Lionsgate, one of the biggest players in Hollywood outside of the major studios, has issued major layoffs. The job cuts are affecting the company's marketing and distribution departments. This comes after the studio had a mixed year in 2019, with big hits such as John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum and Knives Out to go along with commercial disappointments like Bombshell. Lionsgate is looking to restructure to stay viable in the future, and these layoffs were a long time coming.
According to a new report, 15 to 20 employees were let go by Lionsgate. While many studios in Hollywood are going to have tough decisions to make in the months ahead, with productions shut down all around the world, movie theaters closed and no end in sight, at least not immediately. That said, Lionsgate, it's said, had been planning these layoffs for months. The good news for those remaining at the studio is that they don't plan on axing any more jobs, with the fiscal year set to conclude for the company on March 31.
For the past few years, Lionsgate has experienced manic highs and lows. For every John Wick, there is a Hellboy. In many cases, these are just movies that the studio agrees to distribute and not ones that were produced in-house. Either way, these disappointing results lead to the same conclusion. Some notable bombs in recent years include Robin Hood, which came with a budget of $100 million and gross just $86 million worldwide, as well as the comedy Jexi, which grossed a mere $9 million in total. Then there are the perplexing commercial disappointments such as last year's well-liked Long Shot, which only earned $53 million, despite having everything going for it on paper.
Hits such as Angel Has Fallen ($147 million), John Wick Chapter 3 ($326 million) and Knives Out ($311 million) can only make up so much ground. The good news is that Lionsgate is going with the hot hand right now. John Wick 4 is currently in the works with Keanu Reeves set to return and is expected to arrive in summer 2021. Writer/director Rian Johnson is also reuniting with Daniel Craig for Knives Out 2, which doesn't have a release date set but is being put on the fast track.
The studio recently had to delay several upcoming releases such as Antebellum, which stars Janelle Monae, as well as Chris Rock's Spiral: From the Book of Saw, the latest entry in the long-running horror franchise. Also on deck for this year is The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, a sequel to the Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson action/comedy The Hitman's Bodyguard. With the Disney/Fox merger taking place last year, the need for more diversity in Hollywood is arguably more important than ever, which is why one can only hope that Lionsgate can weather the storm. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.