Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer hinted to Wall Street that the studio isn’t ready to roll the credits on its “Hunger Games” and “Twilight” franchises. He implied, however, that the company will only go forward with fresh installments or spinoffs in the blockbuster series if they get the sign off from “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer and “Hunger Games” creator Suzanne Collins.
“There are a lot more stories to be told, and we’re ready to tell them when our creators are ready to tell those stories,” Feltheimer said during a quarterly earnings call with analysts on Tuesday.
The Lionsgate chief didn’t just consign himself to predictions about the future of Katniss Everdeen and Edward Cullen. He also expressed optimism about the prospects for a grand bargain between studios and theater owners that will enable movies to hit home entertainment platforms weeks or even months earlier. All that’s needed, he said, would be for all the parties to “get in a room together.”
“If it were possible for us all to get in a room together and have exhibitors and studios and digital distributors all get in a room together, I’ve seen enough research to really believe that it’s really something that would be good for everybody,” said Feltheimer.
That kind of a meeting could be difficult to pull off. So far, studios and exhibitors have had to negotiate on an individual basis because they are worried that any kind of industry-wide negotiations will run afoul of anti-trust laws. The Lionsgate chief acknowledged as much, stating that such a confab would only take place “if the Department of Justice allows.”
There’s a lot riding on these talks. Studios believe that offering films in the home early will enable them to capture consumers who might have young children, but who still want to see new releases. They’re so convinced it will grow revenues that they’re willing to cut theater owners in on the profits. Despite the inducements, theater owners are concerned that they will be cannibalizing their business by giving audiences an incentive to skip the cinema in favor of waiting a few weeks to see movies on demand.
Last week, Adam Aron, the CEO of AMC Entertainment, said he did not expect a deal will be reached this year. Despite the protestations of the head of the world’s largest theater chain, Feltheimer predicted that there will be tests of a new on-demand model in the next 12 months.
“I think that will happen,” he said. “I think it would be great for the business.”