects of SPE’s production and distribution businesses.
After joining Sony in 1991, he engineered the creation of TriStar Television as part of SPE’s acquisition of television assets from New World Television. Feltheimer also led Col TriStar’s evolution into international arenas, where the company launched or partnered in nearly 30 branded channels and regional networks.
In 1996, he launched SPE’s interactive TV biz and shepherded SPE’s strategic investment in Telemundo in conjunction with Liberty Media and Apollo Partners. He has also managed Columbia TriStar’s distribution deals with Brillstein-Grey, Michael Ovitz’s newly formed Artists Television Group and HBO Independent Prods. And he structured joint ventures with Procter & Gamble and Brad Grey’s BGTV.
Burns has served as managing director and head of the Prudential Securities investment banking office in Los Angeles for nine years. Since joining Prudential, he has raised more than $1 billion for companies in an array of industries, particularly media and entertainment companies.
Burns is also co-chairman and co-founder of the Hollywood Stock Exchange, chairman of e-commerce site Novica.com and chairman of Ignite Entertainment, an L.A-based entertainment content agency.
Lions Gate’s forthcoming releases include “The Big Kahuna,” “American Psycho” and “Shadow of the Vampire.” Lions Gate Television has produced such one-hour dramatic series as “Hope Island” and “Higher Ground.”