ABC Family continues to grow its program offerings and has acquired the network television premiere rights to the blockbuster “The Hunger Games” in a deal with Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading diversified global entertainment company, the two companies announced today. The announcement comes on the heels of “The Hunger Games’” record-shattering debut, with an estimated $155 million at the North American box office this past weekend, the third highest-grossing opening weekend of all time.
The acquisition, which also includes the network television premiere rights to “Catching Fire,” the second movie in the franchise, was announced today by Michael Riley, president of ABC Family, and Jim Packer, Lionsgate President of Worldwide Television and Digital Distribution. The deal gives ABC Family the rights to be the basic cable home for the first two movies of “The Hunger Games” franchise. The films will begin airing on ABC Family in 2014.
“It’s an understatement to say that we are thrilled to add the first two films of ‘The Hunger Games’ franchise to our channel lineup,” said Riley. “This tremendous opening weekend reinforces what we have already learned — a powerful heroine, themes of romance and iconic characters will keenly resonate with our Millennial audience. This franchise will continue to enhance our network for years to come.”
“We’re delighted to continue our rollout of ‘The Hunger Games’ with this major sale to ABC Family,” said Packer. “With its exciting programming lineup and the ongoing expansion and diversification of its core demo, we believe that ABC Family is the perfect home for ‘The Hunger Games’ and ‘Catching Fire,’ and we expect these first two installments of our franchise to resonate with audiences for many years.”
Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its 12 districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in The Hunger Games. A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.
Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
“The Hunger Games” is directed by Gary Ross and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik and author Suzanne Collins, and stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Hemsworth.
Collins’ best-selling trilogy of books, published by Scholastic, has developed a massive global following and has already generated over 26 million copies in print. Lionsgate will release the second film in “The Hunger Games” franchise, “Catching Fire,” in theatres around the world on November 22, 2013.
“The Hunger Games” acquisition complements the “Harry Potter” movie franchise, which also has its home on ABC Family. In addition to being well known for powerful movie franchises, ABC Family also recently announced additional original series including “Bunheads,” “Baby Daddy” and “Beverly Hills Nannies,” which will premiere this Summer. ABC Family has scored eight years of consecutive growth with Millennials (persons 12-34), more than doubling its audience in the demo during this time, and is ranked among basic cable’s top 10 Primetime networks with Millennials.
Lionsgate is a leading global entertainment company with a strong and diversified presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, family entertainment, digital distribution, new channel platforms and international distribution and sales. The Company has built a strong television presence in production of primetime cable and broadcast network series, distribution and syndication of programming and an array of channel assets. Lionsgate currently has 15 shows on more than 10 networks spanning its primetime production, distribution and syndication businesses, including such critically-acclaimed hits as the multiple Emmy Award-winning “Mad Men,” “Weeds” and “Nurse Jackie,” along with the powerful drama “Boss” and the syndication successes “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne”, its spinoff “Meet the Browns,” “The Wendy Williams Show” and “Are We There Yet?”
Its feature film business has been fueled by such recent successes as the blockbuster first installment of “The Hunger Games” franchise, which achieved the third highest-grossing opening weekend of all time at the North American box office, “The Expendables,” “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Big Happy Family” and “Margin Call.” With the January 2012 acquisition of Summit Entertainment, the Company now has the two leading young adult franchises – the blockbuster “Twilight Saga,” which has grossed more than $2.5 billion at the worldwide box office, and “The Hunger Games.” Recent Summit hits include “Red,” “Letters to Juliet,” “Knowing,” the “Step Up” franchise and the Academy Award-winning Best Picture, “The Hurt Locker.”
Lionsgate’s home entertainment business is an industry leader in box office-to-DVD and box office-to-VOD revenue conversion rate. Lionsgate handles a prestigious and prolific library of approximately 13,000 motion picture and television titles that is an important source of recurring revenue and serves as the foundation for the growth of the Company’s core businesses. The Lionsgate and Summit brands remain synonymous with original, daring, quality entertainment in markets around the world.