Lionsgate Lays Off 25, Mostly In Motion Picture Group; NY Marketing/Distribution Moving To LA & Codeblack Partnership Ends


2nd Update: Part of the Lionsgate reconfiguration means the ending of Lionsgate’s partnership with Jeff Clanagan in Codeblack, the division that generated Kevin Hart’s Let Me Explain, Addicted, and other projects geared toward an urban audience. Said a spokesman: “Codeback has brought us tremendous films and relationships. Though the terms of our current partnership are ending, we expect to continue to have a great relationship with Jeff and his team.” In ending the partnership, four employees of Codeblack have been let go, sources said.

UPDATED: Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake just sent out an internal email confirming the Lionsgate layoffs. Also, sources said that some of the layoffs come in the move of New York-based marketing/distribution staff to Santa Monica, and more from layoffs in the post production department, under new head Matt Leonetti. Drake’s letter appears under the original scoop.

EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate is going to layoff staff today. I’m told it’s about 25 of the company’s 1600 personnel. Most of the layoffs will be within the Motion Picture Group, which is run by Joe Drake. It is the result of the reorganization of that division under Motion Picture Group chairman Drake, and President of the Motion Picture Group Nathan Kahane. Marketing and distribution will be consolidated within Lionsgate’s Santa Monica headquarters. The marketing division is now run by President of Worldwide Marketing Damon Wolf, who joined from Sony Pictures and started January 1 and is assembling his own team. The layoffs are a combination of that and the kind of streamlining of operations that more than one studio went through last year. Not a fun day for those being pink slipped. Some staff will be added as the heads finalize their own teams. There will be some attrition when the dust settles.

Lionsgate’s New York office continues, and there will be an estimated eight leaving out of a total Gotham staff of 50 Lionsgate and Starz staffers.

Ironically, Lionsgate has a strong slate this year, with Hellboy in April, John Wick 3 in May, the Seth Rogen-Charlize Theron comedy Flarsky in June, Roland Emmerich’s Midway in November, and Rian Johnson and Daniel Craig’s Knives Out in the Thanksgiving corridor.

Dear Colleagues:

As we look forward to the future with an ambitious and exciting 2019 theatrical slate, filled with big kick-ass crowd pleasing movies as well as daring films with something to say, this is also a time to reassess some of the Motion Picture Group’s internal structure, processes and communication.

With the new senior management team in place, we are implementing a companywide Data-First Driven Strategy, expanding the Lionsgate Data Center (LDC) throughout our business. The LDC will be instrumental to the conversations we have and the decisions we make every day regarding development, marketing and distribution of our films, as well as a robust driver in our Lionsgate 360 strategic vision.

As we continue to adapt our business to the evolving market, we will be centralizing most Motion Picture Group business units to Santa Monica as well as realigning our Domestic and International Marketing Departments into one Global Marketing Group. As some colleagues will be departing, we wish them the very best on their continued career trajectory.

We are constantly looking at ways to better align our company with our industry’s evolving landscape and therefore the needs of the audience and our customers. We couldn’t be more thrilled about what 2019 has in store for us as a company, our exciting upcoming film slate, the new leadership team, as well as the agility that has always been a cornerstone of the company, allowing us to implement new ideas quickly and efficiently.


Joe Drake

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