EXCLUSIVE: Television movies are starting to get a bit of heat in the digital age. The classic movie of the week genre was a staple of the 1980s but has subsided over the last few years.
Lionsgate and MarVista Entertainment are hoping to kickstart the made-for-television movie trend with a new deal that will see them remake a number of classic small screen features from the Hearst library.
Projects that are set to be remade include The Babysitter’s Seduction, which aired on NBC and starred Keri Russell as babysitter Michelle Winston and Phylicia Rashad, Lifetime’s psychological thriller Sex and Mr. X, which starred Linda Hamilton and Jacqueline Bisset, and thriller Sex, Lies and Obsession, which starred Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna.
MarVista has identified over 100 titles to reimagine including Dolly Parton’s Blue Valley Songbird and holiday movies such as Leslie Neilson’s Santa Who and Shelly Long’s A Different Kind of Christmas.
The remakes will be distributed jointly by Lionsgate and MarVista and the two companies hope that they will appeal to today’s digitally native audiences with a fresh cultural perspective and diverse perspectives. The plan is to champion new voices and emerging talent.
Recent MarVista projects include Lifetime’s first-ever LGBTQ+-led Christmas movie, The Christmas Setup and the first holiday film featuring a lead actor who uses a wheelchair, Christmas Ever After.
MarVista CEO Fernando Szew said, “Timeless tales that defined the made for television/movie of the week genre is a great source of proven IP. The reimagining of this lane of content is perfectly timed with the juncture of the reinvention of the television paradigm. With the proliferation of available viewing platforms, consumer desire for snackable content in a sea of bingeable series, these movies are ripe for re-telling through a modern and diverse lens.”
“We’re seeing over and over in today’s marketplace that popular evergreen content from decades ago is attracting bigger audiences than ever on new and emerging platforms,” added Lionsgate President Worldwide TV & Digital Distribution Jim Packer, “MarVista is the perfect partner with whom to reimagine these timeless television movie classics from the Hearst library with a fresh and diverse perspective but with built-in IP value.”