Under the alliance, Onion Studios will work with Serious Business, which produces “@midnight” for Comedy Central, to develop the movies through 2018. Monday’s announcement did not include any details about what projects will emerge from the partnership.
Jordan Gilbert, VP of digital production for Lionsgate, said in a statement: “This deal represents an expansion of Lionsgate’s breadth of partnerships with meaningful online publishers, while adhering to our core strategy of utilizing nontraditional marketing techniques to help our product to rise above the noise.” Gilber will oversee the partnership for the studio.
The Onion shuttered its print edition in 2013. Univision acquired a minority investment in The Onion last year and also owns such media sites as Fusion, The Root, and the former Gawker Media operations Gizmodo, Deadspin, and Jezebel.
“We’ve plotted our takeover of the film industry for some time,” Onion Studios VP Kyle Ryan said. “With the help of Serious Business and Lionsgate, we’ll make room on our award shelf for some Oscars. To the basement you go, Pulitzers.”
Lionsgate is home to the “Hunger Games” and “Twilight” franchises, along with awards season contenders “La La Land” and “Patriots Day.” It closed its acquisition of premium cable network Starz last month.
Serious Business is headed by former UTA Online chief Jason U. Nadler, “@midnight” co-creator Jon Zimelis, and Alex Blagg. Nadler said, “The Onion has always been one of our favorite comedic institutions, and we’re excited to help them do to the film industry what they’ve already done to publishing. In a good way.”