Lionsgate Films
FormerlyCinépix Film Properties (1962–1998)
Company typeDivision
IndustryMotion pictures
PredecessorTrimark Pictures
Artisan Entertainment
  • 1962; 62 years ago (1962) (as Cinépix)
  • January 13, 1998; 26 years ago (1998-01-13) (as Lionsgate Films)
FoundersJohn Dunning
Andre Link
Frank Giustra
Area served
Key people
  • Joe Drake
  • (film group chairman)
  • Adam Fogelson
  • (vice chair)
ProductsMotion pictures
ServicesFilm distribution
DivisionsLionsgate Premiere

Lionsgate Films (formerly known as Cinépix Film Properties) is a Canadian-American[2] film production and film distribution studio founded in Canada, now a division of Lionsgate Entertainment headquartered in Santa Monica. It is the largest and most successful mini-major film studio in North America.

It focuses on foreign and independent films and has distributed various commercially successful film franchises, including Saw, The Hunger Games, Rambo, Divergent, The Punisher, John Wick, Madea, Blair Witch, Now You See Me, Hostel, The Expendables, Sinister, The Twilight Saga and Step Up.



Cinépix was founded by John Dunning and Andre Link in 1962.[3] Cinépix, based in Montreal, was a Canadian independent motion picture company that released English- and French-language films in Canada and the United States.[4]

Initially a distribution company, Cinépix's first production was the 1969 erotic drama Valérie, which earned $1 million at the box office.[5] Cinépix produced early work by David Cronenberg (Shivers) and Ivan Reitman (Meatballs).[6] The company also distributed art-house films including the grunge rock documentary Hype, Vincent Gallo's Buffalo '66, and SICK: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist.[7]

Cronenberg stated that "Cinépix was the Canadian version of Roger Corman" and "in a way they were modelling themselves after him and also some European producers as well".[8]

From 1989 to 1994, Cinépix was partnered with Famous Players in C/FP Distribution, which was renamed Cinépix Film Properties (C/FP). In 1994, Cinépix bought Famous Players' stake in the organization.[9]

By 1997, Cinépix had a New York–based US distribution arm and owned 56 percent of Ciné-Groupe, an animated film production company.[7]

Lionsgate Films

Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation (LGEC) was formed in 1997 by Frank Giustra, a banker.[10] LGEC purchased Cinépix and kept its leadership.[7] Cinépix was renamed Lions Gate Films on January 13, 1998.[11] LGEC also purchased the Vancouver-based North Shore Studios, which became Lions Gate Studios.[7] In June 1998, LGE purchased International Movie Group, whose film library included Jean-Claude Van Damme's Kickboxer.[7]

Its first major box office success was American Psycho in 2000, which began a trend of producing and distributing films too controversial for the major film studios.[12] Other notable films included Affliction (1998),[13] Gods and Monsters (1998),[14] Dogma (1999),[15] O (2001),[16] Cube 2: Hypercube (2002), Open Water (2003), Saw (2004),[17] The Punisher (2004) and the Michael Moore documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), which had been the studio's highest-grossing film until the release of The Hunger Games in 2012.[18]

Giustra left the firm in 2000.[10] That same year, Jon Feltheimer became CEO and Michael Burns became vice chairman.[19] They decided to focus on the profits of videos and DVDs and began buying struggling firms that controlled large libraries. The two most notable acquisitions were Trimark Holdings (650 titles) in 2000[7] and Artisan Entertainment in 2003.[20] The Trimark purchase also included CinemaNow, a broadband streaming website, where Lionsgate could feature its own movies.[7] These two purchases along with others gave Lions Gate a large DVD (and later Blu-Ray) library, which includes Total Recall, Reservoir Dogs, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Young Guns, Dirty Dancing and Apocalypse Now, in some cases via output deals with StudioCanal, American Zoetrope, and Miramax (most of them the result of prior licensing deals with Lions Gate's home video predecessor Artisan).[citation needed]

Lions Gate occasionally co-produces films with major studios. For example, Lions Gate teamed with Miramax Films for the 2004 sequel Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights and with Paramount Pictures for 2002's Narc and 2004's The Prince & Me which was given a studio credit. Lions Gate was also a silent partner in 20th Century Fox's 2004 sci-fi film The Day After Tomorrow. Also in 2004, Lions Gate joined forces with United Artists in producing Hotel Rwanda.[21]

On August 1, 2005, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp acquired the entire library of Modern Entertainment.[22][23] On October 17, 2005, Lionsgate acquired Redbus Film Distribution for $35 million[24][25] and became Lionsgate UK on February 23, 2006.[26][27] Following this, Zygi Kamasa, who co-founded Redbus with Simon Franks, became CEO of Lionsgate UK and Europe.

In 2007, Joe Drake became Lionsgate's co-COO and motion picture group president.[28] Lionsgate cut back its annual production by four in February 2009.[29]

The Lionsgate film The Hunger Games grossed $68.3 million when it premiered at the US box office on March 23, 2012. At the time, it was the best opening day ever for a non-sequel and the fifth highest of all time. Of that total, $19.7 million was earned via Thursday midnight screenings.[30] In its first weekend, The Hunger Games grossed $152.5 million, making it Lionsgate's highest-grossing film after just three days.[31]

On January 13, 2012, Lions Gate Entertainment Corp acquired Summit Entertainment, the studio behind the Twilight and Step Up series for $412.5 million.[32] On May 3, 2012, Lionsgate Films made an agreement with CodeBlack Enterprises' CEO Jeff Clanagan to create CodeBlack Films, based at Lionsgate.[33] Drake left in 2012 to found Good Universe.[28]

On January 16, 2013, Lionsgate announced a low-budget film division to be led by John Sacchi. The division would release films under $2.5 million. Sacchi recently looked to acquire such films as Rock Bottom Creek (2012) and other independently made films as well.[34]

On November 22, 2013, Lions Gate released The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. In its opening weekend, the movie grossed $158 million at the US box office, surpassing its predecessor, which generated $150 million in its opening weekend.[35] The film had a budget of $130 million, breaking even soon after its opening, and making it profitable. Critics highly praised the film; it received a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 89%.[36] The third Hunger Games film, Mockingjay- Part 1, was released in 2014. The final film, Mockingjay - Part 2, was released in 2015.

On April 1, 2015, according to Deadline, Lions Gate announced it has created its new label, Lionsgate Premiere. This new label will handle up to 15 releases a year, targeting young audiences at theaters and digital outlets. The new label, part of the company's diversification effort, will incorporate Lionsgate and Summit Entertainment titles and then specialize in "innovative multiplatform and other release strategies" to reach "affinity audiences with branded content and targeted marketing." Marketing and Research SVP Jean McDowell will handle marketing, with distribution to be run by Adam Sorensen, who currently manages Western Sales.[37]

On May 2, 2016, according to Deadline Hollywood, Lions Gate announced it has teaming with eight international companies to launch the GlobalGate Entertainment consortium. GlobalGate will produce and distribute local-language films in markets around the world. Lionsgate said Monday it has partnered with international entertainment executives Paul Presburger, William Pfeiffer and Clifford Werber to launch GlobalGate.[38]

Drake returned in October 2017 as Lionsgate's film group chairman. The company laid off staff for theatrical marketing and publicity in its New York office, and moved to end its participation as a partner in CodeBlack Films in January 2019. The cut backs were due to the failures of Robin Hood, and the comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me.[28] In June 2019, Hulu and FX picked up show rights to Lionsgate films released in 2020 and 2021.[39]

In 2022, Adam Fogelson joined the Motion Picture Group as vice chair, after leaving STX Entertainment, reporting to Drake.[40]

Film library

Main article: Lists of Lionsgate films

Film series

Title Release date No. Films Notes
Les Boys 1997–98 2 Distribution only
American Psycho 2000–02
Cube 2002–04 Acquired from Trimark Pictures
Leprechaun 2003–present 3
Saw 2004–present 10
The Punisher 2004–08 2 Co-production with Valhalla Entertainment and Marvel Entertainment
Hostel 2005–07 Co-production with Screen Gems
Madea 2005–19 11
Marvel Animated Features 2006–11 8 Co-production with Marvel Entertainment and Marvel Animation
Happily N'Ever After 2007–09 2
The Twilight Saga 2008–12 5 Acquired from Summit Entertainment
Rambo 2008–19 2
Alpha and Omega 2010–17; TBA 8
The Expendables 2010–23 4
The Hunger Games 2012–present 5
Step Up 2012–20 3 Acquired from Summit Entertainment
Now You See Me 2013–present 2
Escape Plan 2013–19 3
John Wick 2014–present 4
The Divergent Series 2014–16 3
Sicario 2015–present 1 (2) Co-distributed with Sony Pictures Releasing
Norm of the North 2016–20 4
Rock Dog 2016–23 3 First installment released through Summit Premiere
The Hitman's Bodyguard 2017–present 2
Detective Knight 2022–23 3

Highest-grossing films

Highest-grossing films in North America
Rank Title Year Domestic gross Notes
1 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 2013 $424,668,047
2 The Hunger Games 2012 $408,010,692
3 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 2014 $337,135,885
4 Eclipse 2010 $300,531,751 Distributed by Summit Entertainment.
5 New Moon $296,623,634
6 Breaking Dawn – Part 2 2012 $292,324,737
7 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 2015 $281,723,902
8 Breaking Dawn – Part 1 2011 $281,287,133 Distributed by Summit Entertainment.
9 Twilight 2008 $192,769,854
10 John Wick: Chapter 4 2023 $187,131,806
11 The Day After Tomorrow 2004 $186,740,799 Released by 20th Century Fox
12 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum 2019 $171,015,687
13 Knives Out 2019 $165,359,751
14 La La Land 2016 $151,101,803 Distributed by Summit Entertainment.
15 Divergent 2014 $150,947,895
16 The Blair Witch Project 1999 $140,539,099
17 The Divergent Series: Insurgent 2015 $130,179,072
18 Now You See Me 2013 $117,723,989
19 The Expendables 2010 $103,068,524
20 John Wick: Chapter 2 2017 $92,029,184
Highest-grossing films worldwide
Rank Title Year Box office gross
1 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 2013 $865,011,746
2 Breaking Dawn – Part 2 2012 $829,746,820
3 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 2014 $755,356,711
4 Breaking Dawn – Part 1 2011 $712,205,856
5 The Twilight Saga: New Moon 2009 $709,711,008
6 Eclipse 2010 $698,491,347
7 The Hunger Games 2012 $694,394,724
8 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 2015 $658,344,137
9 The Day After Tomorrow 2004 $552,639,571
10 La La Land 2016 $448,906,865
11 John Wick: Chapter 4 2023 $432,249,673
12 Twilight 2008 $407,187,715
13 Now You See Me 2013 $351,723,989
14 Now You See Me 2 2016 $334,901,337
15 John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum 2019 $328,349,387
16 The Expendables 2 2012 $314,975,955
17 The Divergent Series: Insurgent 2015 $297,276,329
18 Divergent 2014 $288,885,818
19 The Expendables 2010 $274,470,394
20 The Blair Witch Project 1999 $248,639,099


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Works cited