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‘La La Land’ Lures More Movie Projects to Lionsgate, Says Top Film Executive

The outsize success of Lionsgate’s “La La Land” is spurring Hollywood filmmakers to bring their projects to the studio, Lionsgate’s top movie production executive said Wednesday.

“The success of the movie shows the strength of the Lionsgate brand,” said Erik Feig, president of the studio’s motion picture group, during the company’s conference call with analysts following its release of quarterly earnings.

Feig also said that “La La Land” has overperformed in every market, with the studio seeing “overages” resulting from its international output deals — which limit the downside when a  film performs poorly. “La La Land” has grossed more than $270 million in worldwide box office with an opening in China coming on Valentine’s Day next Tuesday.

Feig noted that Hollywood has “rediscovered” the musical genre in recent months. He also said the studio is seeing benefits above and beyond monetary gains with an increase in filmmaker-driven projects since “La La Land” opened in early December.

“Filmmakers have brought us a lot more movies,” he added. “They see that we are willing to make a bet on an unconventional approach.”

Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer said during the call that “La La Land” is a “global box office phenomenon.” U.S. grosses are nearing $120 million while foreign box office has hit $150 million.

“La La Land,” a whimsical comedy-drama set in an idealized Los Angeles, stars Emma Stone as an aspiring actress and Ryan Gosling as a struggling jazz musician who fall in and out of love. The movie, which has a $30 million budget, swept the Golden Globes with seven trophies, scored a record-tying 14 Oscar nominations, won the top movie award from the Producers Guild of America, and won a Directors Guild of America trophy for Damien Chazelle.

Lionsgate’s first major successes came with Tyler Perry’s Madea movies and the Saw franchise a decade ago, then scored in 2012 with the launch of The Hunger Games teen franchise. Thanks to the 14 nominations by “La La Land,” Lionsgate was the leading studio for this year’s Oscar nominations with 26, including six for “Hacksaw Ridge,” four for “Hell or High Water” and two for “Deepwater Horizon.”

Feltheimer expressed optimism Wednesday over “John Wick: Chapter 2:,” which opens Friday; “Power Rangers,” set for March 24; Tupac Shakur biopic “All Eyez on Me,” which opens on Shakur’s birthday on June 16; animated film “My Little Pony,” opening Oct. 6; and “Robin Hood,” set for 2018 and starring Taron Egerton and Jamie Foxx.

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