“This is going to be a sellers’ market for some time to come because a lot of new content has not been made,” said Lionsgate vice chairman Michael Burns on Wednesday at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference. “We’re ramping up very, very quickly.”
“As long as we can shoot product safely, we are going to shoot as much good product as possible,” Burns added. “There’s going to be an awful lot of demand.”
The executive noted that the company has been ramping up film and television production in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Bulgaria, where it recently completed “The Devil’s Light” and will shoot the horror movie “Cobweb” next week. Nicolas Cage’s “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” is slated to begin production soon.
Starz CEO-president Jeffrey Hirsch said production is underway on three series — “The Girlfriend Experience” in the U.K., “Power Book II: Ghost” in New York and wresting drama “Heels” in Atlanta. Lionsgate is also about to start production on the second season of “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” in Vancouver for NBC, along with the second season of Apple’s “Mythic Quest” and “Power Book III: Raising Kanan” for Starz.
“Power,” starring Omari Hardwick as a ruthless drug dealer, wrapped its sixth and final season in February. “Power Book II: Ghost,” which launched on Sept. 6, is the first of four planned spinoffs that have been ordered to series at Starz. Hirsch noted the Starz offerings, which include “Outlander,” “Hightown” and “P-Valley,” have been connecting with under-served female audiences.
“Eleven of our 16 showrunners are women and five are people of color,” Hirsch added.
Starz reported on Wednesday that “Power Book II: Ghost” drove up Starz app subscription by 42%. Viewership was 36% higher than the final season premiere of the original series last summer. It said the premiere of “Power Book II: Ghost” was also the top performing series across the Starzplay international streaming platform in several markets, including the U.K., France, Germany, Spain and Brazil.
Burns praised Joe Drake, president of the motion picture group, for keeping the future production pipeline active. Lionsgate announced last month that it was expanding two of its key franchises, with a fifth “John Wick” movie and a “Dirty Dancing” reboot with Jennifer Grey. The company is also developing “Now You See Me 3,” “Hunger Games” prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” and projects based on “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret” and “Borderlands,” starring Cate Blanchett and directed by Eli Roth.