|Founded||July 26, 1991|
Andrew G. Vajna
|Headquarters||Universal City, California (2007–2012)|
Santa Monica, California (2012–present)
|Owner||Lions Gate Entertainment|
|Parent||Lionsgate Films (2012–present)|
|Subsidiaries||International Distribution Company, LLC|
(joint venture with Pedro Rodriguez)
Summit Entertainment is an American film production and distribution company. It is a label of Lionsgate Films, owned by Lionsgate Entertainment and is headquartered in Santa Monica, California.
Summit Entertainment was founded in 1991 by film producers Bernd Eichinger, Arnon Milchan, and Andrew G. Vajna (Carolco Pictures and Cinergi) to handle film sales in foreign countries. Summit later expanded and was launched in 1993 by Patrick Wachsberger, Bob Hayward and David Garrett under the name Summit Entertainment LP as a distribution and sales organization. By 1995 they were producing and co-financing films, and by 1997 they started fully financing films. Among the company's early successes was American Pie, which Summit distributed outside of English-speaking territories. In 2001, it hired producer Erik Feig to evolve the company into a mini-studio, maintaining creative oversight financing and producing its own slate of mainstream wide release films.
In 2006, it became an independent film production company, with the addition of Rob Friedman, a former executive at Paramount Pictures. The new company added major development, production, acquisitions, marketing and distribution branches with a financing deal led by Merrill Lynch and other investors giving it access to over $1 billion in financing.
Summit Entertainment's films are also distributed theatrically and on home video in Spain, the Netherlands and in Canada by Entertainment One, and until 2012, it received a home video distribution deal with Universal Studios Home Entertainment for titles in the United States for home media distribution. In 2007, Summit Entertainment launched its own home video division that was headed by Bobby Gerber, former employee of Warner Home Video, with Universal distributing for physical distribution of discs and Summit retained control of sales, marking and replication for their home video product.
After a string of flops including P2, Never Back Down and Sex Drive, Summit found success in November 2008 with the release of Twilight, a teen romance about vampires based on the best-selling book of the same name by Stephenie Meyer that made $408,773,703 worldwide. In the spring of 2009, Summit released Knowing, the company's second movie to open #1 at the box office and made $182,492,056 worldwide.
In November 2009, Summit released the sequel to Twilight titled The Twilight Saga: New Moon, also based on the popular novel by Stephenie Meyer, breaking box office records for first weekend grosses at the time, taking in $142,839,137 in the first three days (which is No. 13[when?] on the all-time opening grosses list). In June 2010 Summit released the third film of the Twilight series, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. It broke a midnight screening record of over $30 million and set a one-day Wednesday record of $68.5 million but failed to surpass the one-day tally of $72 million set by New Moon. It became the first movie in the series to cross the $300 million mark domestically.
In 2008, Summit Entertainment ranked in eighth place among the studios, with a gross of $226.5 million, almost entirely because of the release of Twilight. In 2009, Summit ranked 7th among studios with a gross of $482.5 million.
In 2009, Summit Entertainment inked a deal with Participant Media to finance their own motion pictures. On January 19, 2010, Summit Entertainment almost entered the TV business, with a partnership agreement with international distributor Entertainment One to do a television series based on Summit's motion picture Push, but it was never materialized, with no network interest.
Other Summit Entertainment releases include: Ender's Game (released November 1, 2013 in the United States; an adaptation of Orson Scott Card's 1985 novel); Next Day Air ($10,027,047 US box office); The Hurt Locker ($16,400,000 US box office; it garnered Summit its first Best Picture Oscar); the animated Astro Boy; teen horror film Sorority Row ($11,965,282 US box office); the low-budget Push ($31,811,527 US box office); Bandslam ($5,210,988 US box office); Letters to Juliet ($53,032,453 US box office); and, the sleeper hit, RED ($87,940,198 US box office; nominated for a 2010 Golden Globe in the Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical category).
In September 2008, merger talks between Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate were the subject of media speculation, but no deal was finalized at that time. On February 1, 2009, it was announced that Lionsgate would acquire Summit Entertainment, along with its library of six films and rights to the Twilight franchise, but two days later, these merger negotiations broke down due to concerns over changing content. On January 13, 2012, Lionsgate acquired Summit Entertainment for $412.5 million. Peak Group Holdings was the biggest investor in Summit, with about a 48% stake. The Peak Group includes investments by Emilio Diez Barroso's Nala Films and entities that are close to the Omar Amanat family trust. Lionsgate continues to operate Summit Entertainment as a label.
International Distribution Company, LLC (IDC) handles the distribution of Summit and Lionsgate films in Latin America, originally established as a joint venture between Summit and Pedro Rodriguez. IDC handled Summit films since 2005, and began distributing Lionsgate films in the region after Lionsgate's acquisition of Summit in 2012.
IDC itself does not distribute films directly to the market; rather, it resell films to local film distributors in individual countries in Latin America, including Paris Filmes in Brazil, Cine Colombia in Colombia and Videocine in Mexico.