The action film starring Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren “underperformed our expectations at the domestic box office” but will “make a solid profit” as it opens in overseas markets, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts this morning. Still, the company says it has a solid batting average with its portfolio, with a sequel for Now You See Me “in the planning stages.” And it anticipates a home run in March with Divergent. One exec says it appears on pace to become a success on the order of The Hunger Games, calling the parallels in the early feedback “very, very strong and very, very similar.” Feltheimer added that there’s a lower bar to cross because “we budgeted the film like a commercial release, not like a blockbuster.” He also likes the financial terms for the action film Ender’s Game, due in November. “We’re 25% of the equity investment in the film with a low threshold for domestic performance for us to break even.” Regarding recent casting changes for Expendables 3 — Harrison Ford is joining and Bruce Willis is leaving — Feltheimer says that “these deals are being negotiated up to the last day” and “the franchise is going to have a lot of new and exciting blood in it.” The CEO also talked up Lionsgate’s television business, noting that the company “will nearly double our in-house production this year” as it produces for NBC, the History Channel, E!, Cartoon Network, FX, Amazon and Hulu. The company’s shares continue to hit all-time highs and is up modestly this morning after reporting stronger than expected earnings for the quarter that ended in June.
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