×

Lionsgate Invests in Videogame Publisher Telltale Games as Company Expands Beyond Films, TV

As it looks to expand beyond its core business of making movies and television shows, Lionsgate has invested in Telltale Games, the developer of games based on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

Lionsgate declined to disclose the size of the investment other than to say it was “significant.” The figure is said to be around $40 million, according to sources familiar with the deal, Variety has learned.

The move by Lionsgate is certainly a significant one, and gives the company behind “The Hunger Games” and “Twilight” franchises, a major stake in a well-respected and successful gamemaker after having only just formed a games group in April 2014, under the leadership of Peter Levin, a digital entrepreneur who had sold Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist Industries to Legendary Entertainment.

Since then, he’s moved Lionsgate primarily into the mobile games space, and scored with titles based on “Hunger Games” and “John Wick.”

But with Telltale, Lionsgate’s backing will enable the company to develop new games, and work with Lionsgate to co-develop titles that can be turned into movies and TV shows.

As part of the deal, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer will join Telltale’s board of directors.

“Our partnership with Kevin Bruner and his team at Telltale continues to accelerate our momentum in the game space,” said Levin, who serves as Lionsgate’s president of Lionsgate’s Interactive Ventures & Games. “The convergence between premium filmed entertainment brands and original game properties is a natural direction in which to continue diversifying our content business, and Telltale is the perfect partner with whom to explore this dynamic area of growth.”

Telltale’s “Walking Dead” game broke out as a hit selling 8.5 million copies, and introduced a unique episodic storytelling structure in its gameplay, rolling out as episodes, a format that’s now been used for the company’s sequels, but also a new game based on “Game of Thrones,” and other releases.

It’s also behind “The Wolf Among Us,” an episodic interactive graphic adventure based on Bill Willingham’s “Fables” comicbook, and “Tales from the Borderlands,” Telltale’s adaptation of Gearbox Software and 2K Games title.

“Telltale is one of the premier storytellers in the gaming world today,” Feltheimer said. “Their leadership in narrative-driven episodic games, together with our investment and the potential opportunities created by our premium content expertise, will continue to strengthen their ability to offer exciting new avenues of storytelling to their next generation audiences across a broad range of platforms.”

“Lionsgate is one of the most innovative, entrepreneurial and impressive content companies in the world today,” said Telltale CEO Kevin Bruner. “I’m delighted to welcome an experienced executive like Jon, a leader who shares our unique vision, to our board. Lionsgate has a great track record in developing and marketing feature films as well as platform-defining premium scripted television. This partnership will accelerate Telltale’s ability to create not only original games, but episodic television series based on our game properties – an area at the cutting edge of industry growth.”

More Biz

  • Harvey Mason Jr.., Chair of the

    Grammy Board Chief Calls Allegations of Nomination-Rigging ‘Just Not Right’

    Among the many allegations in ousted Recording Academy CEO Deborah Dugan’s blockbuster legal complaint, the one that possibly cuts most to the heart of the institution — and is of most concern to artists and the public — is the allegation that the nominating process is “rigged.” The example in the complaint points to the [...]

  • Annabella Sciorra

    Friend Tells of Annabella Sciorra's Mid-1990s Struggles at Harvey Weinstein Trial

    A longtime friend of Annabella Sciorra testified Friday in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial that the actor turned to cutting herself and exhibited other troubling behavior in the mid-1990s after she was allegedly raped by the disgraced film mogul. The defense questioning of model Kara Young got heated as Judge James Burke sustained repeated objections to [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Judge Doubts WGA Claim That Packaging Fees Are Kickbacks

    A federal judge seemed skeptical on Friday of the Writers Guild of America’s claim that packaging fees amount to a criminal kickback to agents. Judge Andre Birotte heard more than two hours of arguments from attorneys for the guild and three agencies: WME, UTA and CAA. He said he would issue a ruling at a [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: Why Aerosmith Is Still Gold for Synchs

    Aerosmith’s star-studded tribute concert as the 2020 MusiCares Person of the Year honorees on Friday night (January 24) will cement another important milestone in the historic Boston-founded band’s contributions to the American rock canon. But over the past decade, some of the band’s best-known music has remained part of the cultural conversation through some of [...]

  • Sirius Logo

    Radio Hall of Famer Kid Kelly Leaves SiriusXM After Two Decades

    In a surprise move, veteran programmer, on-air personality and Radio Hall of Famer Kid Kelly has left SiriusXM after nearly 20 years with the radio giant, a rep for the company has confirmed to Variety. The news was first reported by RAMP. He most recently served as SiriusXM’s VP of Pop Music Programming. “After a [...]

  • Shanghai Disneyland

    Shanghai Disneyland Closes in Response to China Virus Outbreak

    Shanghai Disneyland will close its doors Saturday as a reaction to the spread of a form of coronavirus that has now killed 26 people in mainland China. The resort complex, which normally operates 365 days per year and welcomes more than 10 million visitors annually, announced Friday afternoon local time that it will shutter the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content